It didn’t take long after I’d downloaded the SwiftKey trial on my Epic that I went to Google and said ‘take my dollars’. Then I used a Windows Phone and thought that, honestly, it had the best software keyboard around. From the slight knocks as you enter each character to the incredible prediction it had built it, and the Metro look, I didn’t think SwiftKey would quite top it. Well, with a slight tweak in version 3, SwiftKey has regained control of the virtual keyboard world.
Now I’ve used Swype (it came bundled with my Epic), and I’ve used the default Android keyboard. The former, if you’re truly unaware, allows you to keep your thumb on the screen the whole time and swipe between characters, like a high-tech T9 input. I used it for a while because people kept bragging about it, but despite the coverage, I found that in spite of the gains that a quick swipe allows, having to manually type in words was a pain in the butt. Worse? Transitioning between swiping and typing. I ditched it after a few weeks when Engadget showed their love for SwiftKey.
SwiftKey is an amazing piece of work. Not only does it learn your typing style and come with a ton of options to help you type faster (but also, more accurately), SwiftKey can also go out to your Facebook, Twitter, or texts and learn how you already type words to improve its accuracy as well. So what was the one tweak that SwiftKey made this time around? They made the spacebar bigger. That seems like kind of a nerdy achievement, but at high speeds, I often hit the ‘Settings’ button that used to reside by its left flank and through the chaos of inputting characters, often drilled two or three menus deep before I realized my error. (This button now sits safely in the corner, away from tapping.)
I really can’t recommend it enough. It doesn’t have the ad campaign that Swype or some of the others do, but if you input a lot of data, you shouldn’t go without. SwiftKey proved to me that a great virtual keyboard is better than any hardware keyboard in a phone.