App Review: Textfree Unlimited by Pinger Inc.
[Update 6/18: After you've read this review on Textfree Unlimited check out our Tour of Push Notifications using Textfree Unlimited.]
Like all of you Infinite SMS lovers out there, I was sad to see Google shut it down this week. When I heard the news, I started searching for another app that I could use to send free texts using my iPod Touch. Much to my dismay, most of the apps that I found in the iTunes App Store that claimed to offer this capability were only one or two star apps. I didn’t want to mess with something that was only going to work some of the time or have quirks that I would have to deal with constantly. Then, I stumbled upon Textfree Unlimited. With a 3 1/2 star rating in the App Store, I figured it was probably my best bet, but a little on the expensive side. Then I discovered the Lite version. After speaking with a representative from Pinger Inc., I found that the two versions have only a couple differences. She told me that Textfree Lite, “… works exactly the same as the Textfree Unlimited app, just that it has a 15-message limit per calendar day, and it has ads. Otherwise, it works exactly the same.” So, I gave the Lite version a try and wasn’t disappointed.
Textfree is easy to setup and get texting with. The first thing you do when you launch the app is set up a nickname for yourself. Then, you are ready to go. Tap on the icon in the upper right hand side of the screen to start a text. Enter in a mobile number and type your message. Sending a text through the app and the replies that you get back are free. Now, what happens if someone else initiates the text? If someone from another mobile number texts you, it does carry the normal charges for you. However, there are a few settings that you can change under the options menu to change that.
Under options you can turn on email notification, which allows the app to send you an email notification when you receive a text after you have closed the app. Simply enter in the email address that comes to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Then, make sure you turn on the new email sound on your device. The app will then send you a confirmation email with a link that you must click on. Also, in the options menu, you can turn on the textfree to textfree capability. When you flip the switch to on, the app will ask for the phone number associated with your iPhone. The app will then send a text (this one will have normal charges) with a confirmation code that you must enter into the app to confirm your phone number. Unfortunately, the need for a phone number rules out the textfree to textfree option for iPod Touch users. Once this option is turned on, you can send texts to and receive texts from other textfree users free of charge. The only problem with this setup is that if you get a text when the app is closed, the only way you will get notified of the text is through your email. In all fairness, this problem only exists because it is not yet possible to rectify it. Apple does not allow apps to notify you of anything when they are not open. The good news is that the emails that you receive to notify you of a text contain an link that you can tap on to automatically launch the app and pull up the text.
There are a couple more things to be aware of in using this app. First and most important, is that the main difference between the two versions of Textfree is that the Lite version only allows you to send 15 texts per day. The paid version allows you to send an unlimited number of texts. Second, right now you cannot use the app in landscape mode. Thus, you have to use the smaller keyboard, but that is not a big deal. Third, as with all other texting apps, iPod Touch users must be on a Wi-Fi network to send or receive any texts.
If you are looking for a good app for free texting, Textfree seems to fit the bill. It is quick and easy to use. Textfree Unlimited is a little on the pricey side, but probably a must have for those who text a lot.
Textfree Lite is free.
Developer Website (Textfree Support): http://www.pinger.com