Call quality can vary depending on your Web connection. So another messaging option, especially if typing is too cumbersome, is voice messages.
Available on WhatsApp, Line and WeChat, voice messaging works like a walkie-talkie. After creating a chat group with one or more contacts, you press and hold the talk button and speak a message before releasing. Rather than a bar, a text box representing your message appears. Everyone in the chat group can press the bar to hear the message as many times as you like. The platforms also support video calls, although quality depends on your Internet connection.
WeChat and Line also let you follow celebrities, news outlets and community organizations. You can message these official accounts privately and, sometimes, get a response.
In addition, the apps have news feeds, similar to Facebook's, that let you see your contacts' photos, links and status updates.
WeChat's feed, called Moments, shows updates and comments only from your contacts. There's also an option to block certain contacts from seeing your news feed.
What will mobile messaging cost me?
WeChat and Line are totally free; WhatsApp charges 99 cents annually after the first year of use. None of these apps have ads.
WeChat and Line also let you send files, which is made even easier with desktop and tablet support.
And there's no hassle when you travel abroad. With an Internet connection, you can still keep in contact with the same people without the hassle of exchanging numbers and paying global fees.
With so many choices, you may want to use multiple accounts across messaging platforms to stay connected.
—By Evelyn Cheng, Special to CNBC. Follow her on Twitter: @chengevelyn.