Keyboards

We spend more time using the keyboard than many other apps. Which one is your favorite?

One of Android's killer features is the ability to change system applications if we come across one that's better for us than what came with our phone or tablet. Things like messaging apps, or launchers or lock screens. That's some powerful stuff, and makes the word customized actually mean something. To me, this is especially important when we're talking about the input method we use to communicate with the world from our phones. Of course, I'm talking about the keyboard.

There are some really great keyboard replacement apps out there. SwiftKey has an uncanny prediction engine that learns as you use it (even BlackBerry users agree) combined with the "Flow" swipe-to-type feature. Swype, the original swipe-to-type keyboard, now has a fine prediction engine and dictionary set-up of it's own. A quick look through Google Play will show you that there are plenty of others out there that offer unique functions and layouts, too. No matter what you're looking for from your keyboard, you'll probably find one to suit you.

So we ask, what is your keyboard of choice on your Android device? There's a poll on the sidebar to the right, and it's also embedded after the break. Let us know which keyboard you're using, and feel free to tell us why in the comments.

A look at last week's poll results:

Which U.S. carrier will you be getting the Samsung Galaxy S4 on?

Poll results

A nice, even spread with Verizon taking a slight lead as expected. More importantly -- a lot of people are picking up a Galaxy S4. And we can see why.

 
There are 104 comments

The vanilla Android keyboard has come a long way, and now with swipe capability on 4.2, there is no reason to purchase Swype or SwiftKey. Been using it since I got 4.2 on my ASUS TF300. My GS3 came preloaded with Swype, but I haven't bothered using it that much. Just gonna wait until 4.2 hits the VZW GS3 (at this rate, in a couple of years, but that's another story).

The note 2 keyboard didn't have the auto correct feature I was used to. So I found a Jellybean keyboard on the Play store.

bimsebasse says:

Yup. Once a Swiftkey user, I now just use the stock jelly bean 4.2.2 keyboard, which, though not as configurable, does pretty much the same pretty much as well.

On <3.5" screen phones - too small for qwerty unless you got small fingers - Smart Keyboard with T9 layout is the way to go.

sequoia462 says:

Super autocorrection is necessary for small screens even with small fingers. I used to think Swiftkey was good, but then I tried Swype when it came out on the market and it's excellent.
Still like the stock 4.2 keyboard for my Nexus 7 though.

jomcty says:

Yep, I find the stock JB keyboard's swipe capability better than SwiftKey.
I find that Swype's swipe feature works better that SwiftKey too. However, Swype was using a whopping 50MB+ of RAM.

I like the long-press symbols on the Swype keyboard; I wish the stock JB keyboard would add those too, then it would be perfect!

Since coming back to android with the galaxy s4 ! I have used this keyboard and find it to be the most accurate of all the ones i have put through there paces.

David Lopez3 says:

When running Sense ROMs, I use Swiftkey.
When running AOSP ROMs, I use the stock one.

Darth Spock says:

Agree, 4.2 stock Android keyboard is my favorite.

Treknologist says:

I use AI Type Keyboard. I like the prediction and the customizations available for it. :)

MERCDROID says:

Swiftkey FTW!!!!

This. I have tried A LOT if keyboards and nothing comes close to swiftkey for my needs. The settings, predictions, and overall functionality can't be beat.

XavierMatt says:

I also use Swift Key. The prediction is unmatched.

chris r3 says:

SwiftKey would be great if it was quick to load. I'm fed up with the lag experienced anytime I click on a text box. It's not instant like the stock keyboard. I've found a good middle ground to be Swype, which loads faster and is nearly as good as SwiftKey.

MC_A_DOT says:

+10

DWR_31 says:

Swype feels nice, but Swiftkey knows me.

olorin says:

That's so true.I love the feel of Swype, but the intelligent prediction of swiftkey is hard to beat. I do wish 3rd parties would add an option for a dedicated number row, like the Samsung keyboard on the note 2. That screen is more than big enough to handle it.

Robbzilla says:

I can't get over the feel of Swiftkey, so I stick with Swype.

By the way, Hacker's Keyboard will allow 5 rows, although it lacks in a lot of other places if you like Swiftkey.

evansgw says:

I am running CM10.1 on my GS2 and using the vanilla Android keyboard, so it definitely isn't the one my phone came with.

zero3187 says:

Vanilla Android keyboard from 4.2 for me. I fell in love with it on my Nexus 7 and went out of my way to get it for my Droid DNA.

recently discovered Kii. amazing functionality here.

This is the one my fiance uses and she swears by it. I am a swiftkey fanboy and I always try to convert her. Her response "I just don't like it..." typical.

JaylanPHNX says:

That's not what she said to me! (Sorry, somebody had to.)

return_0 says:

I think the poll should be more specific, dividing the "One that came with the phone" into stock, Sense, TW, other OEM skin, and custom ROM keyboard.

bigdav1178 says:

Also, there should be an option for hardware keyboard. It is obviously the "one that came with the phone", but I believe they are infering the stock soft keyboard.

baykes says:

Swype but only if for some reason my physical one ever stopped working.

no touch screen KB is ever gonna beat the speed and efficiency of having your keyboard do what you actually told it to in the first place.

Channan says:

Pretty sure the record for the fastest typing on a phone is done on an on-screen keyboard.

Swavek says:

It would be interesting to know which keyboard people would prefer if there were no predictions or swipe-like features.
Anyway, I'm all for swiftkey. I love their predictions and I have become to used to their keyboard layout that using other keyboards slows me down significantly.

jdevenberg says:

Without predictions and Swype like features they would ask be more or less the same thing...

rmkilc says:

Anyone saying SwiftKey is silly. Developer(s) that distribute SEPARATE apps for phones vs tablets don't understand Android, and anyone using their apps is supporting a bad habit. Anyone that understands the SDK can tell you there is absolutely no reason to separate an app based on screen size, no different than based on processor, language, memory, 3G or wifi-only, phone model, camera or no camera, LCD or AMOLED, battery size, screen resolution, etc. Google as of late has even published guidelines backing this up. Any developer continuing with this habit is clearly brainwashed by iOS, and the way development works over there. This needs to stop. Anyone using SwiftKey isn't helping Android at all.

naldonnis says:

Isn't that one thing about android is the freedom to choose what you want?

rmkilc says:

Uh.. What? I don't think you thoroughly read what I posted.

I LOVE SWIFTKEY, I PURCHASED THE FULL PHONE AND TABLET VERSIONS :-):-) :-) :-)

pincherdemus says:

Me too!

moosc says:

they don't care, there greedy and it's about charging more for same product. they it is way I stopped using them.

fuddster says:

I'm using the *hardware* keyboard that came with the phone. Still rocking my Droid 4 and it's working great.

shaymojack says:

I've been bouncing between SwiftKey and Swype since Swype showed up on the Play store. I've been using SwiftKey for a long time, but Swype is making a very good impression on me. Not only is gesture typing miles ahead of SwiftKey (no surprise there), but I'm starting to think that its tap typing autocorrect may be better than SwiftKey's as well.

sequoia462 says:

I agree with all of that!

hankdu says:

i agree, that is the one of the main difference that would make me use swype over swiftkey. Tapping onto the correct word in Swype is much faster than Swifykey because you have to tap on the wrong word first then tap the correction.

XChrisX says:

Stock Android keyboard is also my favorite as mentioned above, but I don't think it's available on the S4. I know the stock Android keyboards weren't available on the S3.

pizza5 says:

I've tried them all but by far my standard keyboard now is Big Buttons. With my less than delicate fingers the BB keys are twice as wide and high. There are only 5 keys to a row. I get a lot fewer errors the first go-round because the keys are so big. With Swype I'm always thinking how to spell the next word and if you hesitate for a nanosecond you're toast. SwiftKey is fine if you limit yourself to standard sized keys. Of course, all this applies only if you're in portrait mode. Just my 3 cents.

Funkpod says:

I can type fastest with Swype. From the capital letter gestures to the way it can handle learning whole email addresses, the way that you do commas, etc, it is fastest for me. Swift key is great on my nexus 7, but not Flow, just the typing.

Go Keyboard here.

lightyear420 says:

AOSP kb is much better than it used to be!! I was using swiftkey for my nexus s, but when I switched to nexus 4 I started using the AOSP kb. I never switched back because it's got everything I could want, and the layout is actually pretty good now.

kraski says:

The built-in Samsung kb on my Note 2 is quite good. It was actually better than the version of Swype that came with it. And Swiftkey, pre-Flow, had no swiping. Both Swiftkey (with Flow) and Swype beta 1.4 took things up a notch and I found myself switching back and forth between the two, as new versions came out. I've settled into Swype's 1.4 final for being closer to my vocabulary.

kstandish42 says:

I used to love better keyboard8, and then I jumped to swiftkey when they took it down. So much wasted potential :/

egreenwood1 says:

The stock AOSP keyboard is my favorite.

b_boogey_xl says:

Tossing in my vote for the stock keyboard on vanilla Android 4.2.2. It's just an overall rock solid performer on my Nexus 4.

myusername says:

The old FlexT9 from Nuance is still the best keyboard I've ever used. If you bought it before Nuance killed it off for Swype, it can still be downloaded from Google Play so I have it on all my devices.

larkhillv says:

I use Kii Keyboard :) It's pretty sweet.

moosc says:

best of every keyboard. love it

Spork1673 says:

swiftkey is my default keyboard but i bought swype and its growing on me

chronophilos says:

On my Nexus 4, I generally use Swiftkey (thought I've been using the Play Store version of Swype lately, and it's good). The "flow" option in Swiftkey is pretty disastrous though, and flowing "through space" I can only input two or three words at most. On my Nexus 10, the stock keyboard feels much more fluid and responsive than Swiftkey. I wish it had a split keyboard option. I do agree that having a phone version and a tablet version is totally bogus.

JohnJSal says:

It seems like SwiftKey has gotten worse since the Flow update, even though I don't use Flow. The prediction just doesn't seem as good as it was before.

RSindian says:

Swype works best for me on my Note and Nexus 7, but I have swiftkey installed also and go back to it every now and again.

maverick7526 says:

I like SwiftKey, but the flow thing kind of sucks. I've been using it for 2 months or so. I'm going to give it until June, or until the stupid predicting makes me mad enough to go back to stock. The stock keyboard has been great since the 4.2 update.

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I used to use Swype, but SwiftKey is now my keyboard of choice.

It is no accident that SwiftKey is consistently one of the top paid apps on the Google Play Store.

When I have to use an iPhone or BlackBerry for testing or reviewing purposes, I really find myself missing SwiftKey.

TurboFool says:

What a poor list of options. For one thing, differentiating "the one that came with the phone" from stock would be useful. A lot of phones come with a custom manufacturer keyboard in addition to a stock Android one, in addition to something else. And there are more keyboards than merely SwiftKey and Swype, even if those are the best of them.

Also, differentiating version of Android is helpful.

Motives count, as well. "The one that came with the phone" implies a person lazily just stuck with whatever was thrown on there and never looked around. Not always valid.

In my case I, indeed, use the stock Android Jelly Bean 4.2 keyboard after a couple of years of exclusively using, and swearing by, SwiftKey, and having tested many more. It isn't until 4.2 Jelly Bean that I found it fit my needs better than alternatives.

chronophilos says:

Exactly! After buying Swiftkey and Swype, I choose to use the stock 4.2 keyboard. It's a active choice, not the result of laziness or being cheap.

Sophos says:

I am another stock JB 4.2.2 keyboard user. While I do think that there are better alternatives (read swiftkey) they aren't THAT much better, imho.

imtoomuch says:

TouchPal - it is a very underrated keyboard.

pe1 says:

Flow (not to be confused with SwiftKey): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.enchantedcode.flow. It takes some time to learn, but once you do it's simply the fastest input method out there.

I am so sick of everyone's love affair with swiftkey! It is the most overrated keyboard on android. The aosp ICS keyboard was the best ever. But then the punctuation got taken away in jelly bean. I used thumb keyboard for a while and then Kii keyboard too me by surprise. It had a nifty little feature where I can type in Spanish and English and it will recognize both at once. Also the saying and the finger typing are 100% better than seiftkry especially. All you swiftkey lovers do yourselves a favor and try Kii you will ever forget it.

Tried kii, can't predict like swiftkey.

shahid99 says:

Nexus 4 stock keyboard. With gesture typing ,I'm loving it

rits2011 says:

Stock Jelly Bean works totally fine for me.

TheDu9du says:

What about those who had swype in their stock?
I use Nexus 4 stock keyboard with gesture. I have tried swype, swiftkey, and now this. I consider the most accurate to be Swype. With swype you can purposely type "to" or "too". Something you can not do with others. I find it convenient to use my Nexus 4 stock keyboard cause it seems convenient to keep my phone lean. Plus the voice works without the use of data which is cool to me.

karooroot says:

I use Swype. Actually, for English typing, AOSP keyboard offers great function. I think it's no need to install other keyboard application. However, for foreign language users, Swype keyboard has great prediction & swipe option.

elcano says:

The last time that I tried Swype you had to change your language manually before entering on the second language... Ridiculous. If you type in more than one language SwiftKey is the only keyboard supporting more than one language at the same time - no need to change settings manually.

BigDinCA says:

Loved the Sense keyboard and it got better with every UI update. Not loving the version on the One as much so I'm looking around for something new.

cadzilla74 says:

I use Thumb Keyboard. Love it. Easy to customize. I see it in Play Store for $2.35. Don't remember paying for it. Might have been an Amazon free app of the day way back when. Been using it since GB on my TBolt. Never found anything easier to use especially when typing in Portrait Mode with my big ol' thumbs which is where the "split keyboard" really shines.

AllanJH says:

I've been using Hacker's Keyboard. Aside from saying "amd" a lot, it's pretty much ideal. No pesky auto-correct to fight with, responsive, and has nearly every key under the sun.

Jotokun says:

I've used AOSP since ICS, and currently the technically non-AOSP one with swype that runs on 4.2. Are other keyboards good? Probably. But I've never felt a need to branch out.

SwiftKey Flow!

stvo says:

Stock Jelly Bean

qICEM4Np says:

Swift key. But judging from these comments the I'll be trying out the 4.2 keyboard.

Kii Keyboard is awesome.. Best from both the worlds!!!

lilmicstar says:

There is a reason why this post isn't on iMore :P Go team Android.
OT: I use Jellybean Keyboard from the Play store on my XZ/Note 10.1.

garrett 77 says:

Kii keyboard is very functional and offers stone great premium features all of which you can test out for an hour whenever you want. Plus it has a bunch of layouts including split keyboard for tablets!

frustyak says:

On my HTC devices, I've never found a keyboard that gave me the speed and accuracy of the Compact Qwerty keyboard. Yet it rarely enters the discussion of the best android keyboards.

StevesBalls says:

I've always been a fan of Swiftkey but after weeks with Kii I have to say that (at least for me) it really is better than Swiftkey.

Tietherope says:

Stock Jelly Bean keyboard on the Galaxy S III.

bigdav1178 says:

Hardware keyboard - until I can no longer get an acceptable phone with one. I have not used a soft keyboard that worked well/simple enough with symbols and lesser known words (such as technical jargon) to satisfy my tastes.

prateek wate says:

Nexus 4 Stock keyboard 4.2.2 FTW.
no need to install any third party Keyboard :D

VDub2174 says:

I'm all about Thumb Keyboard.

c2rus says:

Kii Keyboard. Relative newcomer, swipey, does all the important things right, and is least annoying about it so far.

For my tablet, use MessageEase, on phone the stock keyboard. Message Ease allows me to take notes in meetings on Evernote

jeff275 says:

I check every time I get a new phone, a system update or a new ROM and I always come back to Smart Keyboard Pro. It has the best text prediction, the best keyboard, the best everything for me.

Louis Misko says:

I guess I'm one of the few that use Graffiti Pro keyboard. As a long-time Palm user it is great to be able to watch the screen while your finger traces out the letters below un-watched. No annoying shifting for numbers or symbols. I use it with the prediction turned off to stop the jumping up and down.

nashjar says:

Graffiti Pro is still my favorite. I use it on both my personal and work Android phones and was so disappointed to find it would not work on my Kindle Fire HD.

techieTroy says:

I use both Swype and SwiftKey. I use Swype more of the time, but each has qualities I switch over for. If I could combine the best of both, I could stop switching!

Olafgarten says:

I Use 8PEN and can now text 54 percent faster

PaulDE says:

Sony's stock keyboard (GB 2.3.4). T9 in portrait, built in Swipe in landscape.

Windfrenzy says:

Many great swiping keyboards today, but what puts SwiftKey over the top for me is the numbers arranged in a pad instead of a row. I love that.

bfxhc says:

i use swiftkey because it's the only one i've found that offers a 3x3 number pad on the the alternate/symbols keyboard. i don't understand why that isn't a thing for all keyboards.
i'm waiting for minuum, though. that looks awesome

dax mcanear says:

Messagease is by far the superior keyboard. Eventually we will get over our infatuation with the worthless querty keyboard.

droidrider says:

Swift, but I don't type much.

Nera83 says:

MessagEase

MessagEase!

t1mepiece says:

MessagEase, for the text-replacement macros alone. Not to mention numbers and punctuation without switching keyboards.

MessagEase, no doubt. It has everything in a single interface. Cursor keys, punctuations, special characters, numbers, delete words, backspace, select all, copy, paste, etc... Plus which keyboard gives you a typing speed above around 30wpm for an average typer? Tbh, I type much faster than on my computer's QWERTY keyboard, on MessageEase, and it has been developed since Palm OS days.

Quasar says:

On my Galaxy Nexus I use SwiftKey but on my Nexus 10 I use the Jelly Bean keyboard. On my Nexus 10 however, I changed the settings so the keyboard has a dedicated row of numbers along the top. It works really well for me in that configuration. I'm looking forward to trying the Minuum keyboard eventually though.

Peter Cermak says:

I use Messagease now for over 10 years and love it!

Greg Pike says:

Yes, I've used MessagEase for many years as well. It's far superior to any other keyboard/text-entry system I've tried.

LinuxBob says:

I've used MessagEase since the Palm days. It's the fastest system with outstanding word prediction. I usually only have to type four letters and then tap one of the predicted words. The macros also add to the speed and efficiency, as well as direct input of punctuation. The larger keys minimize input errors. I tryed Swype, which is pretty accurate, and still play with it every once and a while, but always come to back to MessagEase. Dragon voice input is very impressive, but not generally practical in public.