One of the best things of Android is being able to use different keyboards. There are so many out there I doubt I could count them all – both in and outside of Google Play. I’ve gone on an app downloading spree and for the past few months I’ve been demoing quite a few Android keyboard apps.
The list is as follows;
- Google Keyboard
- SwiftKey Flow
- TouchPal X
In my opinion, these are all fantastic keyboards and worth trying out for yourselves. Each have their own quirks and ways to help you type with greater ease, and even more fun. I won’t review all of these. There just isn’t enough time in the day for me, and, one can find a ton of reviews about the more known keyboards. I’ll be covering about my top two favourites. Fleksy and Minuum.
Fleksy not only makes typing quite easy, but also adds some fun to the experience with it’s own sound effects (which you can turn off) and animations. Speaking of the animations, I feel this is the best lookingkeyboard out of the bunch too. It’s clean. It’s easy to read. And you just have to see it in person, or at least watch a demo on YouTube to see how the animations work. i.e. When you add a space, the two main separator bars have a blue glow that flows left to right. If you delete a word, the reverse happens. If you use caps lock, the lines turn solid blue.
This keyboard is also great for saving space. There are three height sizes to choose from. If you can train yourself to use the gestures (not swiping like Swype) you can opt to use the reduced keyboard without a delete key and space bar. You just type the word, then swipe your thumb left to right to add a space. Spell it wrong? Swipe left to delete the word. Want to go through auto-correct? Swipe down a few times to see the options. Want to add the word you had spelled? Swipe up a couple times. With a bit of practice, I managed to get the hang of this and then I just got it. I understood fully how this keyboard was supposed to work, and now it’s my keyboard of choice.
Minuum nearly beat out Fleksy for me. It has a lot going for it. It has many options including it’s unique layout, options for a “normal” keyboard, great predictive text, and a nice feature I can appreciate, Minuum is Canadian. What can I say? I’m a patriotic Canuk.
When I first learned this keyboard being created, I thought the developers were crazy. Having all three rows of keys combined into one? Being able to predict what I’m typing with this? No way!
Boy, was I wrong.
Somehow, in some magical way, the predictive text is insanely good. Not instantly. But if you train it, keep typing on it, and simply give it time, this thing learns quite fast and you’ll be hammering out sentences like there’s no tomorrow. I turned off the space bar eventually, gaining even more screen space back, and things became even better. It did slow me down at first, but eventually I got the hang of it.
Like Fleksy, you can go into the settings and fine tune the keyboard. You can set the height of the full keyboard, the one-row keyboard, the height of the suggested words, and the height of the space bar.
Sorry theme lovers – there are no options to change colours, etc.
The big drawback I found for this app was typing irregular or slang words. Just typing out the name of some odd app, like Fleksy for example, seemed to be a real chore the first go around. And while the app does learn words, I’m one that types out a lot of new names and titles. Things that just aren’t in the dictionary, and so naturally, the predictive text can only go so far. Minuum really slows you down when you get to these. You’re better off jumping to the full keyboard. But even then, I felt like I was doing it too often, and in turn, may be wonder why I was still bothering with this app.
So sorry Minuum. The app is badass. But Fleksy keeping the standard layout is just better for me.
So how about you? What’s your favourite Android keyboard these days? What is about yours that draws you to use it? Are there any worth trying that I haven’t mentioned?