Sunday, June 02, 2013

Swiftkey Vs. Go Keyboard: A Review

The first thing I did when I got a new phone was change the keyboard. I don't like the default Android keyboard. It's very limited.

My needs for a keyboard are simple. I need a keyboard that....
  • Allows swiping for words.
  • Has a good predictive text
  • Is easy to use
  • Works fast
  • Is bug free

Now there are a couple of things that I didn't list as a need, which I really, REALLY want. I didn't list them because there isn't a keyboard on the planet that freaking does these minor things; that I know of anyway. My wishlist items are...
  • A keyboard that let's me customize it with - what I call - a macro button. I want a button that I can place my own text in and that will enter the text I want by selecting it. For that matter, a whole new button row would be ideal, but one button is the absolute minimum needed.
  • My email address in predictive text. I cannot tell you how freaking often I have to enter my email address and there isn't one single predictive text on the planet that has ever popped my email address up there. I don't have several email addresses. I have one. ONE!!! Why can't they figure that out?!
  • A .com/.net/.org/.gov button/prediction. Sure, some have .com but not all sites use .com.
Now there are basically 3 popular keyboards that people use. One is swipe, but swipe is only special in the swipe department, so I am not going to include it in my comparison. The other two are Swiftkey (which has a huge following) and Go Keyboard that is very similar.

I started out with Go Keyboard. I really liked it too because (sometimes) it includes the .com button and it has a keyboard minimize button. There is also an extensive emoji plugin as well. That's helpful at times and I imagine kids love it.

The main problem I have is that its predictive text isn't as accurate as I want it to be. In fact, it consistently selects words that make absolutely no sense at all. In addition to which, its outer keys are too close to the screen edges as well as other keys, so there are a ton of mistakes that require correcting. I spend more time using the back button to delete things than I do typing.

I decided to try out swiftkey and I was wowed by its predictive text. I had heard about it but I hear about a lot of things and then when I try it, it isn't all that. A great example is Instagram. I'm still not understanding the love behind Instagram, but that's another post. The primary thing is that I normally don't agree with everyone else.

Swiftkey however surprised me. In its settings you sign into all the things that you use for text such as Facebook, Twitter, your cell texting and so forth. It looks at what words, acronyms, etc., that you normally use and it inserts them as you write.

My son is a WOW player and texts his friends frequently about the game. As a test he wrote out a text message using the WOW acronyms he often uses and it nailed it each and every time.

Another thing I like is the keyboard layout. There is more space along the edges and Swiftkey even has an option to use a separated keyboard when you're typing in landscape mode. The end result is that their layout is truly amazing. 

That said, Swiftkey is still far from perfect. To begin with Swiftkey developers say that you can use a gesture to minimize the screen, but it doesn't work on my phone. None of their gestures do. Which brings me to my biggest irration...

This probably isn't fair to mention because I didn't have a need to contact Go Keyboard, but as far as I understand you're only allowed to seek Swiftkey support nine times total.

Granted, it would be a rare occasion that you would need to seek support for more than that. However, as a paid user I expect to get free near-instant support, like what Evernote offers its paid users. It's unlikely that I'll actually get any help at all on my problem, but we'll see (if you see no updates, then you'll know that I never heard from them). My support question is about the issue with gestures. I put in a request yesterday and we'll see how long it takes for them to get back with me, if ever.

Both are offered for free but I personally paid for Swiftkey because I liked it so much. Gestures aside, it really is great at knowing what I'm going to write and the keyboard layout is much more intuitive. For me, Swiftkey wins over Go Keyboard, even though both were fails on my wishlist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SwiftKey is only free for 30 day or something like that. I'm doing the trial now and will trial the Go Keyword next. So far the SwiftKey seems like the better one.

Also, the new keyboard that comes with Android 4.4.2 seems like a decent fallback option.