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Best keyboard apps for Android: type faster and have more fun

Update: Fully refreshed list!

You might be happy with the stock Android keyboard - and for good reason, it's a solid and dependable option. That doesn't necessarily make it the most fun, easy to use or most productive option available. So we've put together a list of some of the best Android keyboards available for download today.

AndroidPIT Google keyboard
The Google keyboard is a solid option that didn't quite make this list. / © AndroidPIT

SwiftKey

You're probably familiar with, or at least know about, SwiftKey's Android keyboard app. A few months ago the company rebuilt the entire app to make it smarter with its predictions, as well as adding a couple of other neat features. The main bulk of what you should know though is that it offers predictions for key-by-key and swipe input and a variety of different sized keyboards to fit all needs, you can't freely resize it though, as you can on some.

There's also a good range of default themes you can apply to the keyboard, and if you want more there's a whole theme store where you can buy them individually or in packs. You can also choose to enable a separate number row across the top of the keyboard, or integrate the numbers into the top row of letters. SwiftKey is also a good option if you need to install a number of different languages too.

The thrust of its appeal, however, is in the accuracy of predictions, which will continue to improve as you use it. SwiftKey isn't the most exciting option on this list, but it's been around a long time now and provides a dependable, customizable option.

Add in stats for most frequently used words (and which categories they come from) you can see how much time you've saved by using SwiftKey, so there's enough to warrant checking it out if you haven't recently.

androidpit swiftkey 2016
SwiftKey's Android app has a whole range of neat features. / © AndroidPIT
SwiftKey Keyboard Install on Google Play

Microsoft Hub Keyboard (Preview)

Microsoft's Hub keyboard might seem like an odd option in this list, but it brings some options that will be of particular interest to users tied into Microsoft's software ecosystem via Office365. You may have also guessed that it focuses more on delivering productivity over fun. 

As such, if you sign in with your Office365 account you'll be able to search your documents or contacts directly from the keyboard. Even if you don't, the options shown above the otherwise mostly standard QWERTY include quick access to the clipboard, Web search (Bing, naturally) and thesaurus tools. Perhaps the best part is the ability to get live translations from one language to another as you type. 

However, while it's smart in some ways, it's pretty limited in others - primarily the ability to customize the layout or theme. You can switch to a dark theme but that's your only other option and there aren't any size controls for the keyboard at all, which could make it a poor option for larger phones.

It is free though.

androidpit microsoft hub
Microsoft's Hub keyboard is functional, but doesn't offer many customizable options. / © AndroidPIT
Hub Keyboard, Preview Install on Google Play

Swiftmoji

Yes, yes, it is the second keyboard from SwiftKey in this list but it also happens to be one of the better emoji keyboards available on Android. While it's not the same feature-laden affair the main app is, it does offer up predictive emoji based on the words (and context of the words) as you're typing, which comes in handy if you find yourself using them a lot. While it's not perfect, it's pretty good for a free app.

It doesn't offer access to the same level of customization as with SwiftKey, though you can still select from preset color schemes or enable a Dark Mode at night. You also get some of the same stats available in the main SwiftKey app, like taps saved, words swiped, etc.

As with the main app, for the best predictions you'll need to sign in, give it permission to access your messages and use it for a while.

androidpit swiftmoji
Swiftmoji offers up predictive emoji based on your input. / © AndroidPIT
Swiftmoji - Emoji Keyboard Install on Google Play

Minuum

Minuum is a little different to others in this list, as rather than employ a swiping method in conjuction with a predictive word engine that's really pretty smart. Its main way of doing this is by reducing the multi-line qwerty into just two lines of characters, which is where the smart predictions come in handy as this means you don't need to hit the right letters very often. 

You can, of course, use Minuum in its non-minimized mode too. Here you get the full keypad and numbers, but the main thrust of the keyboard is that small row of minimized keys. You can also access different emoji from both expanded and minimized keyboard modes, and switching between modes is as easy as dragging the keyboard up or down.

It's a potentially unnatural way to use a keyboard when you first try it but, providing you stick with it, you'll almost certainly get faster. Whether or not you'll be able to go back to a normal keyboard so efficiently is a different question. It does offer support for a range of languages and the ability to change the keyboard theme too, and there's an option that changes multiple times throughout the days automatically.

Now for the stinger: it's not free. Well, there's a free 30 day trial, but if you want to keep using all the features after that you'll need to pay $2.99. You should be able to work out if it's useful to you within 30 days though. 

androidpit minuum keyboard
Minuum's single row of keys is a novel approach to an Android keyboard, if you can get used to it. / © AndroidPIT
Minuum Keyboard Free + Emoji Install on Google Play

Chrooma

Chrooma is one of the lesser known keyboards in this list but it's definitely one of the most customizable. That said, you'll need to either pay for individual in-app purchases or opt for a one-off fee of $2.49 if you want to unlock all of the options. If you do choose to pay for those features or perhaps just want to sync your preferences between devices, you'll need to sign in with a Google account. 

Even if you don't pay for anything or sign in with your Google credentials, Chrooma is still fairly customizable in different ways and provides a wide feature set that makes it a good all-rounder. For example, you can input letters individually or use swipe input without needing to change any settings and the word predictions are fairly solid, though not always perfect. Plus it has all the staples like emoji support and a simple night mode.

Perhaps best though is the thought that's been put into accessing the options. Yes, you can go to the main Settings menu within the app, but you don't need to thanks to gesture support for common functions, like switching between one-handed mode with just a swipe of the keyboard in either direction or changing the keyboard color without switching themes.  

androidpit chrooma keyboard
Chrooma's keyboard has some well thought out options. / © AndroidPIT
Chrooma Keyboard - Emoji Install on Google Play

Tenor GIF Keyboard

Tenor GIF is probably one of the most fun keyboards in this list, and that's because (as the name implies) it's all about GIFs. That, however, doesn't make it unique. What does make it unique its ability to show them to you really quickly, which means no more waiting around to for GIFs to load only to find you need to tweak your search terms.

It's different to the others ones on the list as it doesn't provide its own keyboard as such. You use whichever one you prefer and Tenor GIF extends the functionality by allowing you to search and insert a GIF by typing the # and then a search term. It supports searching by GIF too. 

In this instance, as is my preference, I've used it alongside Swiftmoji. This means I've got access to GIFs, emoji, swipe or type input and a few customization options all within my keyboard setup. You might prefer a more productivity-focused approach though.

If you don't use Swiftmoji, you can still search by GIF by tapping the icon next to the trending tap in the Tenor GIF popup. 

tenorgif
Tenor GIF makes it simple to use GIFs anywhere. / © AndroidPIT
Tenor GIF Keyboard Install on Google Play

What's your favorite Android keyboard? Let us know in the comments below!

71 comments

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  • Fleksy is the best and fastest. I wonder why there is no mention of it.

  • Fleksy keyboard best one very fast and easy....

  • Samsung keyboard is great today. Secondary for me is SwiftKey

  • I am a former Symbian Belle user and spanish is my native tongue. In spanish, we use letters with diacritic marks (á, é, í, ó, ú, ü), and we also have the "ñ" which is a letter by itself. Besides that, we also use opening exclamation and question marks (¡, ¿).

    The "ñ" is handled fine by most keyboards with spanish layout, but the problem comes with the diacritic marks and the opening marks.

    In all these keyboards (Google included), in order to type a character such as "á", you need to long press "a", then wait for the popup to appear, and then choose between 10 different characters including "ã", "ä", "à", "å", "æ", "ā", "ą", which aren't used in spanish at all. Would it be too hard to show a dedicated dead key "´", so typing "´"+"a" would give us "á"? It worked great in Symbian and made the typing flow natural.

    When I start a sentence (after a period and a space), all letters in the keyboard turn to capitals, and that is a great time-saver. But the question mark key remains like "?" instead of "¿", and the same with the exclamation mark. Therefore, if I want to write a question, I have to press "?!☺" to make the keyboard layout change, then press "?", wait for the popup to appear, and finally choose "¿". Would it be too hard to include the "?" and "!" keys in the main layout and make them automagically change to "¿" and "¡" whenever a sentence begins? It also worked great in Symbian.

    Finally, whenever you want to edit what you're typing (for example, in the middle of a word) you have to either touch *exactly* that position or -if you are a Google keyboard user- you have to slide across the space bar to make the cursor move. Would it be too hard to add two arrows (left and right) to position the cursor? Guess what: it also worked great in Symbian.

    So, three simple things:
    1. Diacritical dead key(s).
    2. Smart question and exclamation marks.
    3. Cursor movement keys.

    I am sure that it will benefit non-english speakers in general.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.

    • Your best choice would be messagease... It is actualy the one I use for the exact same reason. Por los acentos en las vocales, la diéresis... Porque supuestamente pones el teclado en Español y salen mil caracteres que no pertenecen al idioma... Messagease está adelantado en ese aspecto

  • No one love the Swiftkey..Swype Dragon have the best predictions than any of the other Keyboards..

  • New Fancykey is very good as you can make one of your photos into a keyboard plus personalise other parts of the keyboard

  • I use a modified apk of the Xperia keyboard on my Nexus 6 and I love it. Very smart and intuitive. My second favorite is LG's keyboard.

  • I've tested: ai.type, SlideIT, Swiftkey, TouchPal among others, none was as good as the old Swype in my Symbian days. Swype in Android it's no free, so I just came back to the JellyBean keyboard, which I like over other keyboards in recents Android Versions.

  • Hello everyone!
    Intuition Apps has just released its new android keyboard app in Google Play Store. It is called “AYE Keyboard”. We are currently in a promotion period, so feel free to send us an email at the email address found in the Google Play page of the app, and we’ll send you a promo code to download “AYE Keyboard” for free.

  • Michele 1 month ago Link to comment

    Messagease is the best IMHO. Not many people knows it. Messagease is smart and keep in consideration that a smartphone keyboard cannot be an ordinary keyboard. It has a higher learning curve maybe, but no typing errors will occur, and is fast. And if you want to practice you can download a game to play with it.

  • I've tested many of those and i've sticked to RedrawKeyboard. I think it's the perfect combination between emojis, keyboard themes, fast and easy typing, stickers, language packs and other features. Plus it's the only one that offers real time translate and doc sync.

  • I prefer touchpal to other keyboards specially lg keyboard sucks ass.
    But if you like your own choice for different fonts and emojis. Then FANCYKEY KEYBOARD IS FOR YOU.

  • 1

    Personally I recommend EasyType keyboard although it is only for iPhones. It's a new keyboard and has amazing scrolling features I haven't seen in other keyboards.

  • Leandro 6 months ago Link to comment

    Typing fast and security are both concerns for me in the keyboard.

    I'm trying McAfee Secure Keyboard and so far so good.

    Simple but has some incognito features that prevent the keyboard to log anything and and a screen filter if you are typing something sensitive. Few languages support. Worth to try.

  • CJ Brown 7 months ago Link to comment

    Google Keyboard - I will stick with this keyboard app because it does the job (and has the emojis)

    TouchPal - I have noticed the teens using this keyboard app (especially if all you do is type in emojis vs typing words out (lol)

    Smart Keyboard - this used to be my favorite keyboard app (the Tron legacy theme was brilliant) 'til it went to shite

  • Why is Ginger keyboard app left off all the best keyboard lists? My favorite was Swype until the free trial period ended, I don't have a credit card so I couldn't pay the measly 99¢ that it cost. So I needed a fix, I tried Swiftkey but it typed to slow for me, and didn't offer enough customization options for my taste. So I tried Ginger keyboard app and am sold. It's free, great features, great customization options,etc. It's almost perfect.
    It learns from you, like Swiftkey, it's got all the features the other" best" apps have, including swipe typing, or gesture typing. It's by far better than any on this best of list, even better than my former favorite Swype, and the king, Swiftkey, IMO!

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