Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SwiftKey 3 keyboard worth a look?

If you're an android user, whether it's a phone or a tablet, you know by now that there are plenty of options if you don't like the default keyboard on your device.

SwiftKey 3 is yet another option. It will cost you $1.99 for the full version but there is a free trial available so you can test it out for a month before buying. So far in my testing I've found it to be very good about clicking the letter my big thumbs were trying to click, and very accurate when interpreting my mistakes. In fact the keyboard is designed to be smart enough to separate words when you forget to put a space in between.  And it even works when the jumble of words aren't completely spelled correctly.

"SwiftKey 3 understands how words work together, giving much more accurate corrections and predictions than other keyboards. Very sloppy typing will magically make sense, even if you miss spaces, and SwiftKey 3 also predicts your next words."

It comes with quite a few different language options, and different themes for your viewing pleasure.

In testing the voice to text ability I found it to be surprisingly accurate as well, and it even lists several options for you to choose from in case it might have misheard you.

They have two versions out, one meant for phones and one meant for tablets. I have the Samsung galaxy note and SwiftKey seems to read my device as a tablet (with a 5.3 inch screen it's not hard to understand why), which is not a bad thing in this case because it means that I can use the tablet version which has one advantage over the phone version.  In landscape mode the galaxy note is long enough that holding the phone on the sides and typing with your thumbs gets a little awkward while you stretch for the middle of the keyboard, SwiftKey solves this problem with the optional split keyboard, making typing in landscape mode a breeze. With a true 7-10 inch tablet typing in landscape is awkward unless you lay the tablet down and type like you would on a normal computer keyboard, but sometimes you can't lay the tablet down, so the split keyboard option is great. But if for whatever reason you don't like it you can easily switch back and forth between split keyboard and full landscape keyboard with one button press.
Split keyboard is a great option for tablets and larger phones.

It is also smart about punctuation. If you type the last word of a sentence and hit space bar out of habit (which I frequently do). SwiftKey knows that you meant to put it at the end of the last word and will put it in the right spot.


While it does get most of the small details right it is however missing one small convenience: with most keyboards you have to switch to an alternate portion of the keyboard to type numbers and punctuation marks. Some keyboards will automatically switch back to letters once you place your punctuation and hit space bar.  It's something that is very minor but helps keep you typing quickly and once you've gotten used to it, it's strange to not have the function.  It may be a nice feature that is absent with this keyboard, but it's a minor complaint in an otherwise great and inexpensive download.

Of the keyboards I've tried this is definitely one of the better looking, and more accurate keyboards.  The split keyboard function is a must have for tablet users and those with larger phones.  It may just be the next best thing to the Swype keyboard, but if you are a typer who can't get used to swiping for words, this is definitely something to look into.

Oh and these themes are available for the keyboard if you want to change up the look and feel.