The Best Android Keyboards
If you surf around the Google Play store often you’ll have noticed that there are a fair few keyboard apps out there. Our question today is which of these is the best? Obviously, most of us spend a solid amount of time typing on our phones, whether that’s messaging or emailing, and a decent keyboard can make a big difference to how you use your mobile. Ready for some keyboard info? Then let’s get started.
Wait, Why Do I Need a Keyboard App?!
Before we get into the best of the apps, first let’s take a look at why you might want one in the first place. Your phone already has a keyboard of course, but there are a couple of reasons why you might be up for a change. The first of these is quite simply that the keyboard won’t do what you need it to do. If you frequently type in a foreign language, for example, you might find that your stock keyboard doesn’t support it, leaving you without autocorrect and searching around for accents and diacritical marks.
The second reason is probably more common though, and that’s that quite simply a lot of stock keyboards suck. The stock keyboard installed on many Samsung devices, for example, is notorious for having inaccurate typing. Plus, you can probably get a bunch more features if you decide to switch out to another keyboard app. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best of the best.
The Google Keyboard
Topping our list is an app that you might actually already have. The stock Google Keyboard is pre-installed in a bunch of phones (although Samsung, LG and HTC users won’t have it). It’s easy to use, accurate to type on, and has some nice customisation features as you’d expect from Google. You can decide how strict you want your autocorrect to be, for example, as well as customising sounds, vibrations and colours. In terms of simple, the Google Keyboard is the one most likely to satisfy most customers. It is a little lacking in special features though, so might not be the best choice if you’re looking for something specific. Oh, and it’s free!
SwiftKey is again accurate and pretty easy to use. But it’s got two very nice special features that really make this a stellar app. Firstly, it can support two languages simultaneously, which is handy for those that need to write in say French and English and don’t want to have to change their keyboard settings all the time. Secondly, it has predictive emojis, which works in the same way as predictive text. Type “I love pi…” and your text suggestions will include both the word “pizza” and the pizza emoji. Pretty neat. SwiftKey is free too!
Swype takes typing to a whole different level. Rather than tapping a letter, raising your finger, moving and tapping the next, Swype allows you to keep your finger on the screen and move it in a pattern to create words. It is a bit of a learning curve, but Swype fans assure us that once you’ve got into it your typing will be way faster. Swype also supports two languages, just as SwiftKey does. There’s a free version of the app, but it’s a thirty day trial only, after that you’ll need to pay for the pro version. Themes and customisation options are also paid.
Fleksy is another 30 day free trial app, and once your month is up you’ll need to pay £1.32 for the pro version. This is a very minimalistic keyboard, simple to use with a clear, well laid out set of keys. It also supports forty languages, which is pretty impressive. However, there’s one thing that makes Fleksy very convenient. Open up the Fleksy app and you’ll then be able to hop around between other apps that need a keyboard. For example, you can skip from email to SMS to Facebook Messenger all without closing the Fleksy app or opening a new window. For those that spend a lot of time typing in different apps, Fleksy is certainly a time saver.
Go Keyboard is a free app, and one that has a lot of followers for one simple reason: it’s by far the most customisable of keyboard apps available on Google Play. Once you’ve downloaded the app itself you’ll find that there are literally hundreds of extensions that allow you to do everything from changing the theme to changing the keyboard layout to changing the languages it supports. If you’re looking for a keyboard that you can design around your own needs then Go Keyboard is a clear choice. Plus, it divides itself into a two handed keyboard set up for larger screens and tablets.
Another free app, Hacker’s Keyboard shares a lot of the same great features as the other apps on this list. It’s simple to use, accurate to type on, and has plenty of customisation options. But one thing sets Hacker’s Keyboard apart. You have the ability to set up a keyboard that is the same as the one on your computer, including things like shift, control and function buttons. If you’re using a Microsoft Office app to work on the go, a real computer keyboard is going to make your life far easier. It’s not for everyone, but some users will appreciate having a full keyboard on their mobile.
Minuum is something very special, and will look like no other keyboard you’ve ever seen. It’s not a traditional QWERTY layout, which takes some getting used to, but according to the developers you can type faster once you get used to where the letters are. As the name implies, Minuum is also designed to take up less screen space on your phone (around half the space of a regular keyboard), though you can change the size to meet your needs. If you can get used to the strange layout, Minuum could be for you. It’s free to try, but after your trial period you’ll need to pay for the pro version.