Five Best Android Keyboards

The beauty of Android is that it's so customisable, and Android keyboards are no exception. There are keyboards available for every kind of typist, whether you prefer to hunt-and-peck, turn your phone sideways and use both thumbs, or swipe across the screen with one finger. This week we're highlighting five of the best Android keyboards, based on your nominations.

We've already shown you our favourite Android keyboards, and now it's time to check out yours. Here they are:

Hacker's Keyboard

The Hacker's Keyboard brings a full keyboard experience to your Android phone, complete with all of the keys you're probably missing from your current Android keyboard. We're not kidding — the Hacker's Keyboard has arrow keys, shift keys, an escape key, just as you'd get with a physical keyboard attached to a computer. We've mentioned it before, and many of you praised the Hacker's Keyboard for being completely open source, totally free, and available with tons of language and character packs that let you type in your own language on any Android device. If you use your device to connect to another system, either via remote desktop or SSH, those extra keys are especially handy.

Swype

Swype allows you to type words by drawing a connecting line between the letters of the word across your keyboard. Sure, you can hunt and peck individual keys, but the real beauty of Swype is that you can "swipe" your finger from key to key to draw words, making it easy and fast to type out entire sentences. Swype was recently acquired by Nuance, the makers of Dragon Dictation and Naturally Speaking, and the most recent Swype updates show that Nuance is bringing Dragon-powered speech to text to the app. That's a neat addition to the predictive typing that guesses the word as you type it, autocorrect, personal custom dictionaries, and other great features that make it innovative — and one of our favourite keyboards.

Smart Keyboard Pro

Smart Keyboard Pro will set you back around $2.50, but if you're a tap-typist, it'll change your typing experience. You can customise almost everything about the keyboard, including the spacing between keys, the text size on the keys, and the use of T-9 layouts. The keyboard also supports text prediction and lets you add your own shortcuts. Plus, you can add your own skins and language packs to Smart Keyboard Pro so you can customise it to your language and location.

SwiftKey

SwiftKey made waves for being one of the first Android keyboards to really embrace predictive text. Not only is SwiftKey able to correct your typing and guess what you meant to say even if you wind up typing gibberish, SwiftKey can scan your emails, Facebook posts, Twitter posts, SMS messages, and other content to learn how you type and who you regularly speak to. All of that knowledge goes into its incredible predictive text engine. Available for phones and tablets with custom keyboards for each, SwiftKey is regularly updated with great features, incredibly powerful, and well worth the money.

Android Stock Keyboard

Many of you pointed out that you didn't need a fancy alternative keyboard for your Android device. The stock keyboard, whether you're running Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich, works just fine for you. Sure, it doesn't have fancy predictive text or offline voice (although they're both coming in Android Jelly Bean), but it works well, supports basic speech-to-text, and gets the job done.

The honourable mention this week goes out to Go Keyboard, which many of you pointed out works very nicely with Go Launcher EX, one of our picks for the best Android launcher.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your favourite keyboard, even if it wasn't included in the list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Comments

    TouchPal > any other free keyboard. It's like Swiftkey and Swype combined. And it's shortcut system is awesome.

      ive been using swype since i first heard about it and was very excited to hear it finally added the swiftkey style learning dictionary but unfortunateley its very buggy beyond use atm, it is still in beta but it shouldnt be, imma give touchpal a go

        Swype is always in beta - it is never 'release' quality because 'release' is what they sell to the OEMs.

        I have found no issues and no bugs with the new Swype 'beta'

      +1 to Touchpal. I especially like the mode that combines two letters onto the same "key" as I'd rather more button presses with 100% accuracy - instead of multiple misses that become more frustrating at each failed attempt.
      Mind you, it may be time to re-engineer smart phone keyboards for single thumb input and predictive text. The QWERTY keyboard, while familiar, was always designed for two-handed touch typing.
      I had a chance to use the Google developed Japanese Android keyboard - and I found that it had an interesting approach to the "Roman" alphabet. It had fewer, but easier to press, keys - and some keys had to be tapped multiple times to get less commonly used letters. It had a bit of a learning curve, though (but so does QWERTY) - and it probably could be refined further with data collected over time about which letters are used more for SMS and emails from smart phones.

      Thank you so much for helping me discover this keyboard lol

      yes TouchPal is the best out there atm, especially if you need multiple languages.

    The keyboard on my old Desire (original) was a lot better than my iPhone 4S. Simple things made typing easier (like being able to scroll through and edit text). Looking forward to the W8 phones to come out and see what they have to offer.

    Swype = best. Even on tablet it is just pure awesome with the latest update (can use fullscreen or pop-out small keyboard). Was one of the first things I installed on my HTC One XL.

    I love Go Keyboard for the arrow keys and text selection tools

    @Will

    Thanks, just got touchpal. it's awesome.

    I'm pretty keen on SlideIt. I know its not free - but it's always served me well.

    Got my first Android phone 2 months ago (HTC One X) and using SwiftKey.... very very happy! I don't think I could go back to iOS now.

    A couple of less well known ones... Perfect Keyboard if you want something simple that does the job well. Magic Keyboard if you want a predictor. It's a beta at the moment but it's already my favourite so I'm expecting great things from it.

    TouchPal Keyboard is by far the best keyboard for Android. It does basically everything the above mentioned keyboards do, including provides swipe, predictive words, arrow keys, multiple key layouts, and themes.

    Check it out, and you won't be disappointed.

    Tried Go Keyboard few weeks ago and notice the keyboard uses a lot of CPU time... wasted my battery. Sony Xperia S, Gingerbread. Haven't tried again after ICS upgrade.

    I find the predictive text on swype to be utterly ridiculous. It goes so far off the mark and usually only gets close to the right word on the second last letter. Is there a way to set this up so it works better?

    Installed Smart Keyboard Trial but there's a warning that all key strokes including passwords etc may be collected. isn't this a worry?

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