Tap tap tap away with these great keyboards for your Android phones and tablets.
Keyboards are important. Really important. Without a good keyboard, communicating on a smartphone can go from heavenly bliss straight back to teeth-pulling torture. Keyboards are also one of the most important apps you select from a security standpoint, as they are by their very nature keyloggers. And while most users will never really need to worry about if their keyboard is stealing their emails and passwords as they type it in, it is something that you should keep in mind if you’re checking out a keyboard that you know absolutely nothing about.
There are a number of great keyboards out there, each with its own features, flaws, and followings. There are utterly simplistic keyboards and bleeding-edge keyboards with a longer list of features than some smartphones. Finding a keyboard that fits you and your lifestyle can be a bit daunting.
Whatever your style may be, these are the five best Android keyboard apps that we think stand above the rest, and may be worthy of composing your LOLs and WTFs.
If you had to ask us to pick one keyboard as our ultimate top choice for Android, SwiftKey would be it.
For years, SwiftKey soared above Google’s included keyboard, and it did — and still does — come preinstalled on many a phone and tablet. SwiftKey’s prediction methods, called the “fluency engine,” has made it the keyboard that many users and editors alike keep coming back to. SwiftKey has been pre-loaded on millions of devices over the years, including on flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S4.
While SwiftKey used to be a paid app, the keyboard itself went free in 2014, instead having its users pay for themes — such as their Frozen theme pack. SwiftKey has led the keyboard pack for a while, but it has plenty of competition to keep it on its toes.
Swype is to SwiftKey as GM is to Ford. Both are established, respected, feature-rich keyboards. Swype allows you to swipe out words or whole sentences, and Swype supports typing in two languages at once, for bilingual users. Swype offers a free version, but the full version is a dollar, and themes are an additional two dollars apiece. For those uninterested in having Elsa on they keyboard, Swype offers sports themes, including Major League Soccer themes.
Swype ties into Android’s Accessibility features for TalkBack and Explore By Touch, which make Swype a keyboard vision-impaired users can learn more easily on their own. Copy/Cut/Paste functions are embedded as gestures in Swype’s keyboard, too. Swype all the things!
While years ago, Google’s built-in android keyboard was considered a bit of a slouch, it’s built to compete today. The Google Keyboard is completely free, supports gesture typing for both individual words and entire sentences, a bounty of languages, a modest choice of themes, and it was the first keyboard to feature the full library of Kit Kat emoji last year. That may not sound like much, but after years of mediocre or downright dreadful emoji from the OEMs and keyboard manufacturers, Kit Kat system emoji was a welcome change and drew in quite a few users before third-party keyboards began to integrate it.
The Google Keyboard employs Google’s own text-to-speech engine for voice dictation, and the many advancements in voice recognition made for Google Now and Android Wear over the last few years have benefitted this keyboard greatly. Google’s keyboard still has a little ways to go on the text prediction, but it does learn from your typed data across Google’s apps and services.