Best Android keyboards for smartphones compared: Adaptxt vs Swiftkey X vs SlideIT vs stock ICS [video]

by: Chris SmithJune 19, 2012

android keyboard

Typing is an essential part of the experience of using an Android device. Most of us type everyday, be it text messages, emails, posts, memos, or simple searches. When typing on an Android smartphone becomes cumbersome, productivity hits rock bottom. It’s no wonder that many Android keyboard developers compete to create the most versatile and intuitive keyboard for Android.

Many users are looking for more speed, more accuracy, and a well rounded user interface. Picking the right keyboard for Android smartphones is often a long string of trials and errors. Of course, not everyone is willing to spend money and time trying out new keyboards. As a result, many people remain stuck on the stock keyboard they get with their device, thus missing out on smart, advanced features that would bring them a much better, more efficient typing experience.

For all of you Android users looking for a keyboard that suits your needs and tastes, we’ve prepared a video comparison where we pitted together some of the most popular keyboards on Google Play. We have chosen the following keyboards for this comparison: Adaptxt, Swiftkey X, SlideIT, and the stock ICS keyboard. Each one provides it’s own special functionality and set of features, and all are fairly easy to use on a daily basis. Before we show you the results of our comparison, let’s quickly go through the features of the four keyboard apps.

Adaptxt keyboard features

  • Hyphenated Suggestions
  • URL Suggestions
  • Acronyms
  • Next Word Predictions
  • Automatic text Replacement
  • Private Mode
  • Accent Trimmer
  • Word Completions
  • Error Correction
  • Automatic Learning Into Dictionary
  • Accented Suggestions

 SlideIT keyboard features

  • Instead of entering text by tapping on the keyboard letters, SlideIT keyboard eases texting by sliding a finger along the keyboard letters
  • Smart predictions and disambiguation
  • Over 45 language packs and layouts
  • More than 30 skins
  • Speech-to-text
  • Handwriting recognition
  • Import contacts from your phone
  • Keyboard customization

 Swiftkey X keyboard features

  • Global Mobile Awards Most Innovative App 2012
  • Accurate corrections and predictions
  • Enable 3 languages at once, with many to download
  • Natural language processing
  • Typing improvement statistics

Stock ICS keyboard features

  • Easy to use interface
  • Typing prediction
  • User defined dictionary
  • Stored dictionary is export-able to other keyboards

Video hands-on comparison

We compared the four keyboard alternatives using two high-end Android smartphones, the LG Optimus 4X HD and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The Adaptxt keyboard was used on the LG smartphone while SlideIT, Swiftkey X, and the ICS stock keyboard were used on the Galaxy Nexus.

Adaptxt vs SlideIT

As far as UI goes, the SlideIT has a 3D and a Classic version built in, and over 30 themes available for download on the Play Store, while Adaptxt offers “Dark” and “Light” color schemes.

Leaving the user interface aside, we’re going to delve right into usability. SlideIT offers sliding support, which means you can easily end up writing text messages faster by simply sliding your fingers across the letters than by using a regular keyboard. Adaptxt has a completely different feature that’s also very useful, automatic text replacement (ATR). It takes practice to become efficient with either method, as sliding can take time getting used to, and ATR commands must be programmed by the user initially. Adaptxt will get you faster to the punctuation marks you are looking for, as it only has two menus compared with the four found on the SlideIT app, in addition to the double functionality of keys (letter plus symbol). Although, the four pages of additional characters found in the SlideIT app may be useful to some.

On the other hand, SlideIT, when compared to Adaptxt, provides the functionality of Cut, Copy, and Paste in the form of buttons on the top of the keys. This makes editing text a breeze.

Adaptxt vs Swiftkey X

Swiftkey X is similar to Adaptxt, as it provides users with word suggestions right on top of the keyboard. What’s worth noticing about Swiftkey X is that the numbers are grouped together in the punctuation screen, rather than being placed on the first row, like in most keyboards, which means you’ll access them a lot faster than on other keyboard apps. In fact, they can all be reached with just one finger.

Swiftkey X also offers typing stats in the settings section of the app, although not everyone will be interested in knowing how much more efficient he or she is at typing text when using the app.

When it comes to comparing accuracy, the Swiftkey X appears to be the winner. But, like all tests, the human factor plays into comparing the accuracy of Android keyboard apps. It is also important to mention that as each app’s user dictionary expands with more entires, their prediction accuracy increases.

Adaptxt vs ICS stock keyboard

Finally, we’ve compared Adaptxt with the stock keyboard found on Ice Cream Sandwich devices. We found that both of them seem to offer a similar performance. The ICS keyboard lacks the secondary numbers and punctuation that are available on the Adaptxt keyboard, but on the flip side, it does come with text-predicting features, which can offer a high accuracy when entering text. The stock ICS keyboard also features a very simple, easy to use UI.

Which keyboard app for Android is the best for you?

As you would’ve imagine, we don’t have a definitive answer to that question, and you may want to test them all before you choose your favorite. Also, every one of these keyboards will aid the user in attaining better typing skills. Once the Adaptxt, Swiftkey, or ICS keyboard learns a good amount of your commonly used words, it will be a breeze to type quickly and accurately. Not to mention, becoming familiar with the SlideIT keyboard will bring your typing to a new level of speed.

All of these keyboards are available in a free trial version, so pick them up and decide which one you will stick with!

  • ron_bailey

    I’ve been using Beansoft’s Thumbs Keyboard 4. On the tiny screen of my motorola cliq 2 it works well. My phone does have a physical keyboard but I’m trying to break myself from using it to much as my next phone will not have one.

  • Kyle Gustafson

    No Thumb Keyboard?

    • Clayton Ljungberg

      Thumb keyboard was deemed more of an innovation for tablet keyboards, although it is a very nice smartphone keyboard.

      • I disagree. I think it’s more for a smartphone as you have limited space, it’s made to split so the keys can be larger. I use it and like it better than Swiftkey 3 (which I also own.)

  • no touchpal?

  • cleo7

    swype not included now ?

    I feel swype is a bit better than others, I’m able to walk in rush while typing sms (err, more like drawing pattern than typing, lol). of course I still have to look at screen sometimes, to correct prediction error etc, but not as demanding as other keyboard.

    I had tried stock keyb, slideIt, swiftkeyx, touchpal, all those I feel that I had to constantly look at screen when typing.

    but yeah common drawback of on-screen keyboard is you have to look at the screen keyboard when typing, lol. you cannot type just by feeling your thumb, like on physical keyboard.

    • Mana Farrell

      completely agree with you. I actually still keep the others on my phone and use them from time to time but without a doubt my preferred fastest most reliable is the new updated Swype. Also think that it looks the best funnily enough

  • A comprehensive article

  • Hackers keyboard for me on an ICS tablet, on the phone stock is good enough :)

  • Rio Birkus

    All these keyboards have buttons for people with girl hands.

    I have man hands. Big Button Keyboard works for me. Just wish dictionary was bigger.

    • Martin

      I have man hands, too. But for the last two years I enjoy writing with SlideIT. No problem at all with this tool. Much faster for me than the hardware keyboard on Motorola Droid. I can even use it to write with one hand while I am driving on my bicycle… ;-) This was the reason for me to decide for a phone without hardware keyboard anymore the next time…

    • sn0wbaLL

      i just checkout big button keyboard and i gotta say its one ugly keyboard. and no, we dont have girl hands, we have normal people hands, girl hands are smaller, yours are just gigantic

  • NightWatch71

    First you say that it’s time consuming for users to try out every keyboard (the reason of this article) and at the end of the article we find out we have to try all of them.. Great!

  • Ricardo

    There’s a new one called Magic Keyboard which is pretty cool.

  • sn0wbaLL

    swiftkey all the way