As much as we love Android, we don't always love the stock keyboard Android devices come equipped with. We've tested a lot of alternative keyboards for you, and you'd think that by now we'd call it a day—but no, because in the world of Android there's always something newer, bigger and better just waiting to be discovered.
Today we're reviewing Smart Keyboard PRO for you, a virtual, highly customisable keyboard and multi-language dictionary for your Android phone or tablet. Is it a worthy alternative to the stock keyboard?
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|Reviewed version||Latest version|
|4.6.1||Varies with device|
Features & Use
Tested on: Samsung Galaxy Tab
Smart Keyboard PRO is a virtual keyboard rather than an application per se, so in order to get it running go to your settings menu, hit '“Language and keyboard ' and select Smart Keyboard Pro from the options.
Customising options galore
Once you've done this you can check out the application's extensive settings options: anything trigger happy writer's fingers might desire can be found here.
Here's a brief sum up of the most important set-up options:
Go to general settings in order to alter the keyboard's general appearance. There are seven different skins to choose from: iPhone, Android, Gingerbread, Galaxy, HTC, Gray and White. You can also select a portrait mode, make changes to the keyboard's transparency in case you don't want it to be 100% opaque and select a colour for the recommended word in the suggestion bar (different shades or red, orange and grey are available; this last option can be found under 'Advanced Settings').
As far as none-design related settings go, there are a lot of configurable options ranging from multi-tap intervals to actually customising smileys.
The language settings are equally extensive: you can make a lot of choices tailored to whichever dictionary you happen to be using, including reversing words in the prediction bar when using Arabic or Hebrew alphabets. Even more language-contingent choices can be made under the text prediction option, which harbours a number of useful features including 'Compound suggestions' (especially relevant for German dictionary users). Smart Keyboard Pro can also learn new words and add them to your glossary, customise punctuation, and much more.
Further set-up options include gestures (e.g. swiping left to erase a word); voice input, sound and vibrate options, backup and restore options and an export/import option for the dictionary. Lastly, a bunch of advanced settings are available including disabling multi-touch and ignoring the hard keyboard. You can also switch between full, compact or T9 mode. In a nutshell: you can modify and configure keyboard features to your heart's content.
Let's move on to some of the other features. As mentioned, the application supports multi-touch, and it it does so well: the application is very responsive to multi-touch input. So go ahead, lightning fingers, give it your best shot!
Android 2.0 users will be happy to know that voice controlled typing is supported, relatively well.
The keyboard interface has a swiping option, an absolute must in these swipe-crazy times. You can use swiping gestures to write (d-Uh), toggle symbols, switch keyboards, access a dictionary and more. Again, there are tons of options for customising your swipe experience.
This is where the application really packs a punch: the number of language packages currently available is pretty impressive. Languages have to be installed separately, but they can be downloaded for free.
Smart Keyboard PRO is really one of the better virtual keyboard apps out there. It supports hard keyboards, it's efficient, it looks good and it runs smoothly. The auto-correct function could be better, but let's not split hairs.
Screen & Controls
Smart Keyboard PRO is certainly one of the nicer looking keyboards I've ever worked with—probably because I configured it to look exactly the way I wanted it to look.
Controls are very intuitive and there's a lot of guidance on how to make the most out of the application—from swipe tutorials to FAQs on the developers' website.
Speed & Stability
Impeccable—Smart Keyboard PRO is both solid and fluid.
Smart Keyboard PRO can be downloaded for EUR1,99 from the Android Market—a very fair price considering that this application is really a keyboard powerhouse. A trial version is also available.