[Android] Best free instant messenger

Gtalk is built into Android. However, what if not all your friends use Gtalk? Must you download one app for every instant messaging platform out there? Heck no. In this article we review and recommend the best free instant messenger app, allowing you to keep in contact with all your friends easily.

This article is part of our Best Free Android Apps repository. Feel free to drop by when you have time!

Table of Contents

Best Free Instant Messenger

App Name: Trillian

Developer: Cerulean Studios, LLC

Download Size: 1.3 MB

Version Reviewed: v1.1.0.215

Requires: Android 1.6 and up


  • Allows users to connect with their AIM/MobileMe, Facebook, Gtalk, ICQ, Jabber/XMPP, Windows Live, MySpaceIM, and Yahoo accounts.
  • Allows users to send photos to contacts.
  • Tabbed chatting.
  • Supports push notifications.
  • Has a “battery saving” mode.
  • Has a “suspended” mode, where Trillian is turned off but IMs can be pushed to e-mail.
  • Can synchronize accounts with Windows, Mac, and web versions of Trillian.


  • Requires users to signup for a Trillian account (free).
  • Does not support Skype chat.
  • Does not support video calling protocols.
  • Ad-supported.
  • Has only one black theme.
  • Has minor bugs.


Instant messaging is fragmented; everybody and their mother has developed and manages their own instant messaging protocol/system. Having one app that allows users to connect with all of their contacts in one location is very handy; if this said app is battery efficient, it is a winner. Trillian is just that.

There are many multi-protocol instant messaging apps available on Android. I myself have tried multiple different ones. For the most part, they are all very similar. After all, how many different ways can you chat with friends? What has kept me using Trillian, and what has been the main force behind naming it best free instant messaging app, is its battery efficiency.

Prior to using Trillian, I dabbed in the likes of Meebo, eBuddy, and Nimbuzz. After using Trillian I noticed the stark difference between battery consumption. Even if I had Trillian running all day – running in battery saving mode, of course – battery drain would be miniscule compared to the competition. Indeed I was very pleasantly surprised.

Update: The latest version of Trillian drains more battery than previous versions. However, Trillian’s battery usage – when on battery saving mode – is still less than the competition, in my experience.

(Note: I am not saying Trillian consumes no battery at all. Obviously an app that continually pings external servers will use up battery. What I am saying is Trillian consumes less battery than the competition, in my experience.)

Trillian isn’t perfect, though. I primarily spent my time using Trillian v1.0.0.265; it had some bugs that would force it to crash sometimes. The bugs were annoying, but nothing that “break the deal”. I have not spent too much time with the latest v1.1.0.215 so I don’t know if the bugs have been fixed or not. However, even if the bugs have not been fixed, Trillian’s battery savings far outweigh any bugs/annoyances it may have.

Lastly, I would like to comment on Trillian’s black color scheme. On one hand, having a black themed messenger is a plus for some users; users who’s phones have AMOLED, Super AMOLED, or Super AMOLED Plus screens because those screens don’t use any battery when showing black. On the other hand, it is a negative for users that prefer lighter-colored themes. I do hope Cerulean Studios adds an optional light-colored theme to Trillian in the future for the latter group of users.

Overall, Trillian is the best multi-platform instant messaging client on Android, hands down.


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