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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.

Most of the gestures revolve around a special "Swype key" in the keyboard's lower-left corner. Swipe from that key to "A," for instance, and you can quickly select all text in your current field. Swipe to "5" to pull up a number pad, to "Shift" to toggle the case of a word or from "M" to the space bar to enter a question mark.

The list goes on and on -- and that's part of the problem: Unless you're seriously dedicated to memorizing all the various commands, Swype's gestures can be pretty overwhelming. But if you don't mind taking the time to learn them all, they could be a useful way to speed up your input and save time (minus all the minutes devoted to memorization, of course).

Gestures aside, Swype has a fairly full set of features -- including next-word prediction, cross-device data sync and the ability to switch to more tablet-friendly layouts. It even has a built-in option for inputting text by writing with your finger on the screen.

Take note, though: The app forces you to use its own voice input system for dictation instead of the native Android voice input system (which most other third-party apps utilize). While it's roughly comparable to Android's system in accuracy, it lacks Android's ability to display words as you speak them -- instead, Swype waits until you're finished talking and then plops everything you said onto the screen at once.

Not being able to see the transcribed text as you go makes voice input rather difficult to use, something potential users will have to weigh out and consider.

 

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