15 Awesome Keyboards for Android

Android has thousands of brilliant apps for all sorts of different uses, from apps to find where you parked your car, to apps for your personal trainers. One set of apps that many people over look though, is possibly the most used application on their phone: their keyboard.

While many of the different keyboards are similar, an app used as much as this needs to be suited as much as possible to your typing style. Finding the best keyboard could save you a lot of time, as well as embarrassing errors in your text!

How to change your keyboard

To change your keyboard after installing a new one, go to settings > Language and Keyboard, and then check your desired keyboard to enable it to be used.

Language and keyboard

Once you have any desired keyboards selected, you can then choose it as your default keyboard for input, you can also choose what keyboard to use whenever you’re writing by pressing and holding your finger on the text box for a few seconds.

Now that you know how to switch keyboards, read on to find out which to try out…

8Pen

Without a doubt the most innovative keyboard app out for Android; instead of conventional keys, the app features a small wheel which is used by dragging your finger around the different segments to select each letter. 8Pen uses the notion that keyboards on a small mobile screen are well too small to comfortably type on. Being so innovative, 8Pen is hard to use, and will take a good amount of work to get up to speed with.

8pen

Price: free

8pen

8pen


MessagEase

Coined “the fastest keyboard for the Android,” MessagEase boasts keys 3.5 times larger than most regular Android QWERTY keyboards. It’s an interesting app which, quite like 8Pen, aims to make typing on a small screen easier by using swipes to select lesser used letters, while keeping the interface simpler than that of 8pen. The learning curve isn’t that steep, as the layout is very intuitive and it’s clear where they letters are. Its only a matter of getting used to MessagEase and building up speed with it.

To ease and speed up learning this new way to type, the developers created a game called MessagEase Game, which is free on the Android Market. While MessagEase looks weird when you first see it, as the developers say, you’ll soon appreciate the weird layout, as everything is laid out in such an intuitive way. Although it tries something new, MessagEase is pretty easy to get used to!

If you decide to try this app, the MessagEase Game is a great way to settle in to using this keyboard!

Exideas

Price: Free (in beta)

MessagEase

MessagEase

HexBoard Keyboard

This is stylish, using hexagon shaped keys and a layout designed for easy single finger typing. The change from the usual square shaped keys is interesting, but the change from the standard QWERTY layout hinders fast typing.

One point which may put people off is the lack of a dictionary or predictive text.

Ridiculousx

Price: Free

hexboard

Hexboard

Smart Keyboard

As this app’s name suggests, it’s a smarter keyboard than most others, boasting a high amount of advanced settings enabling you to tweak the keyboard to suit your exact way and preference of typing.

It uses a normal QWERTY layout, and gives you an amazing amount of different settings — including a smart dictionary, which learns the frequency of words you type to improve suggestions and will even add new words to your dictionary if you so wish.

Dexilog

Price: €1.99 (with free trial available)

SmartKeyboard

Smart Keyboard

SwiftKey

On first using SwiftKey it’s clear the amount of development that has gone into this app; the design is superb. The true magic of this keyboard is in its text prediction, whose accuracy improves at an incredible speed the more you use it. When you first run it, it scans your previously sent texts to get an idea of how you type, and from that point on it uses artificial intelligence to guess what words you are likely to be entering.

Despite using a normal QWERTY keyboard it’s quite easy to type on whether using one or two hands.

Swiftkey

Price: $1.99 – January offer (free trial available)

swiftkey

Swiftkey

Better Keyboard

Using a QWERTY layout this is a simple but easy to use keyboard. It also includes a compact layout which you can easily switch to by swiping to the right; swipe left to get back to the normal QWERTY layout.

Better Keyboard also allows you to download and use different fonts to use for your keyboard — some nice personalisation!

Better Android

Price: €2.24 (with a free version available)

better_keyboard

Better Keyboard

Gingerbread Keyboard

The keyboard to be shipped with stock Gingerbread (Android version 2.3), it’s a finely tweaked keyboard, honed to near perfection and efficiency – within the limits a normal QWERTY keyboard has on a small phone screen.

Price:  Free

Gingerbread

Gingerbread

Wifi Keyboard

Differs from the other keyboards mentioned in this post. Wifi Keyboard, as you’re probably guessing from the title, allows you to connect your phone to your PC through Wifi (there’s a USB option too) to let you use your computer’s keyboard to type on your handset. An interesting idea, which works quite well!

Wifikeyboard

Price: Free

wifi_keyboard

Wifi Keyboard

Flit Keyboard

Much like 8Pen and MessagEase, Flit Keyboard doesn’t use a conventional keyboard layout. Instead it has 8 main keys, each with up to 8 different characters which you can type by swiping in its direction from the centre of the key. It aims to help improve typing accuracy without relying on auto-correction, something some users will miss.

Flitkeyboard

Price: Lite version available

Flit Keyboard

Flit Keyboard

Tswipe-Pro

Has a mountain of different options available, which include Math Symbols, fast words, fast messages, setting up of emotions, different themes and (as the name suggests) swiping, which I found very easy to use. Tswipe also features a wifi keyboard much like the earlier Wifi Keyboard app!

Supports English and Thai.

Tswipe

Price: $3.99; free version available

Tswipe

Tswipe Pro

Dasher

Possibly the weirdest app you’ve ever tried to use, and even when you get used to it… it’s still weird! It’s a highly experimental interface, and though quite interesting, it’s not really cut out for daily use.

Dasher works by sliding your finger and aiming it at the next desired letter, for example in the below seenshot I’m just after writing “Hello” and I’m about to select the space (the square icon). Once I’ve scrolled right enough to select the space, I’ll then decide to choose the next letter. Dasher thinks I want an m, t or i the most – so they get the middle, priority spot. Its really something you have to try to userstand fully!

The Dasher Project

Price: Free

dasher

Dasher

Swype

Despite being in closed beta, Swype is a highly polished keyboard, with a great user interface and text predication. As the name Swype suggests you can swipe your finger across the screen as a method of typing — something which works quite well. You can also type normally if you so wish as Swype uses a standard QWERTY keyboard. Swype is also shipped on some phones, you could be lucky!

Swype

Price: In closed beta with limited numbers

swype

Swype

AnySoftKeyboard

AnySoftKeyboard uses a pretty standard QWERTY keyboard, though one which is well laid out for Android-sized screens. The shortcuts to emoticons, numbers and symbols are easy to use too.

SoftKeyboard

Price:

anysoftkeyboard

AnySoftKeyboard

HTC Keyboard (HTC IME)

Owners of HTC Androids love to boast of their superior HTC Sense and keyboard. Theres no need to be envious any longer as the great guys over at the XDA forums have built a port of the keyboard with a few of their own added tweaks.

XDA Developers

Price:  Free

Google Voice

Though not a keyboard as such, it is a surprisingly accurate way to input information into your phone! Google Voice allows you to use your voice as the input method; although it’s not always right it is getting better and is already at a usable level of quality.

Price: Free

google_voice

Google Voice

myTextSpeed

Not actually a keyboard, but a cool way to put them through their paces: myTextSpeed is a great app for tracking the speed of your typing. Giving results in WPM and CPM (words/characters per minute), it also shows your accuracy.

mydroidsoft

Price: Free (with a donate version without adverts €0.74)

mytextspeed

myTextSpeed

Conclusion

Whichever keyboard you decide to stick with depends on your style of writing and general preference. Many of the featured keyboards have free versions or trials which you can use so I recommend downloading whichever ones appealed to you the most in this post, and trying them all out.


  • dixhuit

    I switched to Gingerbread keyboard the other day. While it’s very good, it does seem to just switch back to the default keyboard now and again. Anybody else get this? Anybody know why it may be happening?

    Loving this site so far – keep up the good work!

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      I use Swype and I’ve found the same thing happening. I think it occurs whenever I restart my phone. Have you moved the Gingerbread keyboard app to the SD card?

      • Enrique

        I have a Samsung Galaxy S, and Swype shipped with it. And can’t move Swype keyboard to the SD card according to App2SD, Even restarting the phone, the keyboard still is Swype? So it may be moving the keyboard to the SD card, but I’m not sure..

      • dixhuit

        Yeah, I did move to SD. Maybe I’ll move it back for a bit and see what happens.

  • Tulli

    What does SlideIt have to do to get noticed — apart from being an excellent sliding keyboard app with wide language support?

  • Enrique

    I’m lucky; Swype shipped with my Samsung Galaxy S. And it’s great. I also tried Swift Key for a month or so, but I sticked with Swype. You can type really fast with it : D
    Also, as dixhuit, I love this site! It’s great, and I really like to check the articles here! Great work!

  • Connor Turnbull

    Advice: Please move the more tag further up on this post (before the first title preferably!)

  • Darren

    I just downloaded (and now purchased) SwiftKey! Thank you, this keyboard is amazing.

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      SwiftKey was my favourite for quite some time, too :)

  • carles

    Which of these keyboards are available in Castilian (Spanish) or more languages?
    thank you!

    • Enrique

      He probado Swype, y SwiftKey, esos dos sí llevan “módulo” del español

  • http://alexwhite.org Alex White

    Just downloaded the HTC hack for my Galaxy Tab. A bit better than the Samsung one, but it hasn’t ported over every feature that I get on my HTC Desire.

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  • http://www.weareomazing.com Dhruv Patel

    slideIT is way better keyboard then any mentioned here

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  • Kris Sebesta

    Thumb Keyboard is great for using two (or one) thumbs. Many layout / customization features. Check it out.

  • http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7357876/set-keyboard-coordination-how-to-set-the-keyboard-x-y-co-ordination PIraba

    Please help me for this question:
    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7357876/set-keyboard-coordination-how-to-set-the-keyboard-x-y-co-ordination.
    I have created own keyboard.Its size small. Now the problem is showing that keyboard in the left/right side of the EditText. How can i bring this keyboard view to there…

    Please help me

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Hey PIraba! I think you might want to check out our sister site Mobiletuts+ – they cover app development, while we cover… well, apps!

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  • Ciel

    i have a previous keyboard. its keys look like a smart keyboard but it is a touchpal. anyone who knows what is that keyboard?

    • Neil H.

      Touchpal keyboard is probably the best of the best of the keyboards. First I was using swipe. Then I found slide-it to be superior and more accurate so was using slide-it. Then I found Flex T9 which almost seemed to be the combination of slide-it and swiftkey all in one and was ecstatic. Finally, downloaded Touchpal and found Touchpal to be even better than Flex T9 due to more options. Hope this helps. (By the way, I had downloaded Touchpal and deleted it a couple of years ago as it was no where as good back then, so make sure you have the latest version).

  • http://www.aeronaves.org Aeronaves

    I Agree in excellent sliding keyboard app with wide language support? thanks!

  • john

    I am using “perfect keyboard” and I really like it.

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  • http://pakwing.com kamal ashraf

    i am using go keyboard and it also support classic keyboard layout.

  • http://www.mydatabydesign.com thomas woodlick

    Thanks for this stunning post. I like the most Gingerbread Keyboard from your list. I have an HTC explorer and I’m looking for this kind of keyboard.

  • iris

    You guys really should have added GO Keyboard to the list.

  • elo

    Hackers keyboard rox (especially with Connect Bot)

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  • Rafael

    hi, i have a question… i have a motorola xt316, that have a fisic qwerty keyboard, and i want to know where the microphon key is?, i mean, i want to write text by voice, but i dont know how?

  • bigfingers

    I have been using MessageEase for a couple of weeks now and I type faster with it than on my PC keyboard – something I though I could never do! Great product, would pay for it, BUT it’s free!

  • http://TY MOSTAF )) IRAN

    hi nice verry good
    thx

  • gws

    I have Dasher installed and it’s @#%*ing awesome. A bit heavy on the CPU though.

  • YESS

    YESSSSS! I’ve been looking for Danzeff’s OSK on Android which is exactly what Lit Keyboard is! Danzeff is the On-Screen keyboard that most PSP homebrews use now and it’s awesome!

  • Jon

    I hope someone can do this idea:

    Have half of the keyboard with BIG buttons, while the other half is VERY SMALL buttons – with a toggle control to reverse which side you want to be zoomed-into. For example: The left side “QWERT/ASDFG/ZXCV” is zoomed-in, while right side buttons are small “YUIOP/HJKL/NM..”).

  • jocordon

    Someone please help me.

    Some text, hyperlinks and email address information look overlay or superimposed.

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-I9300 with android 4.2.2

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