Android keyboard app shoot-out - Fleksy, Minuum, Swiftkey, and Swype battle for glory
And the survivors of our shoot-out are...
1. Look & feel - Swiftkey
This category is purely subjective, and we happened to fall for Swiftkey's variety of themes and dual visual identity. No matter whether you opt for the conventional layout with big, spacious keys, or for the stylish board-like one that will feel right at home on iOS 8, this keyboard delivers on the looks. The vista is complemented by fantastic touch response, nice customization options, and more emoji than you know how to deal with.
2. Control efficiency - Fleksy & Swype
It was, and it still is a heated duel between Fleksy and Swype for the medal in this category. If you like to tame your Android keyboard with gestures, Fleksy will have your fingers flexing intuitively in all directions, while dealing superbly with your typing. If gesture control isn't your thing, however, absolutely consider Swype. Swiping letters, pressing keys, voice commands - this is the one to have them all, and each works very smoothly. Of course, Swiftkey and Minuum are supremely efficient keyboards too - it's just that they are more focused on the typing itself, and less on how exactly you'll get to each letter.
3. Typing efficiency - Minuum
What can we say? When we saw how Minuum shrunk the big ole' keyboard to a tiny, cramped row of characters and handled our "I don't know which word I'm typing anymore!" writing like it was a walk in the park, our jaws dropped. Minuum doesn't literally read your mind, but it feels like it, because it did read the minds of many, many people in usability and typing tests. Like we said, Minuum makes other keyboards look archaic, and it's also the only one fit for a smart-watch. Being so efficient in typing while relying less on the user's fingers and more on prediction algorithms launched Minuum far in the stratosphere above its competitors. It doesn't have fancy looks, it has no swiping, and its novel approach won't suit everyone, but Minuum is next generation touch-screen typing.
4. Misc features - Fleksy
With its colorful badges and included Guinness World Record Challenge, punching in characters on your touch-screen with Fleksy literally becomes a game. The 'Invisible Keyboard' mode might be questionably practical, but it is "look at me typing ike this!" fun for the whole family. The resizing options, the extended social network integration, and the cool infographic of your typing achievements all add up to the most delightful package of misc functionality among the top four Android keyboards.