Note 4 Roadtrip: The Tricks Of Typing

Note 4 Roadtrip: The Tricks Of Typing

On a basic level, I type for a living. I type stories and edit other people’s stories and type emails and type interview notes and type proposals and reports and tweets. And all this week I am doing that without an actual physical keyboard, with the Note 4So what works well and what still needs work?

I noted (ahem) earlier in the week that I was using

voice recognition to deal with my daily novel-writing activities. That works well for raw text, but for my day-to-day tasks I need a higher level of accuracy. Fixing capitalisation and punctuation feels like it takes longer than typing with the on-screen keyboard. (I’ll be fixing the novel with a regular keyboard next week, so that’s not a concern.)

I don’t have an allegiance to a particular Android keyboard, so for the moment I’m sticking with the default Samsung one. This has a Swype-style approach where you drag your finger from letter to letter, and seems to work pretty well most of the time. While I seem to miss spaces quite often, spell check can usually fix that with a single tap.

One useful option is the ability to set up common strings of characters as “hot keys” which you access by long-pressing the number keys. Very handy for automatically adding HTML code to stories.

Let’s be clear: I would type much faster on a conventional keyboard. But I’m not so slow that I feel as if work is impossible — and I do write more in my job than most people.

The biggest annoyance is trying to position the cursor by tapping on the screen. I have fairly small fingers but I rarely get it right first try, and then Android assumes my second attempt means I want to bring up a Paste dialog. I’ll have to check the settings to see if that can be tweaked.

I’m spending the day on the Gold Coast, which is a welcome escape from Brisbane’s G20 posturing. To leave my hotel this morning, a surly security guard had to remove a padlock from a chain-link fence surrounding the entire building. The diet had also been fitted with an airport security scanner. Not the most welcoming memory to depart on, Novotel.

Tomorrow I head to Melbourne for multiple meetings. My big worry? That I won’t fit in my 10,000 steps and my smartwatch will nag me mercilessly. Time will tell.

Lifehacker’s Note 4 Roadtrip series is sponsored by Samsung.


  • How about writing with the pen instead of the keyboard, Angus?

    P.S. “The diet had been fitted…” ?

  • Two problems with my Note 2 keyboard:
    1. Swyping is great except it is useless when using the phone one-handed. My thumb cannot reach over to complete the swype
    2. It seems my phone’s dictionary is somewhat incomplete, unable to recognise some common English words and instead changing them to something completely different. Maybe it is just my Kogan import.

  • The biggest annoyance is trying to position the cursor by tapping on the screen. I have fairly small fingers but I rarely get it right first try…

    Surely this is easily solved by using the included stylus to position the cursor, rather than your finger?

    • Stylus experimentation is on the list – but you can’t really use the stylus and a finger at the same time.

  • Are you going to try the Passport to see if can get back to a physical keyboard or are BlackBerry too far gone for you?

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