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The 7 best Android keyboards you can download to type faster and more efficiently

Dave Johnson   

The 7 best Android keyboards you can download to type faster and more efficiently
  • Android keyboards are plentiful as third-party downloads in the Google Play Store.
  • You can install numerous keyboards on your phone to get features like glide typing, spell check, and translation.
  • Here are seven of the best keyboard alternatives you can add to your Android phone.

One of the best reasons to get an Android phone has always been how customizable it is. You can replace almost any software on your phone, including the on-screen keyboard. And there's no shortage of good keyboards, packed with clever time-saving features, gestures, and input controls. Here are seven of the best Android keyboards you can install on your phone to work faster and more efficiently.

ai.type

The ai.type keyboard is a capable replacement for your phone's stock keyboard, equipped with seemingly everything under the sun. You get glide typing (where you keep your finger on the keyboard and glide from letter to letter to spell out words) along with traditional typing, word prediction, and auto-complete. There's built-in emoji art and GIFs, plus a convenient trackpad to quickly move the cursor anywhere you need it. In addition, it's one of the few keyboards with a number row across the top, like a real physical keyboard. ai.type also has a large theme market, where you can customize the keyboard with an enormous library of custom themes. You can buy it for $2.99, and there are additional in-app purchases, such as custom themes.

Gboard

If your Android phone didn't come with Google's Gboard keyboard preinstalled, you should definitely add it to your keyboard inventory. It's an excellent example of a simple keyboard done well. It has a minimal, polished look and supports glide typing along with a top row of quick-access buttons for emoji, GIFs, settings, voice recognition, and more. Gboard also has some innovative features, like built-in Google Translate that converts your text to a different language as you type. Gboard is free.

Fleksy

Fleksy is a traditional, somewhat minimalist keyboard. You don't get glide-based typing, though there's a handful of convenient swipe gestures (you can swipe right to add a space or left to delete a word, for example). To make up for the lack of swipe typing, it has excellent predictive text suggestions. You can also theme the keyboard, though most add-on themes cost extra, which is only natural since the keyboard is free.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a good choice if you already use the Grammarly online spelling and grammar checker browser plug-in. Grammarly has integrated its advice into a keyboard, with its guidance appearing in a row at the top of the keyboard – Grammarly checks words as you type, making spelling, grammar, punctuation, and synonym suggestions as you go. The keyboard's basic features are free, but like the Grammarly browser plug-in, you can upgrade to the premium version for additional fluency suggestions that can help you with clarity, tone, and formality.

Microsoft SwiftKey

SwiftKey is one of the most popular Android keyboards, and for good reason. Originally developed independently, it was purchased by Microsoft and remains an excellent option (not to mention free). You get a powerful glide keyboard with superb predictive typing. SwiftKey doesn't just have support for an enormous number of languages, but like Gboard, it can also do real-time translation between languages as you type. You can also make the keyboard float anywhere on the screen, lean to the side for one-handed typing, or split for two-thumb typing.

Minuum

There are few keyboards that look anything like Minuum, and using this keyboard is certainly an acquired taste. The name is a play on the word "minimum," because it packs a standard QWERTY keyboard down to mostly a single row of letters, laid out in a jangly, uneven way. To use the keyboard, you'll do a lot of gestures to magnify the part of the keyboard you're in so you can make a selection. The upside is that you get a lot of real estate back for your screen to display the document that's traditionally covered by the keyboard. The good news is that a two-finger tap instantly transforms the keyboard into a full-size QWERTY keyboard, and another tap shrinks it down again. The bad news is that the learning curve is steep, and it's particularly clumsy until you get the hang of it. After the 30-day trial, Minuum is $3.99 to purchase.

Typewise

Typewise eschews traditional square keys for hexagons. The larger targets, Typewise claims, are easier to hit and increase your accuracy. The honeycomb look of the keyboard isn't the only novel feature here; Typewise also relies on a handful of gestures to amp up your typing speed. Swipe up to capitalize a letter, tap and hold to trigger a special character, and swipe left to delete. There's no glide typing here — that wouldn't work well with the keyboard's gestures — but once you get used to the input methods, Typewise is pretty fast in its own way. You can try this keyboard for free, but after that it's $1.99 per month or a one-time lifetime fee of $24.99.

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