FoneGuide: Best keyboards for Android

FoneGuide: Best keyboards for Android
With so many ways to tweak the way your smartphone behaves, it's easy to overlook that you also have the freedom to easily replace your default keyboard. The virtual keyboard serves as your primary means of input, whether you're using a phone or a tablet, so it's paramount to have a keyboard that feels just right for you.

FoneGuide: Best keyboards for Android
There are several dozen worthwhile keyboard replacements in Play Store that differ to a varying degree with their appearance, ergonomics or extra functionality. Whether you're not content with the stock functionality of your phone or just want to explore the alternatives, here’re 3 solid replacements for your keyboard to get you started!

SwiftKey 3 Free / Pro

'Unlock your typing potential' tout the developers of SwiftKey. There's certainly enough weight behind these words as SwiftKey is one of the pioneering touch keyboards with the predictive text feature. It has been the unique selling point of this keyboard ever since, and we dare to say SwiftKey only got better as the years rolled by. A truly uncanny feature is the way the keyboard learns your writing style to improve its predictive text engine.

SwiftKey 3

After some time with the keyboard, you'll barely notice making any of the annoying typos - SwiftKey just works so seamlessly. For this reason alone, the app comes highly recommended for owners of phones with smaller screens, like the Sony Xperia U or HTC Desire S. The trial version will only last for a month, and we won't blame you for falling in love with this keyboard and paying for the full version even sooner!

SlideIT Keyboard Free / Pro

One of the best alternatives to Swype (which is strangely not available in Google Play), SlideIT supports swipe-based text input where you simply draw connecting lines between the letters of the word you want to type. While it may sound complicated, this input system is incredibly simple and reliable in practice, especially if you tend to text while on the go (hint: don't do this!).

There's also a handy with in the upper right corner of the keyboard that lets you switch to a more traditional input method if you so prefer. The only area of complaint is that SlideIT keyboard layout is a little too confusing for beginners, but the ability to install custom skins partially solves this problem.

Smart Keyboard Trial / Pro

Smart Keyboard has been a long standing favourite amongst Android users who are looking for a near complete freedom over their typing experience. Although a lot of virtual keyboards these days offer identical functionality like text prediction, downloadable languages or alternative skins, Smart Keyboard also allows you to tweak a lot of the finer details, from the height of the keys down to even the vibration feedback.
Smart Keyboard
And, while the ability to tinker with many aspects of Smart Keyboard is truly impressive, the keyboard itself is also highly responsive and accurate, meaning you'll make a lot less mistakes, whether you're just texting or writing lengthy emails on the phone.


Once you've downloaded and installed the keyboard of your choose, you will need to enable it through the “Language and input” section in phone's settings - the exact path may vary depending on your version of Android. There, all you need to do is to find and select the name of the keyboard. A warning window will appear, and, if you agree with the message, hit the OK button to proceed.

Smartphones running Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' like Samsung Galaxy SIII mini or Note II already come with a vastly improved stock keyboard. It's a truly comprehensive package that mimics most if not all of the features offered by popular 3rd party apps. But, for the users running earlier versions of Android, there are still plenty of equally solid alternatives available out there.

The best thing about having an enormous selection of apps in Google's Play Store is that there's an Android keyboard that will fit just about any kind of user. Whether you like typing with just one finger or both thumbs, or prefer relying on the built-in dictionary to do most of the typing, you will surely find an attractive option in one of the keyboards we've looked at today. And, for such a fundamental component of interaction between you and the phone, the cost of 3rd party keyboards are meagre at best.

For all the app-oholics out there, stay tuned for the next issue of FoneGuide where we'll have yet another look at the best apps available for your mobile.


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