Auto-correct jokes are only funny if you’re looking at them on your monitor.
For the other side of the fence, however, the victims of this vile monster known as Autocorrect, it can be downright frustrating and embarrassing. Especially since autocorrect uses your commonly used words. If something gross or kinky comes out, even if you have no idea where it came from, be ready for “allegations.”
The part that enrages you is…it’s not your fault. Not the whole of it, anyway. It was your keyboard that showed that suggestion and automatically assumed that you want that word to replace what you were typing. That friggin’ keyboard.
Anyway, since Android offers the liberty of replacing your current ineffective keyboard that is prone to autocorrect mistakes, why not scour Google Play Store for a replacement keyboard? Here are the top five best onscreen Android keyboards.
When Swype was first introduced in 2009 as the default keyboard of Samsung’s now-defunct Omnia line-up, it was simply the leading keyboard on the market as it started and popularized the “swiping” gesture, thus the name, Swype. Swiping is basically a continuous tracing motion to letters of your desired word to type. For example, for “hello,” start swiping your thumb to “H” and then “E” and Hello shows up. Fast-forward a few years and the market has been swamped with competitors.
Although it lost its iconic status it is still a very capable keyboard with numerous personalization and customization options. The language support is also extensive. With just tracing or swiping, you can type up to 40 words a minute. There’s also Dragon Dictation with voice integration which is really fast and can remember proper nouns and also gesture-based commands. Handwriting recognition is also a very useful feature of Swype, although I guess this will be used primarily by Asian users.
Before, Swype was free but it just graduated out of “beta” phase recently and is now paid software. Now it’s priced at $0.99, a bargain if you’ll consider the features of this awesome keyboard.
SwiftKey Keyboard Pro
If Swype was Samsung’s keyboard of choice way back in 2009, these days, that “most favored” post is occupied by SwiftKey. This keyboard is, in many ways, an improvement over Skype since it lets the user “swipe” multiple words unlike Skype which can only process one word, one swipe at a time. This also offers extensive customizations which a user can enjoy for free for a month as a testing period. After that month, there is an option to purchase the keyboard app or just uninstall it.
Typing with SwiftKey is a breeze and there are times that I just type the first two letters of a word I have in mind and SwiftKey finishes it for me. This unnerving-at-first capability is derived from SwiftKey accessing your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and other accounts (if you let it) and learning your words from those services and social media networks.
SwiftKey Keyboard Pro is priced at $3.99; quite reasonable considering the functionality it gives and the customization options. I actually prefer using this keyboard compared to the other two keyboards in this list save for this major quibble: There’s a slight lag when I’m typing too fast. It feels like the keyboard can’t keep up with how fast I type and I’m not that fast. Besides, I’m using this on the best Android phone on the market now, the Samsung Galaxy S4. Lags are simply not acceptable especially for paid software.
A. I. Keyboard
The best part about A. I. Keyboard is it’s free. Yeah, that’s right people, this keyboard is free. Although “free” in Android generally means lacking in features compared to the “Pro” version, this application is a donate-ware. If you like it after using it, you can donate afterwards to keep the developer afloat and show appreciation for his effort.
Anyway, A. I. Keyboard is a really great keyboard. It offers, like the others, extensive customization options and themes. The letters are spacey enough and there’s tactile feedback to boot so you have that “click” whenever typing or if you want them, actual clicking sounds and not just soft vibrations.
It would’ve been perfect because it’s free and all but then, like SwiftKey, there’s also lag when typing on this keyboard. The lag becomes more noticeable when you’re composing a long message. There are even times when the keyboard crashes. A keyboard crashing on a Samsung Galaxy S4? That’s unheard of. If the lagging issue is fixed, then by all means, this keyboard has the potential to bring down the three others.
Will You Still Have Misspellings?
All in all, these four keyboards are at present the crème de la crème of Android keyboards. While they will never beat the precision and accuracy of physical and hardware keyboards like those of bygone Androids and BlackBerrys, they still offer the best possible experience for touch-typing. Onscreen keyboards can only go so far, you know.
If you have the money, install all of them and experiment with each extensively. Or if you’re a penny-pincher like yours truly, install their free versions and use their trial phases to determine, after the end of said trial period, which keyboard you could not live without. Or type without.
And for the record, autocorrect jokes are frickin’ funny. But not if the joke’s on me.