When I moved from a generic smartphone to an Android phone I remember loving the option to use different keyboards to send out texts and emails. Even though I eventually settled with one, knowing that I could easily switch to another felt good. In this post we’re going to be looking at 5 of the best free keyboards for Android phones available as of November 2014.
#1. SwiftKey Keyboard + Emoji
SwiftKey has come a long way and has held the title of Android’s best selling keyboard for several years. Fortunately, now it’s available for free and has truly evolved into an intelligent (sometimes freakishly so) keyboard fit to be on a smartphone. The best feature of SwiftKey was it’s prediction feature, really taking the work out of typing by learning your style, use of words and sentence construction to suggest words you naturally type.
However, then came along the flow feature, inspired by Swype, which took the keyboard to a whole new level for me. To be honest, texting and emailing from my Android phone was never faster. Once you download and set it up, you can also go to the themes section to browse a good variety of different skins and color combinations which make it more interesting.
I would like to point out some issues however, such as the keyboard randomly resetting its dictionary. Fortunately, there is a cloud storage option which allows you to sync your keyboard with your account to restore your language data and use it across all your Android devices. I’ve also experienced freezes, slow loading and lagging issues, but overall the keyboard is truly superb and a must if you haven’t tried it as yet.
#2. Swype Keyboard Free
When SwiftKey didn’t have the flow feature, Swype was my keyboard of choice, and it was pretty darn good at its job (it still is). While the full version is paid, this free version works for 30 days and gives you enough time to decide whether you wish to use SwiftKey or get the paid version.
In my experience, predictions are equally accurate on both, but Swype does appear more stable in terms of performance, with less crashes and faster loading, especially on devices with less RAM.
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Other than this, there are several other features which are matched by SwiftKey as well, so in the end it all comes down to personal preference and performance.
#3. GO Keyboard – Emoji, Emoticons
If you’re looking for a feature-packed free keyboard with tons of options, great themes and emoji support, Go Keyboard is not a bad bet. There are a lot of different layout formats you can use as well, and in my own experience I didn’t find many issues. There were a lot of themes (not all of them looked great though) and typing with it was also quite fast. However, prediction for me wasn’t as accurate as Swype or SwiftKey, but that may vary from user to user – definitely worth a shot in any case.
Update: Go Keyboard is available on the Play Store now, use the link below to download it.
#4. SlideIT free Keyboard
SlideIT has also been around for quite some time now, and is definitely one of the best out there. However, it doesn’t quite match the prediction accuracy of Swype or SwiftKey. Its visuals may also put you off, but it did have the swipe to type feature before SwiftKey. Theme choices are fair and you may experience some lag in loading times, but in all fairness, it deserves a try if you can do without Emojis.
#5. Minuum Keyboard Free
When I first read about Minuum it was a concept claimed to revolutionize smartphone typing – and while it didn’t quite do that, it is still a worthy keyboard in its own right. Taking a unique approach, the Minuum keyboard changes the layout of traditional keyboards in order to save screen space. It does take some getting used to, but people with smaller phones (less than 4 inches of screen size) should definitely try it. This free version lets you try it out for 30 days, after which you will need to purchase the full version to continue.
There are other keyboard apps but these are the 5 best free keyboards for Android as of 2014. I will be compiling a list of the best paid keyboards in the near future as well, and if you have any suggestions or feedback, I’d love to read your comments below.
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Featured image courtesy lifehacker