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5 Android keyboard apps for easier typing

JR Raphael | March 21, 2016
We help you find the best virtual keyboard for your personal typing style.

Flesky offers numerous themes and even comes with a custom theme creator that gives you full control over your keyboard's appearance. You can set your own photo as the keyboard's background if you're so inclined, or pick a context-sensitive theme that automatically changes to match the color scheme of whatever app you're using.

Fleksy's method of input does take a little getting used to: The keyboard is designed specifically for manual tapping, without any reliance on swiping and with only basic as-you-type word predictions (which, somewhat annoyingly, can be used only if you also accept suggestions for stickers and GIFs). The app utilizes aggressive correction to fix errors and has some clever gestures, like swiping up on the keyboard to cycle through auto-correct results and swiping leftward to erase the entire previous word.

All in all, it makes for a refreshing and power-packed new take on mobile text input.

Google Handwriting Input: The once-in-a-while writing method

Cost: Free
Who should use it: Anyone who wants to input text via handwriting -- using a stylus or just a finger -- some of the time

Want an easy way to input text by handwriting while still using another keyboard most of the time? Try Google's Handwriting Input keyboard.

The app does exactly what you'd expect: It gives you an open surface for scribbling on your screen and then translates whatever you write into regular text. It works with print and cursive (even my barely legible versions of both!) and can also recognize hand-drawn emoji. The system supports 87 languages, including some that might be tricky to handle with a more traditional tap-based input method.

You probably won't use Handwriting Input as your primary keyboard, but if writing on your screen appeals to you, it's a great way to have that option when you want it. Installing the app will actually place a small globe-like icon in the lower left corner of the regular Google Keyboard so you can toggle quickly between the two; with other keyboard apps, you'll need to use the system-level keyboard-switching command to jump back and forth.

Google Keyboard: The fuss-free minimalist option

Cost: Free
Who should use it: Anyone who wants a clean and simple keyboard that just works well, without any frills or extra features

Attention, those seeking something super-simple and free from fuss: Google's own aptly named Google Keyboard is probably the keyboard app for you.

Google Keyboard is essentially the stock system keyboard for Android -- but since Android is an open source operating system that's frequently modified by manufacturers, there's a good chance it didn't come as the default on your device. Thanks to Google's ongoing move to deconstruct Android, though, it's easy to download and install on any phone or tablet.


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