With a lot of attention going to Swype’s new Guiness record, reviewing a keyboard alternative app — especially a paid one — may sound a bit like grandpa praising the good ole days of basketball before the 3-point line. Nonetheless, I was unsatisfied with the stock keyboard so I explored a number of options. Smart Keyboard Pro seemed like the best bet so I dove into my wallet and fetched the American equivalent of 2 euros.
This app substitutes for the stock Android keyboard, so it doesn’t open like a regular app. You have to enable it from the settings menu. If you set it to default you’ll notice it anywhere you would normally have a keyboard.
The first difference you’ll notice is that, similar to the Sense UI keyboard, the shifted buttons are visible on each key in a smaller font. A long press on the appropriate key will insert the number/symbol. Beyond that, Smart Keyboard Pro has more options than the New York Stock Exchange. Change the skin, the length of the vibration on a key press, the language, and a hoard of other features.
So why pay for this over the stock keyboard? First, its responsiveness to quick texting outpaces the stock keyboard. Give the free version a try if you don’t believe me. Second, options options options. Some have critiqued the spell check, but it even has additional options to improve spell checker results and word replacement. Third, Smart Keyboard Pro incorporates swiping to switch keyboards, toggle symbols or bring up the dictionary.
The last two benefits have conditions on them. For Droid users, it adds predictive input for the hard keyboard making it worth the hype of having a real keyboard (of course, this only matters for Droid users). The other benefit is voice input for all fields. If you’re already running 2.1 you’ve got this, but for those without 2.1 the mic button alone makes this worth the price.
- Responsiveness to multi-touch input
- Options galore
- Hard keyboard auto-correct (Droid only)
- Auto-correct could still be improved
Special Note: Requires Android 2.0 or higher
Smart Keyboard Pro is worth the investment for Droid owners wanting hard keyboard auto-correct or others wanting a voice input option while waiting for a 2.1 upgrade.
Phone used: Reviewed on a Droid running 2.0 (and again on 2.1)
Dev: Cyril Deguet
Note: This review was submitted by Chris Welter as part of our app review contest.