When we don’t like an app (on our Androids) anymore, we usually download its alternative of our choice from the Play Store. Makes sense, right? However, that’s rarely the case with the keyboard. Very few people actually try other keyboard apps even if they dislike their preinstalled keyboard. Strangely, the keyboard is one of the apps that we use most frequently, yet it doesn't occur to us to look for better options.
But if you're keen on getting the right keyboard app, we have something for you. In this post, we will compare the three popular Android keyboard apps — SwiftKey, Gboard (Google's keyboard app) and Fleksy.
Let’s jump in right away.
There is a difference in the app size of the three apps. While Gboard and SwiftKey both weigh around 40-45MB, the Fleksy keyboard is half their size, weighing around 20-25MB.
Once upon a time, Google was wonderful at predicting and auto-correcting words. But that’s not the case anymore, at least for me. I recently switched to SwiftKey and gosh! The word prediction is mindblowing.
Not only does it predict the right words, but also you will see it suggesting right hashtags based on your past usage. Instagram users, you are gonna love this.
When it comes to Gboard and Fleksy though, Gboard seems to be ahead. If I had to rank them, SwiftKey would hold the top position followed by Gboard and finally Fleksy.
Are you the kind of person who loves to flaunt their colorful keyboard? If yes, you are going to love SwiftKey. The app offers a huge collection of free themes. Even more importantly, you can customize and create your own themes.
While Gboard also offers free themes, the collection is limited. There are no premium themes in Gboard, but, if you want you can create themes using your own images. In case of Fleksy, you get a limited number of free themes, while others are available at a nominal fee.
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Gestures and Swipe Typing
Whether it’s on the keyboard or any other app, gestures simplify our tasks. The SwiftKey keyboard supports two types of gestures. You can either swipe across the letters to type words (known as Flow input) or you can use gestures to delete words or hide the keyboard. There is a limitation though. If the former is enabled, the latter won’t work. You have to choose between the two.
However, that’s not the case with Gboard. You can do both the tasks simultaneously i.e. swipe across the letters to type words (glide typing) or delete words by swiping on the delete key.
Unfortunately, the Fleksy keyboard doesn’t support swipe typing but it does offer other gestures. For instance, you can delete the word by swiping left on the keyboard. Similarly, up and down swipe on the keyboard offers more actions.
Arrow Keys and Cursor controls
Apart from gestures, arrow keys and cursor control are quite helpful too while writing text. While Fleksy lacks arrow keys, the mini cursor control makes up for it. You can swipe on the editor (present in the top bar) to move left or right. You also get the options to select the text, copy and cut it.
On the other hand, while SwiftKey offers arrow keys, it misses out on the cursor control. The arrow keys are disabled by default and you need to enable them in the Settings. Once enabled, they will occupy the bottom row.
Are you an emoji person? If yes, you will love Gboard as it offers plentiful emojis, stickers, and GIFs in the app. More importantly, you can find them easily with the help of the search function. And for what it's worth, Gboard flaunts emoji prediction too. While writing, the suggested emoji will appear in the top row of the keyboard.
In case of the SwiftKey keyboard, while you get all the above emoji features, searching emojis is currently not part of it. But you can search for GIFs.
When it comes to Fleksy, it is the only app among the three that lets you set emoji skin tone. Similar to SwiftKey, you cannot perform emoji search but yes, you can look for stickers and GIFs. Furthermore, you can even find trending memes in this app.
And if you still like to use text emojis, all the three apps are happy to host them.
Clipboard and Shortcuts
People who type same sentences frequently find the clipboard and shortcut feature extremely helpful. Thankfully, SwiftKey offers both. You can even pin the items in the clipboard so that they are never deleted. When you create a shortcut in the clipboard, the phrase won’t be automatically inserted in the text box but will appear in the top bar. You then need to tap it to insert it.
Similarly, the shortcut feature is available in Gboard too. You can create shortcuts and then insert them at appropriate places. The feature is present in Gboard Settings > Dictionary. Sadly, while people have been asking for the clipboard in Gboard, Google is yet to fulfill our wish.
On the other hand, while Fleksy offers shortcuts as an extension, it doesn’t support clipboard.
Multiple Language Support
All the three apps support multiple languages. While in SwiftKey and Fleksy you need to swipe on the spacebar to change languages, in Gboard you have to hold the spacebar.
Interestingly, Gboard and SwiftKey allow multilingual typing and prediction as well. Meaning, you can type in multiple languages simultaneously without constantly switching between them.
Google Search and Extra Features
One of the cool features of Gboard is that you can perform Google search right from the keyboard itself. What’s more is that the results will also be shown on the keyboard only. Basically, everything happens without you leaving your current app.
The search in Fleksy isn’t limited to web search only but you can find and view YouTube videos and other content from other apps such as Spotify. Interestingly, the Fleksy app doesn't use Google search but goes with a private search engine called Qwant.
Moreover, the app supports various extensions such as shortcuts, editor etc. It even lets you change the keyboard sound from boring tap tap to other sounds like fire pops, heart pops etc.
If you are looking for these features in SwiftKey, we are sorry to say that it doesn’t support them.
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Who Leads the Race
SwiftKey and Gboard occupy the leading positions with Fleksy lagging behind them. If Google search is your top priority, nothing can beat Gboard. But when it comes to predictions and auto correct, SwiftKey is the winner.
While Fleksy also offers great auto correction, I personally prefer SwiftKey because of extra features like the clipboard available in the app.
Do let us know your favorite one in the comments below.