What does Hike do?
Hike allows you save the cost of sending SMS by exchanging free messages with anyone else who has the app installed, regardless of what smartphone platform they are using. Hike can even send SMS messages for free to someone, though this service only works in India at present.
Besides just chatting via instant messaging, you can attach images, video, audio and voice messages to your chats with Hike. There's also an option for sharing your location with the person you're chatting too. Hike includes a group chatting feature too.
Hike includes a wide selection of fun emoticons that you can add to your chats, which are grouped into three different types of character. There's something for everyone in there.
For the privacy conscious, Hike also has a handy "Hidden Mode" which allows you to hide chats that you want to keep private and password protect them.
How easy is Hike to use?
The setup process for Hike is very similar to that of WhatsApp or Viber. You need to enter your phone number and you'll be sent an activation code via SMS. Enter this into the field provided and you're away.
You can easily view all your friends on Hike by tapping the contacts button. This will pull up a list of people from your phone contacts book who have Hike, as well as allowing you to invite friends who don't yet have the app.
Is Hike better than WhatsApp?
Ultimately, Hike is very similar to WhatsApp. It shares almost all of the same features, though I would say WhatsApp is a bit more polished. Although the user interface of Hike looks great, it doesn't have the customization options of WhatsApp, which allows you to change the background image of the chat window. WhatsApp has a more varied range of emoticons, too.
Hike is a fast and easy way to chat for free with your buddies on your phone. Whether you choose Hike over WhatsApp, LINE, Viber and the rest will depend ultimately on which service most of your friends are using.
It's getting better all the time
Significant improvements have been made to Hike's messaging, making it faster on GPRS and 2G networks.
Hike is also continuing to be streamlined to make it less resource intensive, allowing better performance on low end Android devices.