16 best keyboards for Android
Together with the many advantages that we know and love all too well, the era of touch screens has also brought some disadvantages, first of all the virtual keyboard. Manufacturers and developers have been looking for efficient systems to allow us to type with the maximum speed and the minimum number of errors possible, also offering alternative layouts extravagant and concept too original. The Play Store is a good starting point to start the perfect keyboard hunt, but not the only one: some of the best keyboards for Android are not available for “retail” purchase, like HTC Keyboard; you will need to buy a device in which the keyboard is already present, or, for the most nerds, contact the ever-thriving XDA-Developers and the like.
Choosing the best keyboards for Android is a very subjective process; we have therefore decided to include a short paragraph with the personal opinions of the various members of the editorial staff and their experience of use, to try to orient you as well as possible. Also keep in mind that, for the same reason, we will evaluate every aspect of the keyboards for Android, except the actual quality of typing. Enjoy the reading!
Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard
The keyboard of Ice Cream Sandwich, presented by Google on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, is currently one of the most appreciated by both the public and the specialized critics, as testified by our Andrea Galeazzi in his video review. Thanks to the hard work of two talented fans, all Android devices can enjoy this software; in this test we take care of the most complete version, which goes beyond the concept of porting and, paying a small sum, enriches the Mountain View proposal with new and interesting features.
Recently won a Webby Award, SwiftKey X is becoming very popular among Android users thanks to its incredible ability to guess the words we are about to write, and to increase its accuracy by learning our personal style, using, inter alia, the content we have posted on Facebook, Twitter and Gmail.
The famous and ubiquitous GO Dev Team extends its irrefutable know-how also to the field of virtual keyboards, proposing a product with characteristics and strengths that we have now learned to recognize and appreciate: original design, high personalization, and the inevitable bevy of add-ons, accessory features and complementary services.
Since the arrival on the market of Swype, many manufacturers have appeared on the market by proposing a variant of the keyboards for Android that has revolutionized the typing on the touch screen. SlideIT is presented with excellent credentials and reviews, and a baggage of very interesting features. And many beautiful skins, which never fail!
It seems that, by now, most consumers no longer want to type: everyone wants to swipe, and proposals of this type multiply. From China also joins Cootek, with TouchPal and its “predictive sliding” engine, which promises excellent performance and high writing speed.
Swype has undoubtedly jolted the onscreen typing industry with its smart and fast typing system; however, it is not perfect, and some still prefer classic typing, key by key. For all these people, Smart Keyboard is an alternative to consider: high (and numerous) ratings on Google Play, spelling and predictive checker, and lots of high quality functional tweaks.
In the wake of Swiftkey X, a new keyboard arrives on our Android devices with an innovative predictive technology that does not require learning – let alone data from our personal accounts. To enrich the offer a truly original layout, full of innovations and unique features of its kind.
The turbulent events between Google and the developers of Better Keyboard, detailed documented on their official blog, have led to the final elimination of this keyboards for Android from the Play Store. But we cannot ignore the incredible success it has had, and it still has alternative marketplaces; we retrieved it on Slideme.org, and now we’ll let you know it.
The Android ecosystem, we never tire of repeating it, is remarkably wide and varied. From the Xperia Mini of the now defunct SonyEricsson to Motorola’s 22 “touch computers, there is a device for more or less every size, aspect ratio and orientation of the display, creating multiple specific needs when considering text input. Keyboard presents itself as a sort of universal solution, with many different layouts to choose from.
To complete the ban from Google Play of Better Keyboard comes Perfect Keyboard, based on the original open-source software from Google, enriched with many tweaks, as many options, and a generous choice of layout, useful for tablets and even small smartphones.
W10 Keyboard Pro
No, it’s not a Klingon keyboard: W10 is an interesting and original alternative to the classic QWERTY, with a beautiful 12-key layout, for the loyal old T9 keyboard that was normal just four years ago. A completely new mechanism of operation, supported by spell checker and word prediction.
The developers of Kii Keyboard started from Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and added a plethora of alternative layouts in the style of Thumb Keyboard. Let’s see how the creation of this “Frankenstein Keyboard” proceeds!
Keymonk Keyboard is fast. Really fast. The idea is as simple as it is effective: swip with both thumbs at the same time. However, it is difficult to learn how to use it properly. The learning curve is definitely steep, and will probably discourage more than one user. Not even the graphics impressed us a lot: it would take a nice overall restyling.
Siine Shortcut Keyboard
Siine Keyboard is a modified version of the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean keyboard. The main functionality is unchanged; aesthetics change and an extended Shortcut system is introduced, links, to insert text parts with maximum speed. We have a clock and a calendar, by time and date, different categories of preset phrases written with various styles, and even an instrument for … Send kisses. The system is complete, definitely fun to use and very flexible, but we are not entirely convinced that it allows us to be really quicker to type.
Although many manufacturers remove it in favor of their proprietary solutions, the standard Android 4 keyboard is very valid. It has always been, even since Ice Cream Sandwich, and even more so today, with the gesture input system, Swype style, introduced with the launch of Jelly Bean 4.2. Finally, Google has decided to bring it officially on the Play Store, so that everyone can use it.
A name, a guarantee. Hacker’s Keyboard is the ideal keyboards for Android geek, in particular the geek that needs to remotely control a Windows / Linux / Mac PC. Thanks to the expanded layout, in fact, we can enjoy all the keys typical of a physical computer keyboard: Alt, Ctrl, Esc, arrows, Home, accented letters and so on. And the rest? Rather mediocre, now, these days: the starting point is the default keyboard of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, certainly not a milestone in the field of text input on the touch screen, to which some themes and some more options have been added.
Advice and Suggestions
Installing keyboards for Android is quite simple, but some special measures are needed. Once the package has been downloaded and installed, the safest procedure is to recall the settings of your device, look for the Language and keyboard item, and look for a voice in the menu which is usually called Choose input method; after that it will be enough to select the keyboard that we have just installed. Naturally, the usual warning is given that, depending on the manufacturer, the options could be organized differently; in general, however, it is quite simple to orient oneself.