Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Keyboard Power Rankings

Fear not, good Droid users. After centuries of debate (well, months actually...), the "which onscreen keyboard is best?" question has finally been resolved and put to rest. I've taken six of the most common and favored keyboards and ranked them in 4 categories, followed by an overall score. Each ranking is on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being iphone-awful and 10 being the keyboard of God himself. Our categories of ranking include:

Text Speed - How fast you can enter text
Spelling Accuracy - How accurately text can be entered without vast spelling errors
Appearance - How aesthetically pleasing the keyboard looks
Intangibles - The random nice features that keep you coming back to the keyboard

#6 - Stock Droid Keyboard - 5.8
#5 - Ultra Keyboard - 7.2
#4 - Swift Key - 7.6
#3 - Smart Keyboard - 8.1
#2 - Better Keyboard - 8.3
#1 - SlideIT - 8.7

#6 Stock Droid Keyboard

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Text Speed - 6.0
Spelling Accuracy - 6.0
Appearance - 4.0
Intangibles - 7.0

The basic stock droid keyboard comes fully loaded with absolutely nothing. In terms of productivity, the buttons are close together and difficult to type quickly with. The appearance lacks anything which draws the curious eye and the intangible keeping this keyboard in our power rankings is it's voice entry option, allowing users to clearly speak into the phone and have their words translated to text. This keyboard does a good job of translating voice entry, but nothing beyond this feature makes this keyboard worth having.

#5 Ultra Keyboard

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Text Speed - 6.0
Spelling Accuracy - 8.0
Appearance - 4.9
Intangibles - 9.8

Ultra keyboard is almost as ugly as the stock keyboard but far more functional. The speed isn't great because the qwerty mode takes a lot of getting used to, but this is a two-sided dagger because spelling is not easy. We found ourselves stopping to re-enter letters. All in all, speed and spelling went hand-in-hand and helped to limit each other's viability in our ranking. This keyboard, however, boasts an impressive 9.8 intangible score due to its fully customizable option tabs. Voice entry is a breeze and settings are always easily accessible at the top of the keyboard.

#4 Swift Key

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Text Speed - 8.1
Spelling Accuracy - 7.5
Appearance - 5.0
Intangibles - 9.8

Swift key brings up the middle of the pack with it's mediocre speed and spelling. A simple, bland appearance and interface allows the user to safely type words and a pretty decent speed. This keyboard would essentially be ideal for the Droid user who is looking to make a commitment to a new keyboard after using only the stock board, due to its relatively basic yet more advanced features. Like the Ultra keyboard, intangibles keep this keyboard on our list with its impressive customizable options. Reducing vibration and key-press lengths allows for flexible changes to the texting speeds. While the keyboard appears to text slowly, with the right adjustments we could see this keyboard moving up the power rankings in the near future.

#3 - Smart Keyboard

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Text Speed - 9.0
Spelling Accuracy - 9.0
Appearance - 7.5
Intangibles - 7.0

Smart Keyboard is perhaps the most balanced keyboard in our power rankings with impressive speed and spelling controls. The keys are very nicely spaced allowing for little to no spelling errors during crunch-time texting. The appearance isn't horrible and would be better with the implementation of new skins and colors. This keyboard also allows for voice entry, though doesn't do so as nicely as the stock or ultra keyboard. This should, however, not deter you from using this keyboard as it comes in at #3 on our power rankings.

#2 - Better Keyboard

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Text Speed - 8.0
Spelling Accuracy - 8.5
Appearance - 9.5
Intangibles - 7.0

Like Smart Keyboard, Better Keyboard is balanced and easy to use in terms of entry speed and accuracy in spelling. The keys are nicely spaced but the most impressive feature of this keyboard is by far its sexy black appearance. It matches the phone beautifully and allows users to feel good haptic feedback while the keys vibrate during texting. The sound effects are also pretty nice. Voice entry is mediocre, but overall this keyboard is very solid.

#1 - SlideIT

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Text Speed - 9.8
Spelling Accuracy - 8.7
Appearance - 7.3
Intangibles - 9.1

SlideIT keyboard leads our power rankings with very impressive all around scores. Perhaps the most mind blowing aspect of this keyboard is the speed with which text can quickly and accurately be entered. The ability to type complex words without lifting your finger off of the touch screen makes texting fun. The appearance is do-able and the intangibles are flashy and complex. Voice entry is VERY good so when you don't feel like texting at the speed of light, have fun entering it via voice command. Definitely get this keyboard!


  1. We figured that having one sliding keyboard would be sufficient. I also found that when I switched between SlideIt and swype that swype seemed to lag a lot more for me than did slideit.

  2. How do these compare to HTC's keyboard?