What makes the best touch QWERTY keyboard? A deep analysis

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by MrX8503, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. MrX8503

    MrX8503 Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2010
    Now I'm not a professional reviewer, but I think I have some good insight to share. Also you may be wondering why this is in the EVO 4G forum, well the EVO is considered one of the best phones out there and I happen to own an EVO myself. I think the phone is great, but I'm usually critical of my devices and I like to take a look at the keyboard as I'm an avid texter.

    I see a lot of posts of people wondering why one keyboard is not as accurate as another phone. If you're a big texter and you're looking for a really good txt phone, I promise this is a good read.

    So what makes the best touch QWERTY keyboard? Well we would have to look at the criteria of what makes the best QWERTY keyboard:

    Keyboard layout
    Capacitive touch screen quality
    Accuracy of predictive text

    If a phone can do all of these things perfectly, you'll have a phone that will be a texting monster. Lets take a look at what I think is the most important criteria, keyboard layout.

    Portait Keyboard Layout

    Unfortunately, I think the EVO comes in last for keyboard layout. It has the largest screen, but it wastes most of it with its oversized cursor buttons. The cursor buttons need to be smaller for the other keys to breathe and need to be in a D-Pad layout. If the keyboard is top notch, we shouldn't be using the cursor keys so frequently to fix errors. Also why the keyboard takes up 2/3 of the screen confuses me. This is purely opinion, but I would rather have the "hide keyboard" button not take up space and move it in the upper right like the Nexus One and iPhone as a "Done" button. Lastly the EVO has the shortest "width wise" space bar. The space bar is used frequently and shouldn't be gimped like that.

    So that leaves the Nexus 1 and iPhone. If you look closely, the iPhone has the most space between keys. Most typing errors are from keys being so close together and hitting the wrong key. The EVO faces the same problem, although the keys are bigger, so are the keys that are right next to it. Bottom line, keys not only need to be bigger, they need more breathing room in between each other.

    Another close detail is the "q" and "p" key. The EVO has those keys farther away from the edge of the screen than the iPhone and Nexus 1. The edge of the screen is the least responsive area, so is this space a benefit or a negative?

    My take on it is that one of two things happen, you either hit the neighboring key, or the key doesn't register at all. If you hit the neighboring key, it takes much longer to edit, rather than to just try and hit the key again. So even though the edge is less responsive, its more beneficial to have the "q" and "p" key closer to the edge and away from its neighboring key.

    Portrait Keyboard layout goes to iPhone, 2nd Nexus1, 3rd EVO 4G

    Landscape Keyboard Layout
    Next is landscape mode. I thought this deserved to be addressed as it changes everything.

    Although the iPhone still has more space between the keys, I'm gonna have to give this landscape mode to the EVO. Unfortunately the space bar on the EVO is STILL the shortest out of the three. So why does landscape make such a big difference even though the keys on the EVO are tightly packed? Well the difference is that the keys are now squares, instead of thin rectangles. This increases accuracy a lot and pretty much negates the disadvantages of having narrow spaces in between the keys. Again HTC could of capitalized on more space for the general keys by not taking up so much space with the cursor keys.

    As for the Nexus1, the keys are slightly bigger than the iPhone, but are still really tightly packed, so I would say its a tie.

    Landscape mode goes to EVO, tie for iPhone and Nexus 1

    Capacitive Touch Screen Quality

    What good is a keyboard if the screen can't even read your touch actions? I know that the EVO is not tested in this, but we can still use this as a base of comparison.

    I really believe that the quality of the screen plays a very big role in the responsiveness of your touch actions. Nothing is more annoying then having your touch actions not being registered correctly or not at all.

    Right off the bat, the Nexus1 is out. So its now the iPhone and EVO 4G. From what I have read, but I can't seem to find the article. The EVO 4G uses a much higher quality capacitive touch screen compared to the Nexus1, most likely very close to the iPhone. So I'll say its a tie between the EVO and iPhone.

    Capacitive Touch Screen quality goes to, EVO 4G/iPhone tie, 2nd Nexus 1.

    With a multitouch keyboard you're able to type faster. All those fast typers out there can really appreciate a multitouch keyboard. I'm not sure if the Nexus1 supports this, but I don't think it does, so correct me if I'm wrong. So in this case you either have multitouch keyboard or you don't and the iPhone is the only one to have it.

    Multitouch goes to iPhone, tie for EVO 4G and Nexus1

    Accuracy of Predictive Text
    I don't have any experience in this on the Nexus1, but only on the EVO 4G and iPhone. So anyone can chime in if I'm incorrect on this matter. I would think the EVO and Nexus1 would be the same considering they're both Android devices.

    From my experience and watching many videos, it seems like the iPhone does a better job at correcting and predicting text input compared to the EVO.

    Predictive text goes to the iPhone, tie for EVO 4G/Nexus1

    So the last thing I think all the phones adds a little something to make texting easier that doesn't quite fit the criteria.

    The iPhone OS has a pretty neat magnifying glass where you can move the cursor. I found this extremely handy.

    The EVO 4G has the cursor buttons instead, which isn't as slick, but can prove to be more precise.

    Then finally both the EVO 4G and Nexus1 has the voice to text feature from Google, which is pretty dang accurate.

    MISC goes to the EVO 4G, tie for iPhone/Nexus1

    So what phone do you think has the best, most accurate touch QWERTY keyboard? Is it one of these three, or another phone out there. Also what do you think makes the best touch QWERTY keyboard phone? I appreciate those who took the time to read, took me a while to type up.


    phobic likes this.
  2. danielg

    danielg Active Member

    Nov 14, 2009
    I think the iphone is keyboard is great - but where the androids keyboard lack, it makes up for with the prediction and custom dictionary. So while you may not be able to type as fast keystroke for keystroke, the add ons speed things up quite a bit.

    Have you had a chance to with swype yet? You can get the APK off of XDA for the N1. It's insanely good. IMO, the swype keyboard is amazing. I can't get enough of it.
  3. MrX8503

    MrX8503 Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2010
    No I haven't gotten the chance to use swype, Ive only seen videos and it looks pretty nifty. I'm gonna have to try it out.
  4. milk242

    milk242 Member

    Jun 5, 2010
    Wow I like your analysis. You address one of my biggest peeves of the EVO, why does the portrait keyboard take up so much space? I wish I could find a keyboard replacement that mimicked the iPhone or maybe even the Nexus One.
  5. carmendiva

    carmendiva Well-Known Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    Intern, Model, Acting, Dancer
    New Yor
    I love the keyboard on my evo. It's amazing lol

    Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk
  6. newone757

    newone757 Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2010
  7. MrX8503

    MrX8503 Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2010
    Thanks for the compliment. I am also looking for other keyboard replacements. I'm still confused why the EVO takes up so much space, yet the keyboard layout is still crowded.

    That's pretty neat for getting that special look. Unfortunately it doesn't do much for increasing typing accuracy. Unless you can physically take keys out or change its layout.

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