While it is true that keyboards are a thing of the past or are going to be so with the gush of new technologies—there is voice typing or predictive text—they still constitute an important component for smartphones. In fact, with people spending more time on their devices surfing the net or chatting with friends, keyboards are becoming more important. So, it isn’t surprising that companies—Samsung is the latest to join the fray—are coming out with additional keypad accessories, much similar to what Blackberry used to have in its golden days. However, at an expensive price range many of these don’t seem to be viable options for an everyday user. With operating systems now providing an opportunity to customise keyboards and enough options in the app store, one can choose what is convenient—swiping, doodling or typing. In case you are looking to chuck the boring keyboard on your phone, Ishaan Gera presents a list of some well-known personalised virtual pads.
It is impossible to discuss keyboards without talking about Google. The pad, which is already a standard with many phones, has transformed itself from being a plain vanilla keyboard to one that offers an array of options and the smartest interface. GBoard in its new avatar beats most keyboards hands down. You can do everything on Google. It offers the option of voice typing, handwriting recognition—this one is a bit dodgy, and swipe typing, which has become a norm with the millennials. But the best is its predictive text option. Although not as accurate as others in the fray, Google offers in-keyboard search options, which makes it very reliable. One does not need to switch to the web time and again, as a tap on the G button on the top left can present a whole range of options.
It’s difficult to follow Google’s act, but despite the connectivity, Google may not be people’s first choice. For those looking at customisations, more GIFs and emojis, Flesky seems a good choice. The keyboard has 40 customisable designs, three different sizes and these are not even its best features. The predictive text is better than Google. Although one would find the keyboard difficult to adapt to initially as it takes time to learn, once set up, it lets you swipe and type faster than any of the other keyboards and allows searching of GIFs and emojis. Not offering as many customisations, Flesky is good for people looking at fast typing.
Talk about predictive text and nothing can be better than Swiftkey. The keyboard is so accurate that it can predict emojis as well. Give it time and it can personalise better than any other keyboard in the industry. But Swiftkey disappoints in terms of fast typing and swiping, the feature is slow as compared to other options. The themes are a bit boring, but customisations are a key to Swiftkey, especially on bigger screens where it offers a split option where half the keyboard is on right and the other half on the extreme left. Then there is bilingual autocorrect for 150 languages.
The original swipe and type keyboard is the best when it comes to swipe typing. Those who have adapted to this style of typing won’t be disappointed to Swype. For the swipers, it types faster than any other keyboard. But besides that, there is nothing to the keyboard to appeal to a common user. With as many swiping customisations as you want, Swype can offer faster typing for regular users. Although predictive text is not great, the voice typing is certainly the best given it is a Nuance backed product. For those looking at flawless swiping and voice typing, Swype is the product for you.