If you’ve just recently ditched physical keys for a sleek touchscreen phone, typing on imaginary letters on screen can be quite a challenge. Thankfully, Android is all about options, but with so many options laid out in front of you, how do you know which ones to go for? Which ones of the dozens of keyboard apps on the market should you commit to?
For those of you who haven’t quite made that choice, look no further. We’ve rounded up some of the best keyboards that have gotten the love of Android users across the Internet.
Here’s a list of a few keyboards that may suit your needs, in no particular order:
The first thing you’ll notice when you launch SwiftKey is its gorgeous design but SwiftKey’s true power is its function. SwiftKey relies on predictive text, and suggestions pop up above your keyboard when you type in a word.
SwiftKey takes conversation patterns into account, and not just by the letters you’ve typed. This keyboard can even learn more about your typing habits through Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and your SMS messages, if you’re comfortable with that.
If you’re a slow typist, then Swype may be for you. Rather than using your thumbs or index fingers for hunt-and-pecking, this app lets you drag your fingers through letters to spell a word. Typing then becomes a one-handed process so you can free up your other hand to do other things.
Even if you miss swiping over a key, Swype usually figures out what word you want. If it doesn’t work out quite right, then Swype offers you a set of options that you can tap to insert. If you need to enter a word that may not exist in the dictionary, tap on Swype’s keys like a normal keyboard. Swype offers haptic feedback, but you can toggle it off and on. There’s unfortunately no way to set for a more gentle vibration.
You can sign up for a beta-version of Swype from its developer’s website. Simply register with an e-mail address accessible via your Android device and receive a link to download Swype.
Smart Keyboard Pro
Smart Keyboard Pro supports control of the keypress vibration and sounds, user configurable swipe gestures, and a number of built-in skins. Though it may look similar to the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, it unfortunately isn’t quite as good.
It is, however, an improvement over the stock Android keyboard. Keypresses are usually detected accurately and text predictions are pretty good, as well. Smart Keyboard Pro offers you a number of advanced settings so you can tweak the keyboard exactly the way you like it. This keyboard uses a QWERTY layout and gives you settings, including a smart dictionary which learns the frequency of words you type to improve suggestions.
Instead of giving you just one option, FlexT9 gives you four in one app. FlexT9 is powered by Dragon that allows you to pick whichever keyboard style fits your mood. Speak to your phone and see your talk turn into text. Trace and glide your finger from one key to the next. Use your finger to draw anything you’d like to type. And, if you’re more old-school, tap away at the keys. FlexT9 gives you all the options you’d ever need, even if it’s a little simple in the aesthetics area.
Download FlexT9 from the Google Play store today.
Last but not the least, Ultra Keyboard comes packed with a ton of features geared towards giving you a better Android experience. A feature filled toolbar allows you to flick through to see all it offers, and to quickly change settings, navigate through text, cut and paste, change dictionaries, change themes and more.
Just like the host of other keyboards we’ve presented, Ultra Keyboard suggests words as you type. Its suggestions box has been designed to be smart, fast, and easy to use. Ultra Keyboard even offers you word replacements, so if you’re in a hurry simply type “brb” and see it transform into “be right back” on the screen.
Ultra Keyboard’s features don’t end there; it comes with a dynamic UI, multi-touch support, secondary characters, word tracing, speech-to-text and translation.
You can purchase Ultra Keyboard from the Google Play store today.
What about you? What do you think is the best keyboard for Android?