With the release of iOS 8 a number of months ago, functionality for third party keyboards was added for your iPhones and iPads. Although I have nothing against the Apple keyboard (it works and is pretty receptive to “learning”), I decided to give SwiftKey a whirl. SwiftKey Keyboard + Emoji is a free app that lets you change your normal keyboard to its special keyboard by tapping the globe button, in much the same way that you would navigate to the emoji keyboard and international keyboards. One thing to mention before the full review commences: the new emojis that Apple has added with an update a little while back have not yet become integrated into the SwiftKey keyboard. Not a huge deal though.
SwiftKey was a particularly attractive keyboard option because it has the elusive swipe-to-type ability. By definition, swiping across a keyboard is almost always less accurate than tapping the letter you’re going for, so this process requires a lot of autocorrecting. It’s not any faster than typing either, until you actually become skilled and proficient. The autocorrecting on SwiftKey is not great. I mean, it’s alright, but not as advanced as Apple’s. This can become a nuisance, but have no fear, SwiftKey boasts of a really great learning ability, right? Well, it’s also not as good as Apple’s. The same can be said for work prediction.
The other really attractive feature of SwiftKey is that it allows you to change the look of your keyboard, and therefore change the personality of your device. Over the past several months, many new skins have been added. This would be cool, but it turns out that they actually expect you to pay for each new skin that you want. The only free ones are a white, black, and Christmas-themed (which was pretty awesome during the winter season). I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to drop dollar every time I’d like to flavor up my keyboard.
Lastly, SwiftKey still has a few nagging glitches and bugs that have not yet been worked out properly since the initial release of the app. For one, sometimes the keyboard doesn’t even pop up from the bottom of the screen, so you’ll just be staring at your text message for a while not able to respond. Also, there seems to be a problem with automatic scrolling in whatever it is that you’re typing. Not only will the page not automatically move downward as you type sometimes, but even worse is that many times the program doesn’t even recognize the keyboard is there so it thinks you’re able to view the cursor at the very bottom of your screen instead of the middle.
Overall, I would not recommend SwiftKey as a third party keyboard. The default keyboard is still one of the best options out there, and if you really want a different one, search elsewhere. 5/10.
-TheAppEmperor *typing* out