Apart from your Android phone's stock keyboard, there are dozens of alternatives to suit many different typing styles. But which to choose? We looked through all the options on Google Play in 2017 and narrowed it down to the 5 best.
Each of our picks offers a good combination of fast accurate typing, flexibility, easy editing, smart use of screen real estate and no ads or interruptions.
Let’s take a look at the best options!
While one of the newer entries to the keyboard selection, Chrooma blends advanced features with a beautiful design that is winning over users at a blistering pace. The keyboard attempts to match the colors of the app you’re using to create a Material Design inspired experience.
Whether you prefer to tap at the keys or swipe your way to sending, you’ll find the keyboard accurate and responsive. Language support is stellar with options increasing with each update. Multiple layouts make it easy to adapt the keyboard to different display sizes. The emoji selection is great. There’s also gestures to make editing text, deleting messages and launching Google Now simple.
While it’s free to download, there are in-app purchase to unlock additional features. However, even at the free level, it’s one of the most full featured keyboards available.
Fleksy has been a favorite Android keyboard replacement for some time. Its clean look and larger keys make it easy to hammer out messages without worrying about errors. Integrated GIF search makes it easy to add funny moments to any conversation as well. You’ll find the standard tap or swipe typing options as well as a variety of keyboard layouts to get things dialed in just how you want them.
The real power to Fleksy lies in its extensions. There’s options for creating keyboard shortcuts, launching apps from the keyboard and switching up the colors of the keyboard--including an invisible keyboard mode that works surprisingly well. Fleksy also offers a huge selection of pre-made themes to make your keyboard your own. If you’re looking to tweak every aspect of your keyboard, Fleksy is the one to beat.
Swype is the keyboard that introduced the world to sliding their finger around the screen to type. While many keyboards now offer this feature, Swype has managed to keep up with the competition and remains one of the most downloaded alternative keyboards on Google Play. There’s multiple keyboard layouts, a dedicated 10-key mode and support for more than 80 languages. You can use two languages at once without switching settings.
While many apps allow you to customize to your heart’s content, the best thing about Swype is that is just works and adapts as you use it. Word prediction is second to none, allowing you to hammer out entire sentences without touching the keys. Auto-predict will also include trending topics and popular phrases to ensure you’re not stuck creating new dictionary entries all the time. The keyboard’s voice recognition is powered by Dragon and works great, though not as fluidly as Google’s in-house offering.
While you won’t find GIF support or fancy app launchers, there are an endless array of shortcuts available using the Swype Key. Just tap and hold the key and swype to a letter to perform common tasks such as copying, pasting or searching. This makes the keyboard great for power users composing more than just texts.
SwiftKey combines visual flair with the power of cloud-based autocorrects and text prediction to create one of the top keyboard options on Google Play. Where most keyboards require extra taps to adjust text, SwiftKey will tweak your texts on the fly to avoid the hassle of going back through and editing. It offers both swipe and tap typing as well as traditional, one-handed and split key layouts to provide smooth typing on any device.
Where SwiftKey shines is when you connect it to your optional SwiftKey account. It can scan your emails, tweets and Facebook posts, adapting your vocabulary and typing style without the learning period involved with many app replacements. The prediction engine will even suggest emoji if you like to use them. With support for more than 100 languages, these features work anywhere in the world. For those looking for a visually appealing keyboard, the themes for SwiftKey are stunning. Better, still most of them are free!
All of your settings, dictionaries and prediction preferences are synched with your SwiftKey account. This means when you get a new phone or if you use more than one device, you’ll enjoy the same experience from the moment you install the app. Unfortunately, all of this power has resulted in a bit of bloat lately and performance shows with the occasional delays when launching the keyboard or pushing the phone.
Where other keyboard alternatives offer flexibility, Minuum takes things in a different direction with Mini Mode. You’ll find all the standard features of a good keyboard replacement--text prediction, auto-correct, language support and a variety of themes. There’s even gesture support and emoji prediction.
But tap the mini button and things get a little weird. Your keyboard instantly shrinks to a single row with a bar for text prediction options. What’s even weirder is that it works. Start tapping away, the text prediction figures out what you’re saying and off you go!
While the app isn’t quite in the running for editor’s pick due to its price tag, it offers a glimpse of what keyboards might look like in a few years. If you want to try it out, they offer a 30-day free trial on Google Play.
Overall, just Fleksy edges out the competition for this year’s round up. It’s modular design allows you to customize the keyboard just how you like it without slowing down the phone or taking up space with features you don’t want. Support for both GIFs and emoji provide alternative ways to express yourself. The multiple typing options and layouts ensures a great fit for any device or typing style. Not to mention, the app looks great as well. All of this for the unbeatable price of nothing!
Did we miss your favorite Android keyboard app? Have a question about the features or looking for something in a keyboard that we didn’t consider? We want to hear what you think! Drop a comment in the box below or get in touch on Facebook.
P.S. If you prefer to use voice dictation over typing, one of the easiest ways to improve the accuracy of any keyboard app is to use a good Bluetooth headset. We’ve scoured the reviews of the best options on the market so you don’t have to!
Need help installing your keyboard? Check out our guide, How To Install an Android Keyboard.