Review: SwiftKey 3 Beta, Best Android Keyboard Out There

I’ll admit it, I used to be a Blackberry user.  Blackberry kickstarted my smartphone obsession.  When I made the plunge and switched to Android, I sorely missed my physical keyboard.  I know I could have gone with a slider phone, that might have worked.  But we all know the rippin hardware is usually on the pure brick style phones.  I need a phone that’s going to keep me excited at least for a little while so I went with a non-slider Android phone.  The problem I ran into so much with a non-physical keyboard is always missing the space bar.  My typical miss is hitting the letter ‘b’ instead of a space.  Not only does it look stupid, it messes up predictability so the words in my sentences are all stuck together with a ‘b’ in between and everything is now misspelled.  So I did what we all have probably done at one time or another, searched for the right keyboard to fit my fancy.

Searching for the right keyboard for my clumsy thumbs felt a lot like searching for a church to go to.  There are a lot of people out there willing to give you their opinions, but I really needed to find one that felt right to me.  I’ve had lots of poor experiences with manufacturer stock keyboards; LG, Samsung, their stock keyboards stink.  I’m definitely not a Swype guy.  It just seems foreign to me.  I’m sure I could be fast if I took the time to use if for a while, but I have to sit there and plan out where my finger goes.  So in my quest, I tried out the original SwiftKey and liked it, but I always found myself going back to the stock gingerbread keyboard.  It was quick, didn’t lag, and predictability was decent.  I really liked that keyboard.  I tried using some ICS keyboards available on Google Play, but they seemed slow to me.  There’s nothing I hate more than a keyboard lagging and my fingers getting ahead of what’s happening on the phone.  Then I found SwiftKey 3…  and I haven’t missed a physical keyboard since.

Swiftkey 3 Beta

What’s awesome :

  • The speed. Especially with today’s update.  The speed is great on my Epic 4G Touch.  I’ve experienced zero lag and has improved with today’s update.
  • The Smart Space Technology.  With this keyboard, my issue with missing the space bar for the ‘b’ button has been solved.  For some sentances you don’t even need to use a space. This keyboard has a larger space bar than previous versions. That may be helping, but I know I still miss the space bar all the time and SwiftKey is there to make it right.  What’s even cooler about the Smart Space Technology, is that I don’t even have to spell the words correctly separated by the letter ‘b.’  It can figure that out too!  This feature isn’t perfect, but its pretty decent and sets this keyboard apart from any other.
  • It learns how you write.  This is similar to older versions, but prediction algorithms are continually being improved with this keyboard.  SwiftKey learns how you write in two ways.  When you first get the keyboard, you have the option of letting it search through your email, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, and SMS to learn how you write.  If you’re typing something you say a lot, you won’t have to type at all.  Swiftkey will predict your next word and all you need to do is select it from above the keyboard.  You can continue to update from the different sources as often as you like.  Secondly, SwiftKey learns the how you write as you’re writing.  You don’t have to let it read anything you previously wrote, it will learn as you go and will start predicting what you’ll write right away.  You may find it slightly creepy, I find it awesome.
  • The developers read your feedback.  This may or may not be usual for developers to do.  Obviously the good developers listen.  I’ve given feedback for this beta keyboard, and I feel like I’ve been listened to.  Huge plus from me.
  • Other Cool Things…  I like the options for long presses on the standard keyboard. You can swipe across the keyboard to delete the last entire word.  SwiftKey also has some pretty decent looking themes and things you can do to customize the keyboard to your liking.

The bad

  • It learns how you write?  To me, this isn’t a negative at all, but there may be situations where you can’t, or are uncomfortable with SwiftKey learning how you write.  So this is something to consider and be careful with.
  • Others might have a hard time using it if you hand them your phone.  I’ve handed my phone to people before and they’ve had a hard time using SwiftKey.  Maybe they were using a phrase I don’t use, or were trying to type a name, but SwiftKey was not predicting what they wanted to type.  SwiftKey may take a little getting used to.

Of course, it’s just an opinion, but I think SwiftKey 3 is the best Android keyboard out there right now. Currently, SwiftKey 3 is in its beta testing stage.  It’s free to anyone that wants to give it a shot.  It’s a perfect ploy by SwiftKey because I’m hooked.  I’m going to be forced to buy it when SwiftKey 3 hits prime time.  If you want to learn more about the app, and any improvements from today’s update, you can download it for your phone or tablet here.  Be sure to let us know your thoughts by commenting below.  Have you been using the new SwiftKey 3 Beta?  Do you love it as much as I do?  Do you disagree with everything I’ve said?  I want to know what you think…

Swiftkey 3 Beta

 

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