It’s time for a good old-fashioned showdown, but instead of meeting in the middle of town at high noon, let’s sit tight right here and talk about keyboards. If you use any Android device, you use a digital keyboard almost every single day, so it makes sense that you’d want to use the best one available.
By default, the Google Keyboard does a great job for what it’s worth, but how does it compare to GO Keyboard and even Flash Keyboard? We’ve put them all to the test against each other, and came up with results that’ll either make you switch your keyboard today, or feel newfound confidence in your keyboard of choice.
Related: How to Change Your Android Keyboard
Let’s start with ratings.
Google Keyboard: 4 out of 5
Even though it’s the default keyboard for many Android devices, I’d still say it’s above average and does plenty right to make it a keyboard still worth using.
GO Keyboard: 4.2 out of 5
During testing, GO Keyboard was my key favorite initially, but it lost a few points with extended use as problems surfaced that I’ll get into later. None of the issues were deal breakers, but they eventually added up to a big problem.
Flash Keyboard: 4 out of 5
Overall, Flash Keyboard gets the same rating as Google Keyboard for me. I’ll get into why later, but it’s at the very least an above average keyboard that gets the job done well.
Google Play Ratings and Links:
Google Keyboard: 4 out of 5
GO Keyboard: 4.2 out of 5
Flash Keyboard: 4 out of 5
Best Keyboard Layout – Flash Keyboard
Even though the initial layout for each keyboard barely differs, Flash Keyboard makes some convenience changes that puts it on top.
Almost everything you need is on one screen, so you don’t normally need to change to a different one with a quick tap. When compared to Google Keyboard, I spend a lot of time switching between different screens of punctuation, and it’s the same situation with GO Keyboard, sometimes even more so!
If you don’t want to struggle with default layouts, Flash Keyboard is clearly the best in my opinion.
Best Input Methods – GO Keyboard and Google Keyboard
The input methods don’t differ much between these three keyboards, but GO Keyboard and Google Keyboard take the win because of one of Flash Keyboard’s major faults. As much as I tried, there isn’t a way to swipe for text input on Flash Keyboard, so you’re left to tap as your only option to type.
After getting so used to swiping to type, it’s tough to go back to just one way to type. Flash Keyboard still has suggestions on the top bar while you type, but that isn’t enough to give it a win, or even let it in on the tie here.
If you constantly swipe to type like I do, then it’s better to stick to Google Keyboard or GO Keyboard instead.
Best Emoji Selection – GO Keyboard
When it comes to sheer quantity, GO Keyboard is the clear winner by a mile. Flash Keyboard takes a far second, and then Google Keyboard comes in dead last with its default and lackluster looking selection.
Alongside standard, but stylized emoji, GO Keyboard features stickers and even text emoticons that I don’t usually see featured. The standard GO Keyboard doesn’t have gif support, but the Pro version does. Unfortunately, unless you want to pay, you’re forced to suffer through ads in the Pro version.
Flash Keyboard has gif support from the start and even features a wide collection of them to browse and select from. However, GO Keyboard still out ranges it with an enormous number of emoji to play with, and choose from.
Best Range of Options – GO Keyboard and Flash Keyboard
By options, I mean personalizing your experience with settings changes, which doesn’t include themes and backgrounds which I’ll be talking about in another section. With as many tweaks and spins you can put on your keyboard, GO Keyboard and Flash Keyboard take the win with their Settings menu.
The amount of personalization here spent on typing styles alone with both Android keyboards is massive. Being able to choose between how your keyboard deals with punctuation, spaces, suggestions, and auto correction is a must for any keyboard. Google Keyboard has its share of options, but they aren’t nearly as vast.
Something worth noting about both GO Keyboard and Flash Keyboard is half of the time you need to reset your phone to finalize settings. With GO Keyboard especially, I’ve noticed it’ll still behave like my settings haven’t changed before a reset. It’s a minor gripe, but it’s one worth mentioning.
Simplest and Easiest to Use – Google Keyboard
Sometimes you don’t want any extra bells and whistles, and just want a decent keyboard experience that doesn’t anything extra, or sneaks anything by you. I’m bringing this up because of both GO Keyboard, and Flash Keyboard have another program they automatically include you in.
On Flash Keyboard, another app is installed that only becomes obvious while charging. When your phone is charging, and you go through your lock screen, you’re suddenly interrupted with a battery screen. This is the new app that Flash Keyboard installs without your knowledge, but if you remove Flash Keyboard and any of its themes, it goes with it.
The battery app can be disabled if you enable Flash Keyboard through the app, instead of your settings. By enabling it through the app, it gives you a chance to turn off the battery app instead of having it on by default.
On GO Keyboard there are plenty of options that are locked behind a paywall, or additional downloads before you can use them. These don’t just take up a small amount of space either. There’s an alarming amount of stickers, gifs, and other accessories GO Keyboard is loaded down with that makes the whole experience confusing at first glance.
Google Keyboard, on the other hand, is a simple, and easy to use Android keyboard that does everything you want it to, and doesn’t have any extra fluff tied to the experience.
Best Personalization – Flash Keyboard
Flash Keyboard and GO Keyboard are fairly close when it comes to personalizing your keyboard, but I’m giving Flash Keyboard the edge since it’s all free. Flash Keyboard has skins that you can browse at any time by tapping the Flash key on your keyboard.
There’s a wide variety available, alongside some stickers and other personalization items that help make your Android keyboard experience a unique one. You will run into ads while browsing themes, but not while using your keyboard normally.
GO Keyboard still comes in as a close second for personalization, but I’m still putting it a step behind because of ease of access. GO Keyboard does have more options, but they’re harder to reach, and sometimes confusing to implement.
The Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Android Keyboard
Overall, I rated GO Keyboard the highest, but each Android keyboard I’ve mentioned has their individual strengths that play to different types of users.
GO Keyboard appeals to Android users looking for a personal experience that’s worth the cost. You get plenty of options, but unless you feel like being bombarded by ads, or paying a premium, they’re difficult to use. On its own, the keyboard is still nice without the added options, but removing the ads for a price makes it a near perfect experience.
The only real blemish on GO Keyboard’s report card is the sheer amount of stuff that it comes with gets overwhelming. Your keyboard ends up with at least six different tabs that all have their options and sub tabs; it’s a lot to keep up with, and almost a hassle.
Flash Keyboard offers a personal touch that’s second only to GO Keyboard but is much nicer on users that don’t want to pay. You’ll still find ads browsing Flash Keyboard’s theme and sticker shop, but don’t expect to see them anywhere else. This Android keyboard offers a wide variety of options to toggle and enable and doesn’t disappoint with its layout.
The only fault I can find with Flash Keyboard is its lack of swipe typing and the hidden battery app it installs. This is, unfortunately, a deal breaker for me since I’ve gotten so used to the feature, but it isn’t for other Android users. If you manage to get over this bump in the road, Flash Keyboard is a great choice.
Google Keyboard’s biggest strength is in its simplicity. It changes here and there with each Android update, but it’s always a simple and sturdy experience. I’ve had a few problems with Google Keyboard on Android 4.4, but ever since I updated my OS I’ve never had any issues. Well, except when it refuses to accept that I’m typing “alright” and not “airtight” that day.
This Android Keyboard’s only real weakness is hidden within its biggest strength. It’s a simple keyboard with simple features, so if you want anything else, you need to find it elsewhere.
In the end, even with my personal preferences, I think GO Keyboard is the best Android keyboard out of all three. I still use Google Keyboard even now, but I prefer a simple experience over a stunningly complex one. Even with that in mind, objectively, GO Keyboard is the best Android keyboard you can get.
Do you agree or disagree? Tell me how I’m right, or how I’m wrong in the comments below, or just recommend your favorite Android keyboard!