Out of all the apps for Android, for some reason I get most excited about the keyboards. Why? It’s not because I enjoy typing that much, but because I still can’t get enough of the Swype style keyboards that predict what you are thinking and continue pushing the boundaries for how quickly people can type.
I honestly still miss the days of the Blackberry keyboards, since my fingers could fly on those things–even though the rest of the Blackberry phones were pretty awful. There are tons of keyboard apps that we’ve outlined in the past, but now it’s time to dive in deep to understand the best. It’s the Swype vs Swiftkey vs Fleksy Android App battle, and I’m going to help you understand which one is perfect for your phone or tablet.
A few of these keyboard apps include free and paid versions, but I would highly recommend starting with the free versions. I included the free version links below so you can test them out and see how they feel. After that, feel free to purchase the paid versions, but as you’ll read below, some of them don’t even offer that much, particularly the paid Fleksy version.
Swype: 4.3 out of 5 stars
Swiftkey: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Fleksy: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Google Play Ratings and Links:
Swype: 4.3 out of 5 stars
Swiftkey: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Fleksy: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Swype – The Crisp, Clean and Original Swype Keyboard
You can get a paid version for 99 cents with additional options like language downloads and themes. They sell themes as in-app purchases, so you can always update the way your keyboard looks. These themes are simple and to the point, just like the Swype interface. Getting started with the Swype keyboard app was actually quite a treat. It walks you through the three steps of setting up your keyboard and all of a sudden you are working with the Swype keyboard without having to do anything technical.
The main reason I enjoy this Swype keyboard so much is because it’s the original Swype keyboard. Do you remember how revolutionary the Swype technology was when it first came out? This app sticks to that technology and makes you feel comfortable.
A strong point for the Swype keyboard is the ability to change the size and placement of your keyboard. For example, you might want to try the split screen keyboard, where you can use just your thumbs on either side of the screen. You can also shrink the keyboard or move the entire thing to the left or right. When you start typing into the keyboard you’ll notice that it predicts your thoughts quite well. It taps into your emails and social content to see exactly what types of words you are more prone to use.
You can back up and sync with your other devices through the cloud, and the Swype app has some nice tutorials and support features that pop up right when you start playing around with the app. Like stated before, it’s the original Swype app, so you aren’t bloated down with anything unnecessary. The app runs smooth and the accuracy is impeccable. You also receive a free trial of the Dragon dictation software in case you want to talk instead of typing into your device.
The worst thing about Swype is that it reaches into your contacts, messages, accounts and locations. In short, out of all the keyboard apps, it is the least private. The app could quite possibly look at your email, figure out where you are located and even take your contacts. In my opinion there is no reason for a keyboard app to know all this information about its users, so I would assume that the company is selling the information. Obviously that isn’t verifiable, but I can always have my assumptions, based on the fact that they are running a simple keyboard software.
The Bottom Line
Swype gives everything the average user needs. Although it’s not exactly the best in terms of privacy, it’s definitely my favorite in terms of smoothness and accuracy. Since the app comes from the company that developed the original Swype technology it truly is top-notch for the person who just wants the Swype-style keyboard. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you would find with Swiftkey, but it’s for the more average person.
Swiftkey – The Keyboard With All the Features
With just a three-step process Swiftkey integrates with your email and social networks to enable better predictions when you type stuff in. You can change languages and themes, which is nice because everyone all over the world can use the app and customize it to look as they see fit. The predictions work nicely. They are definitely the best compared to the other two apps we are reviewing.
Since the Swiftkey app syncs with the cloud it reaches into your typing tendencies to understand exactly what words you like to use the most often. The app also searches for trending topics and words since people tend to use these words in their messages. If you look at the image below you’ll see that I chose a dark blue theme, but the app includes tons of crazy colors for you to choose from. It also brings up predictions within seconds, so you don’t have to sit there and wait for the app to figure out what you are trying to say.
Swiftkey offers a settings button right in the keyboard which allows you to change the size and location of your keyboard. You can also pick and change a theme within just a few clicks and go to the full settings page instead of staring at the keyboard the whole time.
In that settings page you have the opportunity to change the location of your keyboard. For example, I changed it to the split screen thumb setup, making it easier for thumb typers to send quick emails and text messages. I enjoyed the fact that all of these different settings took place instantaneously. I noticed in the other keyboard apps that when you chose a setting or tied to modify something it would be little laggy or flash a few times..
All of these keyboard apps have privacy issues, so it’s worth mentioning that Swiftkey can tap into your messages such as emails. It also has access to your accounts, so if you send emails through your phone then they might not be all that secure. Swiftkey has lots of features that might not be used by the average user. It might end up seeming overwhelming for those who just want to send a text.
The Bottom Line
Swiftkey is by far the best keyboard app on the market, at least in terms of features and support. It runs smoothly and you don’t have to worry about slow predictions or poor response times. If you are looking for the simplest keyboard on the market, this is not your keyboard. There are plenty of themes and settings to modify, so if you get confused easily by apps, it might be wise to stick with one of the other keyboard options. The quick settings tab makes Swiftkey unique, so you don’t have to exit out of the keyboard in order to change things. You can learn more about Swiftkey in our extensive review.
Fleksy – A Minimalistic Android Keyboard Choice
Fleksy is the one keyboard I had never heard of before starting this keyboard review. That said, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, since you can sign in with Google and tap into your social accounts to improve your predictions. The setup is quick and flawless, just like the other options. The starting tutorial is one of the areas that makes Fleksy stand out from the rest of the options, since it’s completely interactive, using a digital instructor who walks you through how to use the app, After the instructions it lets you try out the app yourself so that you know exactly how to use it.
So if you look at the screenshot below you can see that the app is trying to show me how to make a space without clicking the actual space bar.
The main reason I like Fleksy is because it decreases the amount of buttons by using gestures to do things like delete. For example, the app doesn’t even include a backspace button. Instead, you just swipe to the left and it starts deleting stuff for you. This requires a little learning, so some people might not like it, but if you take the time to learn this system it makes you more productive and versatile on your phone or tablet. Think about when you learn shortcuts on your computer. It takes a while to get used to them, but they always make you faster on the keyboard, instead of moving around on your mouse and trying to find the right tab.
The predictions in the Fleksy app weren’t popping up that quickly for me. This might have had something to do with my device, but it was clearly noticeable compared to the other apps. If you have any different experiences with Fleksy then just let me know in the comments section. The main reason I like these new keyboards is because they seem to read your mind. However, if the app is slower than my brain, then it really doesn’t serve me any purpose at all.
Another problem with the Fleksy keyboard is that you don’t receive the Swype technology, so if you like moving your finger along the keyboard to create words then you will not enjoy this app. For example, I can’t get enough of Swype technology, so this is a no go for me. Finally, Fleksy has some pretty rough privacy infringements. It’s not as bad as the Swype app, but it can reach into your contacts and find out who else is in your phone. It can also see your messages and accounts such as your email addresses. If you are a privacy freak you might want to avoid this keyboard. That said, all the other keyboards seem to tap into your personal information as well, so you don’t have much of a choice.
I’m also not certain what you get for the paid Fleksy version. They still sell you themes in that version, so what’s the point of paying? There isn’t anything else that is noticeably different in the paid version.
The Bottom Line
Fleksy is my least favorite of the keyboard apps, because it doesn’t offer Swype technology and it still takes your private information like the other more bloated apps. It’s a shame too, because this is the best looking app out of the lot, and it uses shortcuts nicely so that you can type and work more efficiently. So, who should use this keyboard app? I would recommend it to people who really can’t stand the Swype technojlogy. The support for this sapp is quite interactive and savvy. I’m hoping the app improves on its word predictions, because I wasn’t all that thrilled with how it guessed my words. It actually chose the right words, but it took painfully long for the suggestions to pop up.
Here’s the deal: If you are looking for tons of customization and lots of features for your keyboard then go with Swiftkey. If your can’t stand Swype technology, go with the Fleksy keyboard. The Swype app is best for those who want a simple and effective way to use that Swype technology. It’s a tried and true keyboard that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you would find on Swiftkey.
Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions about the Swype vs Swiftkey vs Fleksy Android app battle. If you have ay input about these apps share your thoughts with everyone.