Android keyboard app shoot-out - Fleksy, Minuum, Swiftkey, and Swype battle for glory

Developer: SwiftkeyDownload: Android
Genre: KeyboardPrice: Free (with in-app purchases)

Good old Swiftkey! This keyboard has been rocking it in the Google Play Store before it was called the Play Store! It was first released in 2010, and four years later, it remains a remarkable contender. Let's see if the veteran can still show the young cadets a trick or two, then!

1. Look & feel

Swiftkey can be a different monster depending on the time of the day and your mood. It has two layouts - one keyboard-like, and one characters-on-an-artsy-background-like, along with plenty of themes to make them look fresh. Both feel good to type and swipe on. Essentially, Swiftkey follows the Google keyboard paradigm too, but the keys (in the keyboard layout) are spacier and more refined. Like in Swype, there are additional characters available by pressing and holding on the key. No matter which layout you settle for, you can customize it by adding a row of numbers and getting to choose accented versions of each character. You can also have the number pad to the left if you are so inclined, and long-pressing on the Enter key brings out the emoji. There's a vast collection of over 800 emoticons - so many that the menu literally lags when your browse it. Well, so be it!

2. Control efficiency

The big omission in Swiftkey are gestures. Well, it's not exactly an omission - it's just that the gestures are very few, and disabled while swiping is enabled. While Swype handles both swiping and gesture integration brilliantly, Swiftkey lags behind, while technology has proven that we can totally have both. If you disable the swipe functionality, called Swiftkey Flow, you'll be able to use three gestures - slide horizontally to delete a word, slide down to minimize, and slide up to capitalize. They feel more like an afterthought. As a whole, Swiftkey controls and performs pretty well for a keyboard, but aside from word replacement, its not exceptional in any way and we feel that some stock Android keyboards have already caught up to it in this regard.

3. Typing efficiency

Due to the lack of gestures, typing with Swiftkey doesn't differ much from using a stock Android keyboard, unless you mostly rely on swiping - and at that point, it seems all keyboards have nailed swipe input. Word replacement happens with ease - although its very accurate, the technology isn't too strict, as is the case with most competitors. You will get away with typing names and jargon without Swiftkey trying to correct absolutely everything, which is quite the relief at times. Accessing symbols and other shortcuts by long-pressing is remarkably brisk. Voice input relies on Google's voice recognition technology, which has proven itself with time. Overall, Swiftkey is perfectly good for typing - just not very dynamic or, well, swift, due to the absence of gestures.

4. Misc features

Kinetic it might be not, but Swiftkey is feature-rich. Like its competitors, the app has a cloud service that cares for your dictionary backups and personalizations from social networks - you will see a lot of the language you use every day show up in word suggestions. You can have the spacebar complete the current word you're slaving at, simply insert a space, or insert a predication. The spacebar can be double-tapped to insert a period, and emojis can be predicted according to the words you type. Finally, Swiftkey has interesting usage statistics, such as a typing heatmap generated by your fingers, number of keystrokes the app saved, number of corrected typos, and more.



1. yonith

Posts: 228; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

I stopped using Swiftkey because of it's horrible lag and missing keystrokes. At first I thought it was my phone (overclocked SGS3) but then I upgraded to the LG G2 and it was still occurring. I switched to the Android L keyboard and haven't looked back. It never misses a beat.

6. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

Never experienced such a thing on either Nexus 5, SGS2 or SGS3. Are you sure you are not thinking about swype? Swype at one point used to suffer these problems. My swiftkey issue is that it's not the best at swiping or "flowing", although the latest update has improved things.

12. Fellwalker

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

I agree on lag with my nexus 5 and nexus 7 2013 and SwiftKey . Some days I start typing and find that it has missed 90% of what I typed.

14. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

Hmmm. I've had the nexus 5 since February and have not experienced this ever. Are you using Davlik or ART for a run time? I'm using ART.

8. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Android L keyboard is the best by far.

13. hunted

Posts: 403; Member since: Sep 21, 2011

Is Android L keyboard available for free?

15. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Of course. :)

11. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

I always go back to stock/vanilla keyboard in the end, which is the most lag-free of all.

19. saiki4116

Posts: 413; Member since: Mar 31, 2011

The prediction engine in SwiftKey is very aggressive, it assumes that most of times you would mistype, it had been issue for me as I type my mother tongue in English. I am also using Android L keyboard

23. ideal_josh

Posts: 34; Member since: Nov 26, 2012

go to SwiftKey settings and change it. lol

2. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Swype, for me. Since 2010 (Symbian times).

3. surethom

Posts: 1698; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Swiftkey is my fav but with swift turned off. I have tried so many but swiftkey is the best i find & love the number keypad layout.

4. CaptainManlyMan

Posts: 12; Member since: Jan 31, 2014

I'm using Fleksy, and have never looked back. I love this keyboard. XD

5. ghanemsam

Posts: 64; Member since: Nov 21, 2012

SwiftKey is the best

7. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

Google keyboard does the job perfectly for me in all my devices! Its gesture typing is fast, accurate and fluid! It's better optimized than the above keyboards!

10. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

I'm not so happy with it. It works most of the time, but it can also be sluggish and incorrect at times. Besides, what's with it inside comboxes? It seems to lose half of its functionality when typing in them on Chrome.

9. Max_Boost

Posts: 101; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

Swiftkey >>> *

16. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Weird. How can fleksy been on the apple app store since July of 2012 when apple didn't allow 3rd party keyboards???

18. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

Exactly what I was thinking.

20. luis.d

Posts: 354; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

Fleksy launched as a stand-alone keyboard app. Basically, you type your stuff, and go paste it in Facebook and Twitter. Today, there are Fleksy-integrated apps on the app store which use its SDK to have it built-in as their custom keyboard. Swiftkey also did something similar with its Swiftkey Note app.

17. sirrichard unregistered

I have an LG G3 and am using ai type plus keyboard (last two phones) and really love it. I don't know why it is not considered among the best.

21. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Using Swype now. Bored with swiftkey after using it for a year. Was good. But I need a change. Swype is good for me now.

22. Even4steven

Posts: 45; Member since: Aug 03, 2012

Swype has taught me that input method is an underrated component of the whole phone experience. I struggle to understand how Apple users have hung in there without keyboard choices and the usefulness of alternatives.

24. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

I prefer Minuum because standard QWERTY keyboard suck on my small screen ;)

25. Caspid

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

I really wanted to like Flesky, but it was terrible compared to SwiftKey. The predictions weren't nearly as accurate. You can't click on them and swiping down to try the next prediction is horribly slow/cumbersome. It seems a lot less forgiving of errors than SwiftKey. There's no keyboard indication for symbols. Trying to type numbers is excruciating without a dedicated number row. There are no next word predictions. You can't swipe to type at all (I do this when i have to text one-handed). On top of all this, it's not even free. I'm guessing Fleksy's world record for speed was set without predictions allowed, as nothing could be faster than simply tapping on SwiftKey's next-word predictions.

26. leoavi94

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 24, 2015

Swift key's auto correct and prediction are useless except for English.. Since I use hinglish there is not a single keyboard that can predict and work better than swype.. But I don't know why it lags a lot. I wish it was smooth like swiftkey.. But when I have to type in English I use Fleksy.. Hands down it is seriously the best and fastest keyboard on the planet.. It reminds me the days of physical QWERTY keyboards. I don't have to even look at my phone while typing I just keep tapping my fingers and voilĂ .. I got it free through an offer at Amazon app store :D Who don't like freebies :P

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