Easily one of the best features of iOS 8 is the ability for users to finally select third-party keyboards instead of Apple’s stock offering. When the software was introduced last fall, a number of new options became popular with users. In the latest edition of App Smackdown, we’re looking at two of the nicest – Fleksy and SwiftKey.
Fast and furious
Fleksy features a number of great customizable options.
Fleksy’s claim to fame, along with holding the Guinness World Record for the world’s fastest keyboard, is its natural typing gestures. And with a big update last month, it added integration with Riffsy’s fun keyboard featuring a huge number of GIFs that you message to friends and family. At least for me, I enjoy sending GIFs rather than emojis.
One fast keyboard.
The most impressive feature of Fleksy is the nice number of customizable options. There are more than 35 different themes. Some are free and others require an in-app purchase. Users can also take advantage of the customizable extensions on the keyboard. On the three free slots, you can do things like add a number row, type one-handed, and more.
I was probably least impressed with the gesture support. While, for example, swiping left anywhere on the keyboard is supposed to automatically delete a word, I had a hard time getting the gesture to work.
Go with the flow
With SwiftKey Flow, you can type by sliding your finger from letter to letter.
Arriving with iOS 8 back in September, SwiftKey also boasts a number of powerful features like autocorrect, support for an impressive number of languages, and next-word prediction technology. Its technology is even used by Professor Stephen Hawking to make communication easier. An update in April brought Typing Stats and a Tap Map that gives insight into how the keyboard makes its smart adjustments.
How Stephen Hawking uses SwiftKey technology.
My favorite feature is the SwiftKey Flow that enables typing by simply sliding your finger from letter to letter. When I began using the keyboard, I was skeptical that it would actually improve my typing. But it’s everything as advertised. It’s easy to learn, and in some situations, does allow me to type faster.
If you like a huge number of keyboard themes, then SwiftKey probably isn’t for you. Currently, along with the stock black theme, there are two others to select from.
And the winner is . . .
SwiftKey takes the slim victory on the heels of being free. But if you’re a power user who enjoys sending fun, animated GIFs and is looking for a more personalized keyboard layout, definitely consider Fleksy.
Both of today’s apps are really great replacements to the standard iOS 8 keyboard. SwiftKey takes the slim victory on the heels of being free. But if you’re a power user who enjoys sending fun, animated GIFs and is looking for a more personalized keyboard layout, definitely consider Fleksy.