So, you've probably read the title and thought 'Oh, look, another Keyboard for Android, boring' but, you ought to stick around for this one. Why, you ask? Well, I've used every keyboard out there pretty much, from the newcomers to those that have been in the Play Store since days of Android old. In fact, I have a strange affinity with onscreen keyboards, most likely due to my loathing of physical keyboards but, I've always been a pretty quick typer on soft keyboards. When I left the iOS ship years ago the simple ability to be able to choose my keyboard was such a breath of fresh air and I went a little crazy. I tried keyboard from the then Android Market, keyboards ripped from other devices - like that from the Droid X back in the day but, none of these keyboards would stick with me, they were just prettier or something like that. What I've found in Adaptxt Keyboard is that keyboard that will stick with me. Read on to find out why, won't you?
Description: Adaptxt Keyboard focuses on providing the user relevant word predictions that draw from a dynamic dictionary that learns quickly what the user is likely to type. There are over 50 languages available for the keyboard and there are more add-ons regarding Industry specific language on top of that. Adaptxt also optimizes text input more than any other keyboard I've tried, with the strong, dynamic word suggestion and adaptable word correction it's almost as if the keyboard is reading your mind. Adaptxt call this "Next Word Prediction" and it certainly serves that purpose well, couple with the powerful Artificial Intelligence inside the app that learns and adapts to your typing habits its more than welcome to have and a time-saver to say the least. After a few days of use I began to feel like I was typing less, getting my messages written quicker with fewer mistakes.
Presentation: With Android itself making leaps and bounds in not only the user experience but also its look and feel we've become accustomed to seeing good-looking applications throughout the OS. Sometimes function can get in the way of form and make something look a little jarring. Adaptxt with their keyboard however clearly believe that function should not impede the look and feel here and it doesn't. The keyboard offers more in the way of function than the stock keyboard on Android but doesn't compromise the look to get this done. With other keyboards, access to custom characters and special word prediction can sometimes ruin the aesthetic, take Thumb Keyboard for example - a good keyboard for 7" tablets - it's got a whole lot of functionality in there but this ruins the look of the keyboard, there are numbers, special characters and accents all over the place. KeyPoint Technologies have described their keyboard as "clutter-free" and I'm inclined to agree with them, it complements Ice Cream Sandwich well, without becoming yet another "me too" keyboard. A welcome addition is the missed "Hide Keyboard" button, something that since my upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich some time ago I've found myself missing but with this, it's back. Call me old-fashioned but, I find having this function to be more intuitive than mashing the back button.
How It Works: Setting up the keyboard begins, by installing the app from the App Store now, don't worry if you see a whole host of add-ons etc surround the app, the keyboard does a fantastic job of installing these for you. Unlike some keyboards, Adaptxt installs an entry into your app drawer which is a link to Adaptxt's settings, this is useful because changing the settings for the stock Android keyboard requires having to go into your phone's settings. Being able to jump into the keyboard's setting so easily enables the user to have complete control of the keyboard. Once you've installed the app, it'll take you through the steps on how to get the keyboard up and running which, really couldn't be any easier, you can really tell the developers have thought this through and tailored everything down to ease of use. The settings will take you to a screen that will ask you what add-ons to install, you have to pick at least one as this will be the language or languages should you choose more than one, that the keyboard uses. Whilst you're there you can have a look at other add-ons you might find useful such as industry language packages that are available for Medical, Law, Business, Finance and IT industries meaning that there's a lot on offer here and these add-on language packs will be included in the keyboard's dynamic word prediction. Installing these add-ons is seamless and quick.
As you can see the app takes you through all of the steps needed to get the keyboard up and running with no hassle.
The app's setting menu - accessible from the app drawer - offers quick and easy tweaks to how you use the keyboard, offering fantastic flexibility.
Opinion: As I said in opening this review, I've used a lot of keyboards. While I wasn't really sold on any of them, including some of the bigger players this keyboard has replaced the stock keyboard on my phone for daily use. A lot of these after-market keyboards offer a lot of what is on offer here however, in my experience not a single one of them has put these features together in such a pleasing and seamless manner as KeyPoint Technologies with Adaptxt has. Keyboards such as the Swype keyboard offer a lot of functionality that is promised to shorten the time we spend typing but, in practice these added features oft get in our way and end up becoming more hindrance than help. Not once did I experience this with Adaptxt.
There's a learning curve, for sure, but that's true of anything that's outside of what we're used to and it's hardly a steep curve. Once you get accustomed to relying more on the keyboard's excellent 'next word prediction' then you'll certainly find yourself spending less and less time writing SMS messages or e-mails. If you're anything like me, spending time sending messages and e-mails back and forth between a number of people in near real-time can get frustrating at times, with this keyboard it cuts this time dramatically, the ability to learn from my typing habits and custom words is quite accurate. Continuous usage of the keyboard is a delight as it truly helps save keystrokes.
I've always loved to tweak Android and I get a little fussy when it comes to my homescreens and general look - currently sporting a Minecraft look, for those interested - when ICS hit, for me the messaging app took a big level up in terms of design, as well as the keyboard. Adaptxt doesn't get in the way of this, it complements it well - as I've said - and makes using all the communication avenues at your availability on Android to their fullest in a better way then others. Something that stands out is the Private Mode of the keyboard, this will give you complete peace of mind when in use. Private Mode, once enabled will exclude anything you type from the keyboard's learning and nothing will be recorded by the keyboard, excellent if you're dealing with sensitive content.
- Speed (5/5) - On my Nexus S, this performs a whole hell of a lot quicker than the stock keyboard and that goes for any ROM I've tried - I'm a flashaholic - this keyboard is fast.
- Features (5/5 - If there's one thing that Adaptxt does better than any of them then it's how it melds its many features together to make a fantastically coherent typing experience. There's even an accent trimmer to save you money if you're on a budget plan, awesome.
- Theme (4/5) - The keyboards default look is really nice, it's a little taller but that's hardly a problem on big screens. I'd like a few more theme choices but as it is this keyboard is one of the best looking out there, simply because it doesn't try too hard to be anything it's not.
- Overall (4/5) - For me to say that I'd choose this over the stock keyboard, which I have, then it must have something good going for it. It's the best keyboard I've used on an Android phone and one that I'd recommend to anyone who feels they spend too much time typing.
- There's a lot to love in this keyboard, it's hard to quantify it in a review, really, it's something that shines more and more the more you use it.
- The keyboard is seriously fast which means once you get over the small learning curve you'll become a lot faster at banging out those messages.
- Along with its speed Adaptxt also offers some serious accuracy as well, with its relevant, accurate word prediction that works flawlessly, unlike others, it's exceptionally easy to write the message you meant to without having to read it back.
- There's a great many options to tweak to just how you like to type as well.
- The keyboard allows you to create your own shortcuts with the Automatic Text Replacement feature, you can hide the special character bubble if you're not likely to use and, of course, the keyboard will learn from your social network usage as well.
- Part of me would want even more options but, then again, I'm not everybody and I'm sure the developers are adding more everyday.
- Finding special characters can be a little tricky at times but, this is more likely due to having to learn something new than anything else.
Conclusion: As I've had a number of run-ins with after-market keyboards for Android I'd normally go back to the stock keyboard, kicking and screaming. Adaptxt however, was a welcome breath of fresh air and something that I'm now using on my phone exclusively. The thing about most of these keyboards is that - in my experience - they either try too hard to change the rulebook or try too hard to be completely different. What we have here from KeyPoint Technologies is a keyboard that understands that people don't necessarily need the rule book changing or a keyboard to reinvent the wheel, they just want a little more help and this is exactly what's on offer here. We don't need a keyboard to be anything else other than a keyboard - we're no stranger to them by now - but what we do need sometimes is a little bit of a boost and some added pizzazz.
Out of all the keyboards that I've tried for Android I can honestly say this is the only one that has sat well with me, for good reason, too. The keys are easier to hit and the next word correction is incredibly powerful. I've only been using this for a week or so and I've already seen the keyboard adapt to what words I normally put after others and vice versa, imagine what it's going to be like after a couple of months.
This is one of the great joys of Android, don't like something? Change it. In this case it's change for the better, a keyboard that becomes truly yours the more you use it. Something designed to fit around you, not the other way round. A must have for those that text or e-mail a lot which, lets face it, by now you must be. So go ahead and install it, already!