So, having been one of the lucky few to nab the SwiftKey 3 Beta before it’s loyal fans crashed its servers and taxed Amazon.com’s servers to the point of being inoperable, I’ve decided to give you a few of my first impressions.
I’ll start with a blanket statement: I love it.
Now for the reasons why. I can “typelikethis” and have it automatically correct it to “type like this”. In all honesty, SwiftKey has essentially launched themselves ahead of Google’s keyboard offering and really anyone else’s keyboard technologies. Do you remember the Blindtype youtube video that showcased someone pretty much messing up an entire word and the keyboard knowing what he meant? That’s what SwiftKey is doing now, only to an extreme. For instance SwiftKey is now also doing the binary word corrections like found in the latest default Android keyboard in Ice Cream Sandwich, but again, it’s taken it a step further. The keyboard can successfully take a string of three of four words with no spacing or with a mistype when you were reaching for the keyboard and turn it into three separate words with the auto correct still functioning and making sure each word came spelled out correctly.
Examples of SwiftKey 3’s impressive auto correct algorithms
If it seems like I’m gushing, it’s because I am. I know I said it before but it bares repeating: I love this keyboard.
I actually wasn’t a huge fan of SwiftKey when they started out. Sure I joined the VIP club and bought the app in the Play Store to support some amazing devs, but at the time SwiftKey just wasn’t my cup of tea. Over its iterations though my attitude has changed. With the latest official stable release in the market, SwiftKey X, I have not only kept it installed, but have used it by default for the last 4 months or so. And now I’m happy to say that with this iteration of SwiftKey, I’m not turning back to Swype, Perfect Keyboard, the default keyboard, or anything else.
A few things have changed too besides just what makes it tick, and that is its look and interfaxe. The keyboard has been redesigned (slightly) to be more in line with layout of the Android 4.0 keyboard and it makes typing much easier. Also by default the keyboard isn’t as tall as it used to be, and while this is also my personal opinion, it’s a plus. I like to see the screen when I’m typing thank you very much (take note HTC). And there are two new themes as well! Say hello to Cobalt and Holo and welcome back the rest of the theme gang as they show off their new looks!
That doesn’t mean that it’s all fine and dandy though. I do have a couple niggles, one which, thankfully, resorted itself but is still very much worth mentioning. First off, my personalization options aren’t entirely working. For those of you who haven’t used SwiftKey before, SwiftKey gives you the options to let it access your text messages, Facebook account, you Gmail account, your Twitter account, and even your blog if you have one to learn how you type so that it can even more accurately predict your words and auto correct them. These are really a godsend to me because, well, I use four of the options quite heavily and having an improved dictionary of my words and turns of phrase before I even start typing is downright useful! But the Gmail, and Twitter options aren’t working right now.
I’m fairly confident that it’s chalked up to either A) this being a beta not everything will work. Or B) The personalization options aren’t working because SwiftKey servers are taking a huge beating as people mob its site trying to download the latest and greatest.
I’m leaning towards B.
The other small problem I had is the one that quite conveniently and thankfully resolved itself was the matter of speed. It wasn’t registering my keyboard strokes like it should have been. I’m somewhat used to this as SwiftKey X and all its previous versions have always had the slightest bit of lag and I had already adjusted to it, but this was beyond noticeable. It got in the way. With in ten minutes though, it has sped up and been able to keep up as I type as fast as I possibly can with very few delays. It’s actually much much faster than SwiftKey ever has been on any version. So, when you download it and set it all up, do yourself a huge favor and give your phone a few minutes to settle in with SwiftKey before you give it a spin around the block.
With that said, my first impressions are highly positive. I’m already saving keystrokes!
I highly recommend this everyone out there, and if I had to give this a rating right now, it would easily be 5/5 Droids!