Roundup – Absolutely Essential Android Keyboards

One of Android’s biggest draws used to be the ability to use whatever keyboard you wanted to your heart’s desire. While Apple may have caught in that field, Android still has a huge library of keyboards available to users. What follows is my personal list of favorite Android keyboards.

Spoiler Alert: #4 is my personal favorite.

If you’ve been on Android for more than a few days, the inclusion of Swiftkey on this list should be of no surprise to you. SwiftKey is perhaps the most well-known third-party keyboard on the market, and with good reason – in a world of autocorrect and predictive text input, SwiftKey is King. With a feature list as long as it is robust (Auto-Correct, Gesture Typing, Themes, Predictive Text, etc.), SwiftKey is a must-have for any Android-user.

Originally backed on Fundable on the tenants of blind texting, gesture navigation (manipulating text, entering spaces and adding punctuation via gestures), and a revolutionary, error-tolerant auto-correct algorithm, Fleksy is a unique and powerful texting platform. If you frequently find yourself typing while walking (or doing anything without looking at your phone), Fleksy is probably worth your time to try.

This minimal, tiny Keyboard originally raised over $85,000 on IndieGoGo back in 2013 with the goal of bringing space efficient texting to screens of any size. The biggest draw of this quirky keyboard is obviously it’s tiny, two-row design, in which letters are crammed together and an algorithm sorts out which word your taps form. A series of gestures allow for spaces, punctuation and deletions without tapping the screen. I found this keyboard to be delightfully innovative and a real life-saver on smaller screens, where display real-estate is crucial. Experience it for yourself.

If you try only one keyboard on this list for an extended period of time, it’s Clarity. This keyboard is a (now expired) Greenhouse project from SwiftKey, whose big feature is multi-word auto-correction. If you’ve ever typed “in” when you meant “on,” (or vice versa), most keyboards won’t notice because both are words. Clarity, however, notices the context in which you’ve typed a word and corrects it for you. For me, a clumsy tap-typer, this feature is an absolute must. This has been my daily driver keyboard, and I’ve never looked back. It’s basically a one-trick pony – no gesture typing, no themes, no predictive text – but that one trick really is amazing, in my experience. Trust me on this one. Try it.

Similar to the AOSP Keyboard, Google Keyboard offers a versatile, feature-filled – if slightly bland – typing experience that is proficient in almost every way, but excels in none. Keyboard offers Autocorrect, Emojis, Gesture Input, Custom Input Styles (QWERTZ, AZERTY), and a few themes consistent with Google’s aesthetic. In my personal experience with this keyboard, I’ve found all the features to be solid, but not particularly amazing in any way. It doesn’t have the text prediction of SwiftKey, the multi-word corrections of Clarity, the clever layout of Minuum or the error-tolerant nature of Fleksy, but does all of these things perfectly competently.

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