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ReTXT review: Better texting features than your average messaging app

With this messaging app, you can do all the usual extras like send pictures, video or your location. But the ability to correct sent messages and the added end-to-end security make it better than most.

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Jason Parker
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Jason Parker

Senior Editor / Reviews - Software

Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.

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4 min read

ReTXT (iOS|Android) is a new messaging app that comes with end-to-end encryption, and gives you the ability to correct past messages. It also lets you send text, emojis, your location, pictures, videos and audio clips like other messaging apps.

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8.4

ReTXT

The Good

ReTXT adds the ability to correct or delete messages you've already sent. The clarification features eliminate unnecessary back and forth conversations. It offers end-to-end encryption of messages.

The Bad

The standard interface is a little boring and could really use some personalization options.

The Bottom Line

ReTXT gives you all the standard messaging features you're used to, but is worth getting for the added security and the ability to correct or delete sent messages.

Obviously, message apps come on all the major smartphone platforms, but they tend to be pretty simple with few extras. This is how third-party apps like Whatsapp Messenger and Kik have carved out a niche by adding extra features the default messaging apps don't have.

But with ReTXT you get something no other messaging apps get: the ability to erase or edit texts you've already sent. The only catch is the yearly 99-cent subscription fee.

ReTXT's simple interface hides advanced features (pictures)

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Getting set up

When you launch the app, you're prompted to register your phone number and email address, then choose a password. This is standard for third-party texting apps so you can receive chats and be able to recover your password in case you can't log in.

After these three requirements you can get started right away and you'll have a 60-day trial period. At the end of 60 days you'll need to sign up for a 99-cent-per-year subscription, but once you've tried it, I think you'll see it's easily worth a buck per year.

Standard features and more

ReTXT has all the functions that your used to in a text client, and they're all laid out in a tool bar to the left of the text-entry field. You can send a photo, video, voice memo, contact or your location with just a couple of taps.

But what sets ReTXT apart are a few features not usually found in other text apps. After sending a text, for example, it shows up in the chat feed as usual. But you still can swipe left on the text bubble, and buttons will show up that let you edit or delete the text. This is great for those times that autocorrect butchers your message, or even when you say something in the heat of the moment that you may not have meant. It's seems like such an obvious feature to have once you use it, but none of the most popular chat apps has it.

Another unique feature is the capability to ask for clarification. When someone sends you a message that doesn't make sense, you can tap a button that sends them a question mark that appears right next to their own message balloon. This indicates that they should clarify their meaning without you having to ask questions or engage in a lengthy back-and-forth conversation. This is another great feature that -- once you have used it -- seems like it should be available in all messaging apps.

Like other chat apps, you can start a group chat with multiple contacts. But in ReTXT, you have the option to leave a group chat at any time so you don't receive all the pesky notifications. When you're ready, you can rejoin and catch up on what people had to say.

Security

One of the greatest features about ReTXT is that your messages are secure. The app uses end-to-end encryption that uses a combination of encryption formats, including AES, 2,048-bit, RSA and others to ensure that the only people reading your messages are you and your recipient.

Not even ReTXT Labs, the developer of the app, has access to your messages or any related content because it doesn't save anything to the cloud -- just on the two devices involved in the conversation. This is all to ensure that your messages are for your and your recipient's eyes only.

Worth the subscription?

Whenever I see that an app requires a subscription I immediately get a bad taste in my mouth. But in the case of ReTXT, I really like the unique features it adds and at only one dollar a year, I think the added functionality is easily worth it.

The one thing that I think would really improve the app is the ability to add skins for different looks. The current yellow theme is fine and functional, but adding personalization options would really push this app over the top.

The other problem with ReTXT is getting other people on board because you can only use this app if your recipient uses it too. Fortunately, the 60-day free trial period means there's no cost for entry, so your friends and family can try it before deciding for themselves if the extra features are worth it.

Conclusion

ReTXT is a welcome addition to messaging app category because it adds features that most apps in the genre don't have, but probably should. It's easy to use with a toolbar for all the regular messaging app functions, but also has intuitive swipe controls for correcting or deleting messages you already sent. These are features that popular third party apps, Whatsapp Messenger and Kik, don't have. The secure end-to-end encryption is only the icing on an already attractive cake.

It's true that the app relies on a subscription method so it might put some users off. But I think the small price of 99 cents per year is definitely worth the money for what you get. I'd suggest trying ReTXT out for the trial period, then decide if you want to pay or delete, but I think you'll find 99 cents is worth the added functionality you get.

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8.4

ReTXT

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 9Interface 7Performance 9
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