I use Ramble myself,mostly because it is free.
It used to log me off quite frequently until i changed the network connection from "Device Default" to "Use Device TCP". Ive been logged on for about 2 days so far.
You can put up your own away messages but as far as checking everyone elses, everytime i click on "Check Buddy Info" a blank screen comes up.Dont know whats up with that.
Cant compare to other clients but Ramble works for me.