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Keyboards: SwiftKey, Swype, TouchPal

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by quickNir, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. quickNir

    quickNir Lurker
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    Most of the threads I found here and elsewhere on the net were a bit out of date, and I had some observations I don't see mentioned in most big reviews. Although in terms of what I "want" to like, Swype is probably the last on this list, I pretty much am forced to rate it highest. I don't really like the look of Swype, I really dislike the lack of a gesture to delete the last word, how it handles symbols, etc. But for practical purposes, it still is best.

    Swiftkey: it has two flaws which unfortunately compound. It only offers three suggestions, and there is no way to change this. And, if you have two languages on a latin keyboard there is no way to stop getting suggestions from the other language. This obviously exacerbates the first problem. If you have English and Spanish for example, a lot of the time one of your suggestion slots is wasted on a Spanish word when you are typing in English. Overall, this keyboard is frighteningly intelligent. I can mash out keys as fast as humanly possible and still have 95% + accuracy. The problem is that when you mess up a word, you probably won't see it for a couple of words. Then you have to go back and fix it, which is relatively slow. Because it only shows three suggestions, you can't quickly fix a whole word usually, but rather have to retype it.

    TouchPal: this keyboard is very well spoken of. It probably is the best in terms of handling special symbols and numbers (a quick flick up and down on the relevant key produces the symbol or number much faster than a long press), it has a delete word gesture, terrific. The swype detection algorithm is very good, probably a tiny bit worse than Swype. But it's actual word prediction is terrible. For example: if you type in "rsally" into TouchPal, it cannot figure out that you mean "really" despite being a very common word, and despite the fact that s is right beside e (Swype, swiftkey, and stock will all make this correction automatically). This keyboard is (sadly) completely worthless for tap typing whatsoever. Which is sad, because I really wanted to like it. (another negative for me, irrelevant for most people: works more poorly with unusual alphabets/languages than Swype. TouchPal reverses Hebrew predictions, and does not allow swyping for Hebrew).

    Swype: surprisingly, although it is "the" swiping keyboard, the latest version of swype allows for very good tap typing. Better than stock in fact. It's word prediction isn't bad either (nowhere near Swiftkey). Overall it lets you enter in text very quickly using two different methods. When a word is wrong, you can go back and tap it, and see a long list of alternate suggestions. While with full concentration and two hands, you can probably get better speeds with Swiftkey, it's much more work, and when you do make a mistake it takes longer to fix. Swype is by far the fastest one handed, and you can type very accurately and at a good speed without working too hard. Swype gets all the big things right, but many of the little things wrong. If you want to delete a word right after entering it, you can easily (just backspace), but if you need to delete two in a row there is no good way (unlike the above two keyboards). Getting symbols and numbers out just isn't as elegant as TouchPal's method.

    I might give AIkeyboard (or AItype? something like that) a shot as you can have more than 3 suggestions. However, it uses the cloud for data analysis; the idea of my typing data leaving my phone makes me nervous. Also there is SlideIT, but I haven't heard good things about it overall.

    Ultimately I want a keyboard that inputs text well through both swyping and tapping, and at the moment Swype definitely seems to provide the best experience over both.

    Am I missing something, or do people here have different experiences? I'd really like to hear about it. Especially TouchPal, I don't know how this keyboard is so highly rated when it seems to not be able to perform the most basic corrections.
     

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  2. Jon Davis

    Jon Davis Well-Known Member
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    I agree that it's predictions are 'frighteningly intelligent'.
    The learning curve is mostly accepting the fact that it knows what you're going to type before you do. (and taking advantage of that)
    How does it know?
    Beats me...
    Two languages? I can see how that could complicate things.
    I don't use texting contractions, because I don't need to. OMG!
    Jon
     
  3. Renko

    Renko Newbie
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  4. UncleMike

    UncleMike Android Expert
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    I just abandoned my Bionic on Verizon for a GSM Galaxy Nexus on Straight Talk. The roughest part of the transition so far has been the loss of built-in Swype. The Bionic included Swype 3.25. I really want to like TouchPal, primarily because if that's what I end up using, I can easily use it on my next device and avoid this whole keyboard transition mess. But, I can't stand TouchPal. I find I have to be much more deliberate when "swiping" with TouchPal if I'm to have any hope of it figuring out what word I wanted. And even after importing my contacts, it still doesn't get them right. Automatically using my contacts (without having to import, or re-import following changes) is something I took for granted with Swype

    I've since installed the Swype beta and am happy again, though I'm uncomfortable knowing that it will expire at some point, even though they claim updates will be available sooner than any expiration. For this reason, I plan on looking at SlideIT for myself.
     
  5. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    Hold the backspace key down on Swype, it will delete word by word continuously until you let go.
     
  6. Bren S.

    Bren S. Android Expert
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    I absolutely luv Swype. The 1st time I experienced it it definitely boggled my mind how it would not pick up on every letter in the path I "swyping" but after using it a day or so I was hooked and it is one of the 1st things I install on any phone I've had that doesn't come with it. :)
     
  7. Bren S.

    Bren S. Android Expert
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    Why would you think Swype would expire? They update all the time and there is no talk that I know of that indicates that will change.
     
  8. Bradden

    Bradden Well-Known Member
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    I have to agree with the OP. Swype is the best.

    I tried the Swiftkey beta.. and though it worked mostly I found that when I needed word predicition it wouldn't bring it up.. and there is no way to manually switch it on/off. For me it made the keyboard pointless.

    SlideIt.. had it.. just find swype is better.

    Touchpal.. same.. Swype is just better.
     
  9. UncleMike

    UncleMike Android Expert
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    From the Swype web site:
    Swype | Text Input for Screens

    This is my first experience with Swype beta, but I've been bitten by betas of other products expiring. As long as they release regular updates it shouldn't be a problem. If they've been good about that in the past then I see no reason for them to change.
     
  10. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    They've been releasing updates on time for the past 3-4yrs. :)
     
  11. Tre Lawrence

    Tre Lawrence Android Expert
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    Swype allowed me to overcome my innate fear of virtual keyboards.
     
  12. veccster

    veccster Android Enthusiast
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    I have tried them all as well and think the OP's analysis is perfect.

    I'll add one more thing. If I type a word that is "incorrect", both Swype and swiftkey will auto-correct. BUT, if I don't want that word auto-corrected, only in Swype can I go back just by tapping on it.

    In other words, if I type 'thst', it will auto correct to 'that'. But if I later realize I wanted 'thst', I can just tap on the word and the left-most suggestion will be 'thst'.

    In swiftkey, tapping on an auto-corrected word does nothing but move the cursor. So you need to retype the word and select it from the list of auto-corrections - which is annoying short (as mentioned above).

    That is a deal-breaker for me and Swype wins over them all.
     
  13. quickNir

    quickNir Lurker
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    As an update to the original thread, I tried both AItype and SlideIT and as far as I can tell they are both complete trash. Can't figure out why anybody would want to use either one. AItype has a lot of customizability, but it's basic algorithms are not as good as Swiftkey's. Or perhaps it needs longer to learn and doesn't scan/doesn't scan as efficiently? Anyhow, Aitype gave very poor performance. SlideIT wasn't so much horrible, as it is strictly inferior to both Swype and TouchPal.

    In conclusion, if you're new to this, try Swype, Touchpal, and Swiftkey. If you end up preferring swiftkey, i recommend still keeping a swipe keyboard because one handed they dominate. Personally I've ended up using Swype for everything and it's fantastic.
     
  14. Wernight

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    In SwiftKey the left suggestion is exactly what you typed without correction.
     
  15. Digital Controller

    Digital Controller The Real Bass Creator
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  16. gtbarry

    gtbarry Android Expert
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    I remember when I first downloaded Swype. I was laying in bed and testing it. I spent about 90 minutes swyping messages to friends to tell them to try it. I loved it from day one and I will never go back to tapping unless I am forced to.

    The recent swype debacle regarding issues with their update earlier this month has made me question their commitment. I know swype is beta. I know sype is free. But I also know that Nuance acquired them a year ago now and is a publically traded company and therefore should be concerned with their Brand Image. Quiet contemplation is not the way of professional corporations in the face of upset users.

    I have heard great things about tapping on Swift Key. I look forward to trying the Flow version with an eye towards probably purchasing it.

    Touchpal: Great free product. Just used to symbol placing on Swype. If I am going to use a free sliding keyboard - I will choose the one I am most used to. Otherwise, fantastic.

    SlideIT: Very good paid product. I liked a lot about it. But I insisted on and received a refund when they had an issue with their paid product not working with Google Voice. They informed me that the next update would fix the issue but had no idea when that would be. See my above about Swype as to why I stopped SlideIT after this occurred.
     
  17. gtbarry

    gtbarry Android Expert
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    Now we have Gesture Typing in 4.2.

    Crowded this swiping keyboard space is suddenly.

    Android - What's New
     
  18. cbreidxo

    cbreidxo Lurker
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    Out of the keyboards you mentioned, I like Swype the most - but I never used it as swype. I always just thought (like you) that it was better than the stock keyboard. However, I really like GO Keyboard, as you can change the look and it's actually very functional. Just my preference.
     
  19. tcat007

    tcat007 Android Expert
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    BeenusingSwypeforawhile,butdoesn'taddspacesonNexus7insomeapps(likethisforum). Have to peck when that happens. Hopefully an update will fix this! The recent update added several themes which makes it much nicer. Other problem I have with Swype is if you have an email you use a lot that starts with a number (like 2Jim@xxxxdotcom), if you have it in your dictionary and start typing 2Jim... prediction will pop up and will end up entering 22Jim... most of the time, very frustrating. Also, no "period" on the number keyboard real stupid. I still like Swype best. Hoping 4.2 is as good as Swype. Wish I could Swype on my pc.
     
  20. anniraff

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    Try Hackers Keyboard for a real look and feel keyboard experience.
     
  21. Methos1979

    Methos1979 Android Enthusiast
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    I have tried several keyboards as well and like many above find I like Swype the best. If Swype eventually incorporates Swiftkey's level of prediction that would be the best.

    There are a couple things about Swype that I find odd or wish was different: Ending a sentence I have to put in a period and then a space manually or the next word just runs into the previous. I would think that after a period it would automatically space and capitalize. Is this a setting I can change?

    The only other thing I wish I could do is make my vertical keyboard smaller. On my larger-screened phone (Razr HD Maxx) some of the letters are just a little far away on the far end from the thumb. It makes reaching them a little difficult and also makes for a less-than-secure grip on the phone, which I don't like. I was using two hands (hold phone with one, use middle finger to Swype with the other) but it's so nice to be able to Swype with one hand and thumb. Obviously this is probably not a Swype thing. Or is it?
     
  22. JacobSwype

    JacobSwype Lurker
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    In the Symbols layer you can long hold on the apostrophe to get a period, or you can use the Number layer (Swype key to T). Still though, I get it, could be clearer.

    The reason for this is that we expect some users would want to enter something like a website or email address, in which case a space and auto cap could be annoying. What you can do instead though is double tap the space bar to get a ". " (period and space) which should also give you an automatically capitalized letter.

    Hope that helps!
     
  23. kenzies_dad

    kenzies_dad Newbie
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    I'm in that same boat! Before swype I always had to have a slider, but honestly I prefer slideIT as it is much more responsive in my opinion. Although some of the crazy predictive mistypes are just that crazy, they make absolutely no sense.
     

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