OS X 10.5 or later.
Age Rating: 4+
We’d not used Instantbird (instantbird.com) before, but it’s quickly become our preferred chat client. It supports over 20 different chat systems and looks clean and modern. If it supported iMessage it would be close to perfect.
Installation, like most Mac apps, was a simple drag and drop to the Applications folder after downloading the program. We added accounts for a couple of services. We did have some problems when adding a Facebook chat account, but that was resolved by adding an onscreen alias even though it was not mandatory.
By default, the colours and fonts used by Instantbird were clear and easy to read. Separate chats were displayed in a single window with a new tab for each conversation. This keeps desktop clutter to a minimum. The Dock icon provides a count of unread messages received.
Like Adium, standard emoticons using keystrokes such as colon and brackets were correctly displayed although others weren’t. We also found that we couldn’t drag and drop images into chats – something we’d expect from a modern application.
Despite its limitations, Instantbird is a competent chat client. The user interface is modern and easy to use and protocol support is broad. With a couple of tweaks, it could be a brilliant application.
by Anthony Caruana, Macworld Australia