We’ve long had the ability to send text messages from a computer with third party apps like Pushbullet and MightyText. Google has now finally added this functionality to its Android text messaging app. But how does it compare to the tools we’ve had for so long?
Android Messages for Web, as Google calls it, is the company’s newest feature for its texting platform. While available freely in the Play Store for any Android device, Android Messages is the stock messaging option on Pixel devices.
While limited in features compared to more robust options, Android Messages is still one of the most popular messaging apps in the Play Store, and Android Messages for Web is only going to add to its popularity. The thing is, users have been able to use third-party applications—like Pushbullet and MightyText—to not only used text messages from their computers, but also use any SMS app they want on their phone.
Like so many Google products, Messages for Web isn’t as robust or feature-rich as some of the other options out there. But also like other Google products, that doesn’t automatically make it a bad choice. Here’s how it compares to the biggest comparable apps in Google Play: Pushbullet, MightyText, mySMS, and PulseSMS.
Pushbullet (Free, Subscription)
Pushbullet’s original claim to fame was the ability to send links and the like back and forth between your Android device and computer, mirror your phone’s notifications on your computer, and more. SMS sync was included later into Pushbullet’s life, adding a substantial amount of value to an already-useful tool.
So, right out of the gate, Pushbullet offers a lot more bells and whistles than Messages for Web. Not only do you gain the ability to text from your computer, but you can also send links and files, following specific channels of interest for immediate notifications, notifications mirroring, and universal copy/paste. That’s a lot.
But here’s the catch: most of those features—including SMS sync—are a part of Pushbullet Pro, which will set you back $4.99 monthly or $39.99 yearly. The non-pro version of Pushbullet lets you send 100 SMS for free, but that’s it—a limit that most people will blow through pretty quickly.
Messages for Web, on the other hand, is completely free and unlimited. But it doesn’t offer the advanced functionality of Pushbullet, so there’s probably room for both apps in your life, should you choose to do things this way. A reasonable option, to be honest, because Pushbullet doesn’t have the best texting interface, especially compared to Messages for Web.
MightyText (Free, Subscription)
Unlike Pushbullet, MightyText started its life as nothing more than a way to send messages from your computer, but it has grown since then. In fact, it can do a lot of the same things you’ll find in Pushbullet, like notification mirroring.
That said, it also offers features you won’t find elsewhere. Things like battery alerts and texting via email are available as part of MightyText, and the Pro version also lets you schedule messages, create message templates, and even supports themes if that’s something you’re into.
Of course, to get the most use from MightyText, you’ll need that Pro version (started to see a trend here?). The free version is limited to 150 messages per month, which isn’t much. The Pro version removes this limitation, allowing you to send as many messages as you want. But here’s the kicker: MightyText Pro is $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year, making it double what Pushbullet charges, for a nearly identical service. Ouch.
It’s also worth mentioning MightyTexts’ photo and video syncing feature, which can back up everything you shoot with your phone’s camera—it even includes a simple editor. But honestly, if you’re already using Google Photos (as you should be), then this is sort of a wash.
So at that point, you’re looking to pay a lot of money for not a lot of additional functionality. If you need features that aren’t included in Messages for Web, we’d suggest Pushbullet before even considering MightyText.
mySMS (Free, Subscription)
When it comes to texting from your computer, mySMS is one of the simplest options out there. It doesn’t offer the frills that you’ll find in Pushbullet and MightyText—notification mirroring, link sharing, and the like are all absent here. This app/service is all about SMS—nothing more, nothing less.
As such, its more of a direct competitor with Messages for Web than the above two options. Still, it offers more than what you’ll get with Messages for Web. While the free version supports a “basic messaging feature set,” the Premium subscription will get you backup options, the ability to manage calls on your computer, message scheduling, export and archiving options, and the removal of the “via mysms.com” signature at the end of messages sent from your computer.
mySMS Premium is also significantly more affordable than the other pro apps on the list at just $10 a year. Messages for Web, of course, is completely free, and most of the other options available from mySMS can also be replicated for free (save perhaps for scheduled messaging).
Your call on whether that’s worth $10 a year.
Pulse SMS (Free, Subscription, One-Time Fee)
PulseSMS is the only app on the list that also requires you to use its app on your phone in order to use the service on the web, making it a true match to Messages for Web. But here’s the thing: this app is also really damn good. Pulse claims that it’s “texting done right,” and I’m inclined to agree.
It comes at a price, but not a terrible one. You can access all of Pulse’s features for $0.99 a month, $1.99 for three months, $5.99 a year, or a one-time change for $10.99. That’s a lifetime license.
So, what does that license get you? Basically everything you should expect from a paid SMS service at this point: unlimited SMS from the web, scheduled messaging options, archiving tools, a blacklist, and stats about your computer.
One of the coolest things about Pulse is that it’s not just on the web: you can use it on your Android tablet, Wear Watch, or even Android TV. Texting on your TV! There are also native apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux, as well as extensions for Chrome and Firefox. It’s pretty much everywhere you’d want it to be.
So, Which One is the Best?
We wouldn’t say there’s a clear winner here—Android Messages for Web is great on its own, but a big part of that is because it’s free. That said, it’s also lacking some of the more advanced functionality of…pretty much all the other apps on this list.
If you’re just looking for more SMS features, Pulse SMS is easily the best choice of the bunch—if there’s a feature you wish Messages for Web had, there’s a good chance Pulse has it. And it’s super cheap.
If you’re looking for options beyond just SMS, Pushbullet is a great choice. You can share links and whatnot for free, but for some other functionality (like universal copy/paste), you’ll need to pony up the subscription fee.
As for the others, well, there’s really not much of a reason to give them much thought. Unless you’re looking for a very specific feature to fit a defined niche in your life and only one of these services offers it, you’re better off just sticking with Messages for Web, Pulse, or Pushbullet.
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