Once again, I'm here to compare two mature keyboard applications for Android but, this time there's a slight twist, both of these keyboards are optimised for tablets. Whilst there is a whole host of keyboard alternatives available for Android phones, some good and some bad, there isn't anywhere near as much variety on the tablet side of the water. Google did an okay job when they redesigned the keyboard for Honeycomb and then solidified this with Ice Cream Sandwich however, neither were perfect and they're still pretty clunky and at times, sluggish.
To this end, having the ability to choose a solid and mature replacement for a tablet is quite possibly more important than it is on the smartphone. For many of us, a tablet is our way of getting our e-mails under control, reviewing documents and browsing the web. As we become more and more social on the web, a tablet is a great way of using Google+, Twitter and Facebook to chat with our friends and share content. In order to all of these things, whether they be work or play, you're going to need a good keyboard. At the moment there a few options out there for tablets but, just like I did for smartphone keyboards here, I'm going to go through and compare two of the best, Adaptxt and SwiftKey to help you decide which is the one for you.
In order to keep things fair both keyboard apps will be tested on the same tablet, my HP Touchpad running CM9 which I use quite a bit for work and especially triaging e-mails. Alongside this I'm going to compare the two keyboards in the same tests as I did for the phone versions of the respective keyboards. Hopefully, this will make a level playing field and it'll be a clean fight. Read on to get into the nitty gritty of these two keyboards
General Typing Experience
If you own a tablet then you'll know that after a little time typing on a larger display can be considerably faster than it is on your smartphone. Being able to involve more fingers in the whole affair of typing makes it a lot more natural and gives you a smaller margin for error. As before, I've turned off auto-correction and automatic text replacement on both keyboards, I've done this because this is a test of how the keyboards themselves function in general use without any driver aids. I'm sure many of us would also rather get a feel for a keyboard before having it run in and automatically correct you. So, in order to make this a fair test, I'm going to type the known phrase "The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over the Lazy Dog" at a fair pace using both keyboards.
Below is the outcome of this from Adaptxt and as you can see I didn't make a single mistake, for which I patted myself on the back. The keyboard's layout is nice and wide so, using it like a physical keyboard is a lot easier to get used to.
Now, we have the results from SwiftKey 3 for Tablets and as the screenshot showed I only made one mistake, which isn't too bad I suppose. I typed this it my normal fast pace and there was also a little bit of lag when using this as well.
Word-Correction and Word-Suggestion
It's no secret that something all after market keyboards focus on is there word prediction technologies in order to make their keyboards seem like a better alternative to the stock keyboard. Both Adaptxt and SwiftKey 3 focus heavily on their next word technologies and it's certainly something that's going to help you when inputting heavy bodies of text, something more likely on a tablet than on your phone, right?
Both of these apps offer you the opportunity to sign in to a number of online social accounts to beef up the keyboard's dictionary and also learn your habits to get better and better over time.
So, for this test, I'm going to send a quick IM to a friend asking them how they are today, just like I did for the phone test. In order to make this a fair test I haven't signed in to any social accounts on either of the keyboards and I'm using GTalk so, you should get a feel of how well these keyboards perform out of the box without any tinkering. Let's see how they got shall we?
Below we can see how well Adaptxt got on, it fared pretty well, offering me "today" as a next word prediction. Of course, its worth noting here the two arrows at either side of the corrections bar, touching these will present you with further choices that learn as you type.
Just below is how SwiftKey got on in this test and, just like Adaptxt it offered "doing" as a prediction which would fit the bill but, I was looking for "How are you today?", a fairly common phrase one would have thought. Also, if you don't like the three corrections on offer then you're out of luck, there are no options to get any more, like there is with Adaptxt.
Settings and Tweakability
On to our third and final test and we reach the settings part of the comparison where I take a look at the options on offer from both keyboards and let you hear my thoughts. Both Adaptxt and SwifKey offer tablet optimised settings screens, just as they should and both of the applications did a good job of getting you set up after you install them.
In terms of tweakability, Adaptxt offers the user a whole host of options, from being able to change the layout of the keyboard regardless of orientation, an innovative "Extended Character Bubble" that can be optimised and even the option for Handwriting Recognition as well. As well as all of this is there's the add-on system that makes Adaptxt whatever you want it to be, with over 50+ languages and more industry-specific add-ons on top, Adaptxt is the keyboard for everything and anything.
As you can below the settings screen for Adaptxt is almost bursting with options at the fingertips of users, great for those that spend time making experiences their own.
SwiftKey, on the other hand, whilst it does come with a number of options for the user to go through and change a few things such as themes and typing styles it still offers little compared to Adaptxt's settings. For instance there's no method to add your own words to the keyboard's dictionary and whilst you can change the layout on the fly there's no dedicated control to it.
Overall, I think a lot of this comes down to preference. Both of the keyboards will get you typing very well however, Adaptxt gives you far more options and the word prediction is far more flexible in my usage. SwiftKey tends to try and fir the one size fits all gap and, it doesn't do all that good a job, with few settings it's hard to get SwiftKey just how you like it, whereas Adaptxt can be your keyboard thanks to its many settings. Also lacking in SwiftKey is the add-on system that makes Adaptxt a fantastic companion to all types of text input, having a keyboard with jargon for a number of fields like Medical, Law and IT makes working so much easier.
So, if you're looking to try out a new keyboard for your tablet then don't hesitate and go get it in the Play Store here.