5. Facebook Messenger (Free)
We have had to put this on the list of best apps to download, although there is a chance that it came preinstalled on your new device. Many OEMs are still omitting dedicated Facebook apps, but the Facebook Messenger app is available off the Google Play store.
The two biggest draws of the Facebook Messenger app are the connection to Facebook, where we expect you will have the majority of your closest friends, family and colleagues, and Chat Heads, a feature we first saw on Facebook Home.
The former of the two advantages is self explanatory. It connects directly to Facebook's chat and messages feature, allowing you to send messages instantly to all your Facebook contacts. Messenger also supports sending of photos, searched images and voice messages.
Facebook's custom mobile smileys are also available, as well as the new 'stickers' featuring massive smileys and cute kittys.
When it comes to Chat Heads, new Facebook messages bring up a little round floating profile picture that sits above all other apps that are running, bar things like full screen video. We have to say we are a little glad there, as we can imagine having a random chat head pop up during Insidious to be pretty scary. Chat Heads can also be removed by swiping them to the bottom of the screen.
If Facebook Messenger just isn't enough for your needs, you can always try Facebook Home. Replacing your existing home launcher with a dedicated Facebook launcher. Facebook Home brings Facebook messaging right to the heart of your device.
6. Twitter (Free)
Another app that is included by some OEMs and not others is Twitter. The ever popular, 140 character social media site has a dedicated app for reading and sending tweets available from the Play Store, should you not have it.
Its inclusion in a list of best messaging apps might seem a little strange, given that it is at heart a social media site. Then again, what is social media for if not for communicating with your nearest and dearest, and in Twitters case, everyone else as well.
Twitter's mobile app does everything that the Twitter site does, with direct messages and directed tweets being well managed, although the famous hashtags don't come with the same highlighting that they do on the site.
Being so popular, there are many alternatives should you decide the native app isn't enough. TweetCaster packs multiple account support, a well managed splash page and a Zip feature that removes annoying tweets and keywords from your feed, without unfollowing that user.
7. GO SMS Pro (Free, Paid for version available)
One of the beautiful things that you'll hear any Android user say about the OS, is the extreme level of customisability that just isn't present on iOS, Windows Phone OS or even BB OS. This means that there are a variety of custom SMS apps present on the Play Store.
There are so many to choose from, we struggle a little to suggest which one is best, although we're happy enough to say that GO SMS is a decent and comprehensive SMS app.
Among the many features are a paid version to remove ads, downloadable language packs and themes; think your iPhone is cool, look I can make my Android look the same.
Emoji are available, and custom smileys to use instead of the native offering. Chats threads are laid out in bubbles.
Of the more interesting features are the ability to schedule texts so that you don't forget something important, or so that you don't have to wake up at 4am to send THAT text, and the ability to customise notifications. This means that you can have differing icons, tones and vibrate patterns to help you differentiate between contacts without even looking at your phone.
8. IM+ (Free, Paid for version available)
IM+ is not a dedicated messaging service in the way that WhatsApp, Skype or Kik are. Rather, it is an aggregator of various social accounts such as Windows Live Messenger, Skype, Facebook and more.
Packing in multiple accounts can often mean that contacts from varying accounts can become hard to track, although there is the ability to sort by name or account, as well as being able to see or hide all those unsociable offline contacts.
Nifty features such as a master password, favourite contacts and online notifications are also built in, alongside two themes that mean you can go for normal or high contrast mode. Push mode is also available.
Within chats, pictures and audio can be sent. These are uploaded to IM servers with a link then being sent on, rather than sending the file directly. Files can also be resized for those on smaller data allowances.
Should you decide that this isn't the app for you, why not try eBuddy? Having been around as a desktop aggregator via the web for as long as we can remember, eBuddy also connects to a plethora of messaging services.
9. EvolveSMS (Free)
Despite the growing popularity of messengers that use data, most users will still want an SMS service to fall back on and EvolveSMS is one of the most stylish available.
Its standout feature is undoubtedly tabbed messages, which allows you to swipe across from the left edge of the screen to bring up a list of conversation tabs and easily switch between them.
But you don't even need to do that, as swiping left or right from within a conversation will take you to the next or previous one in the list.
Add to that an elegant design, group messaging, an optional pop-up reply window and a variety of themes to choose between and this is surely one of the best SMS apps around.
There aren't many apps that look like EvolveSMS, but hello sms is one of them. It features the same tabbed conversations feature as Evolve as well as some interesting additions such as the ability to create and send GIF's and a night mode, which will switch it to a darker theme when the sun goes down.
10. Viber (Free)
Viber, like Skype, allows users to have IM conversations and make phone and video calls, but unlike Skype it uses your actual phone number, so no separate account is necessary and it integrates with your contacts list so you can instantly get in touch with the people you know.
You can also use it to share photos and videos, have group conversations with up to 100 participants and even follow public conversations with celebrities and companies, a little bit like a Twitter feed.
It works with both phones and tablets and there's a desktop app too, so you can enjoy Viber in full screen glory when you're at your computer.
If you're not convinced by Viber you could always give Line a go. It shares a lot of functions with Viber, including the ability to make free voice and video calls as well as send messages.
It's also available for PC's and tablets, but it's got a few tricks of its own, such as a timeline where you can post status updates, photos and videos for all your friends to see.
11. Dasher (Free)
Unlike some messaging services Dasher requires a (free) account and you have to manually add people to be able to chat with them. But it's worth the effort, as once you've got a collection of people using it there's a lot you can do.
Sending and receiving messages is a given of course, but you can also share YouTube videos which can be played straight from the conversation window.
There's also the ability to share your location and, perhaps most usefully, you can delete messages after you've sent them, which should make this your go-to app whenever you've had a bit too much to drink.
If you happen to live in the US then you can even send money to your friends in the chat window using your Venmo account, which could be handy on the morning after a drunken night when your friend reminds you that you mistook their living room for a bowling alley.
Don't want Dasher? Then check out Wire. It's not as feature packed but you can still easily send messages and share YouTube videos and SoundCloud tracks, both of which can be played from the conversation window. Most importantly though it's easily one of the most stylish messaging apps around with a clean, attractive interface.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.