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Keyboards, what one and why?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by wfoster, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    Hi all,

    I'm struggling to choose a decent keyboard at the moment. I am choosing between three. Swiftkey, Google and Jellybean.

    I'm not sure whether I like SwiftKey or not, I don't really like the design. It looks quite cheap and tacky compared to the Google Keyboard and Jellybean Keyboard which looks quite polished and actually nice to look at.

    What's your favourite keyboard and why?

    Would be nice to see a screenshot of your keyboard also! :eek:
  2. macrumors 68000


    SwiftKey for me but the stock Google keyboard is a close second. I might also recommend Kii keyboard which is more or less the Google keyboard with an extended feature set like custom skins and a split landscape keyboard.
  3. macrumors 68030


    SwiftKey with "Light" theme and with the largest font size. Forget the Cobalt theme and the rest. Classy looking enough for me.

    Only thing I dont generally like is how the numbers and punctuation gets placed.
  4. macrumors 604


    Kii keyboard. Think of it as Google keyboard plus. Change the skin to "ice cream sandwich" and it looks exactly the same.

    And it's free.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Swiftkey is the best keyboard I have ever used on any device.

    It is precisely accurate with this predictive text and I can fly on that keyboard.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    try swype. there is a full featured trial available. full version is i think 99 cents. also you can join their beta program and use the non-trial beta version.

    IMO swype is the best, second best is swift and thirdly the google stock keyboard.
  7. macrumors 601


    I prefer Swype. The shortcut commands are a great feature, and the accuracy is better than swiftkey.
  8. macrumors 68000


    I just use HTC's stock keyboard on my One X+ now. I used Swiftkey for a long time but got tired of having to wait a second or two before it showed up after clicking on any input boxes and I never really figured out Kii's auto-prediction and correction.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    I am currently using Kii. The reason is that Kii has more keyboard layout options available. I personally like the Kii layout for landscape over any other keyboard I have tried. I primarily type in landscape orientation with two tumbs. I did a typing test and found that I type fastest with Kii.

    Other keyboards I have tried are Thumb, SwiftKey, Swype, Google and MessagEase. All have different features and advantages.

    Thumb has the widest variety of keyboard layouts amongst the ones I have listed. This was the keyboard I was using when I first used a phone with no physical keyboard. I eventually switched to Kii as the Kii layout was what I preferred.

    I used SwiftKey for several months. Of all the keyboards, SwiftKey has the best auto correct/text prediction of them all. It learns your writing style and provides excellent auto correction/text prediction. I eventually stopped using it because I did not like the keyboard layout and switched to Kii.

    Swype is the best keyboard for gesture typing. What I mean by "gesture typing" is dragging your finger across the keys to type the word instead of pecking at each key one at a time. Most people just call this type of typing Swyping because Swype was the company that made this form of typing popular. Gesture typing requires good text prediction and Swype does this very well. The advantage of Gesture typing at least for me is that I am able to easily type one-handed (in portrait orientation). Right now, I use Swype when typing in portrait orientation.

    Google earlier this year released its keyboard. Anyone can download it and use it. My impression of Google is that it is almost as good as Swype for gesture typing. I only used gesture typing with the Google keyboard. I used it for a few weeks instead of Swype. Eventually I went back to Swype. The Google keyboard is free and if you aren't looking to spend any money, I recommend you give this keyboard a try.

    If you are interested in a non-traditional keyboard, MessagEase is one such keyboard. There are only 16 keys in a 4x4 grid that allows you to type all letters and many punctuation marks and symbols. Each key gives you access to 9 different characters. If you tap a key, you get one character. To get the other 8, you tap and drag your finger (or more likely your thumb) in one of the 4 cardinal directions or 4 diagonal directions away from the centre of the key. My impression of this keyboard is that you will rarely make any keying errors. If you mean to type a particular character, you highly unlikely to type the wrong character. The reason is that the keys in the 4x4 grid are huge and you are unlikely to miss and hit an adjacent key as well. You are also highly unlikely to miskey when draging to one of 8 directions to get a different character.

    The down side with MessagEase is that for such a non-traditional keyboard, there is a huge learning curve. I tried it only for a few days. I felt that I am already too good at typing on a more traditional keyboard. The time and effort that I need to spend to get proficient with MessagEase is too great to be worth my while. I hoped that with MessagEase, I won't need to rely on auto correct. I didn't, but my typing speed was just too slow and I felt it would take too long to get up to a speed comparable with my traditional keyboard.

    I currently use Kii when typing in landscape. On the occasion where I type in portrait (lying on my side with auto-rotate turned off), I would use Swype. I switch between the two using Keyboard Manager Plus.
  10. macrumors 68030


    One of the few things I hate with SwiftKey is the alt numeric layout. I hate them being on the left side. I prefer the top like iOS and stock Android. And occasionally, it has this bug where everytime I press the spacebar or indent key, it has a trail of letters or words that I don't want. It has happened about a handful of times on me already. I tried Kii yesterday and I like that you can make the keyboard bigger and prefer the numeric layout but the predictive system just isn't on par. I would practice typing the same sentence over and over. With SwiftKey, I generally dont need to get to the 3rd or 4th letter and there is already a match. With Kii, I still have to spell out nearly the entire word.

    I just see myself going back to SwiftKey. What I did was I set the long-keypress duration to the fastest at 100 ms. The default of 450 ms was too slow as I use numbers, punctuations, and smilies alot. And I decided to turn off flow to eliminate any potential glitches or lags. And the 100 ms long press duration time wont work well with flow anyway. I would rather have a better predictive system than a better swipe/gesture-based keyboard. Swipe texting isnt always a perfect system especially if I use punctuations and smilies alot.

    So SwiftKey for me again but mainly for the great predictive system and the 100 ms long-keypress duration time eliminates having to use its awful numeric/punctuation keyboard.
  11. macrumors 68000

    Which one would you guys say is most like the iPhone when it comes to the Auto Correct feature?

    My iPhone does an exceptional job of correcting my typing. I type super-fast and accidentally hit LOTS of incorrect letters, yet when I'm done typing the words are perfectly typed.
  12. macrumors 604


    Swiftkey's auto correct >>>>>> iOS keyboard's auto correct. Like... a gazillion times better.

    Also, custom personal dictionaries for the win.

    Personally, I use Kii Keyboard. It's the best overall keyboard for both thumb-tap typing and gesture/swiping.
  13. macrumors 68000

  14. macrumors G3


    Swiftkey IMO. I type with two thumbs and rely on auto-correct and it does a great job.
  15. macrumors 65816


    Sucks SwiftKey doesnt have a dedicated S Pen button for when wanting to use it.

    You have to use the Samsung keyboard and then use their button for fields that dont utilize the text box hover function.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    I'm not very familiar with the iPhone's auto-correct as I don't use it often enough. In terms of auto-correct amongst the keyboards that I use, SwiftKey is the best. The fact that I can type more accurately with Kii offsets the advantage of SwiftKey's auto-correct for me.
  17. macrumors 68040

    Had the exact same thought as I run into the same problem using my Note 10.1.

    I haven't found a favorite keyboard yet as all have some sort of compromise. Let me first qualify that I like having the delete key on the top right corner of the keyboard (same as a traditional keyboard) and most don't do this. I also prefer to use the same keyboard on both my tablets and phone, again, for consistency.

    Google does this but it offers the least customization, doesn't have an option for a row of number keys on tablets, has minimal long-press secondary character options and it's autocorrection and word prediction is midpack, IMO. Its swiping functionality is also OK, not great. My keypress accuracy is probably best with Google though.

    Kii offer a lot of customization (love being able to use different landscape layout, especially on tablets, add a row of numbers, change key size and spacing) but has the delete and return/enter keys in different places on phone vs. tablet layout (???). Needless to say, this leads to plenty of errors. Its autocorrect and word prediction are also good, not the best, IMO. I do like it's swipe functionality the best. My keypress accuracy isn't great with Kii.

    Swiftkey would probably be my first choice if they didn't have the delete key near the bottom (at least they are consistent). Its autocorrect and word prediction is spectacular, best by far, IMO--love the Cloud syncing between devices as well. I don't however, like the number/symbols grouping--numbers in keypad configuration is OK but why on the left when most people are right handed? At least make it configurable. It's swipe functionality is midpack. My keypress accuracy isn't great here either but the autocorrect/word predict makes up for it.

    On a side note, ironically, I find I'm most accurate with my keypresses on the iOS keyboard, even on its smaller screen. Autocorrect on iOS is OK and it's in desperate need for more robust features (better word prediction, swipe would be a good start) but limitations withstanding, I'm still pretty damn accurate and quick using it. Go figure.
  18. macrumors 604


    Try Swype. I forget where they put the backspace key but I noticed it's missing from your list. Swype has gotten pretty amazing.
  19. macrumors 68040

    I never was a big user of gesture based typing until recently so I never bothered trying it--will definitely give it a whirl, thanks.
  20. macrumors 604


    Thumb typing on swype has gotten pretty good.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    That's a big reason as to why I stuck with the stock Google keyboard when I had the N7, I hated the backspace/delete being in a different position than normal on keyboards like Swiftkey, I just couldn't get used to it.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    I use the default HTC One keyboard. I tried the others but they're so ugly. I just wish the letters were spaced out more on it
  23. slu
    macrumors 68000


    I use stock on my Nexus 4. Tried swiftkey, but I had the same "cheapness" feeling that you had. For me, they were functionally the same, so I went back to stock.
  24. macrumors 65816

    Swiftkey, for the reasons others have mentioned. Not into the swyping.
  25. macrumors 6502a


    The biggest advantage I find with gesture based typing is for one-handed use. I normally touch type in landscape when I can use the device with two hands. On occasion, it is not convenient or not possible for me to use a device two-handed or in landscape orientation. In these situations, gesture typing in portrait is what I do. For gesture typing, I find that Swype is the best, Google keyboard is a close second and Kii to be third best. SwiftKey Flow is a distant 4th.

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