If there's one thing that Android has a lot of it's apps, and there are tons of apps in just about every single category the Play Store has listed, and this includes keyboard apps. If you use your phone for texting and other social media interaction then you may have a keyboard app that you prefer to use over the stock keyboard that comes installed on the phone from the manufacturer. There are loads of keyboard apps available, all of them offering one thing or another that may entice certain groups of users. One such keyboard app that we've been testing out is Kika Keyboard - Emoji, Emoticon, GIF because of its focus on the access to those types of attachments you can add into messages and other text entry fields. It offers up a handful of different features that appear to make for a robust keyboard replacement option, so let's take a closer look at what Kika Keyboard has to offer and see how it stacks up.
Before you can get started with using Kika Keyboard for all of your typing needs, you'll have to head to the Play Store and download Kika Keyboard and install it onto your device.
Like with every other keyboard application Kika Keyboard takes you through the setup screen from the very beginning so you can start using it right away. This is a nice thing to have as it makes it really simple to start using the new keyboard features before you leave the app after opening it for the first time. It does this by asking you to enable it, then as a second step you'll be requested to switch to Kika Keyboard.
After you switch to Kika Keyboard you'll be taken to the main home page of the app which shows a collection of different keyboard customization options.
There will be multiple other tabs you can search through for various adjustments you can make to the visual appearance of the keyboard, such as themes. Themes will be the second tab you see and it will be the first tab after the home tab. On this page the only thing you'll find are different skins you can put on your keyboard, which will include different visual styles for the keys, as well as a different color scheme and a different background for the keyboard. The themes will also be searchable or you can browse them by category name, like Tech which is the category you see in the second image above. You can also tap the floating action button on the main Themes page and this will allow you to manage your themes and see only the ones you have installed.
The third tab in the app will be the emoji tab, and as you can guess it's full of all the different emoji that the app gives you access to. More to the point, it's full of different emoji skins that you can install so that the emoji appear visually different to you when you're selecting them, with a total of 19 different emoji skins to choose from. There will also be a floating action button that if pressed will take you to a page that lets you manage your installed emoji skins. This helps to narrow down the list of all the skins to just the ones you liked, though it will also include the stock emoji styles.
The next tab will be the category tab. This is essentially a tab that is dedicated to helping you browse the keyboard themes by separating them into categories. You'll see individual category cards like Tech, Romantic, Animals etc. and tapping on them will display just the keyboard themes for that selected group. Above the cards will be a carousel of different colored circles you can swipe through. If you select one of these colors you'll be shown just the keyboard themes that feature that color.
In addition to the ability to change the theme of your keyboard you can also change the font of the keyboard that shows up with your theme. No matter what font you choose it will show up with the keyboard theme that you pick and mesh with it pretty well. This gives you a little room to customize things more by picking a font that you personally feel would best match the theme you pick.
Another thing you can modify with the Kika Keyboard app is the sound that's made for each key press. There are only a handful of different sounds that you can install but it's nice to have the option to change this out. There's a floating tab button on this tab too, and if pressed it will let you manage the different keyboard sounds you have installed.
One cool feature that Kika offered was the smart stickers, which will pop up in the top right corner of the keyboard interface after you type certain words. In the case with the image above, the sticker showing popped up after I typed up "LOL." You can also see a theme and font combination for the keyboard appearance that I had selected to test out how it looks.
If you look at the bottom of the app UI you will find two different navigation buttons. One is store which is what has all the customization options, and the other is settings. If you tap the settings button this is where you'll find the personal dictionary so you can better-teach the keyboard your word usage. You'll also find general settings for the keyboard and settings for the language.
The language settings page is where you download and install different languages for the keyboard so you can type in that language natively, so long as they're supported. In total Kika Keyboard supports over 150 different languages.
Kika Keyboard has loads of different themes and keyboard styles you can apply that are already in the app, but you can also create and customize your own by tapping the floating action button that you find on the "manage my theme" page. Here you can select different colors to apply as the background color for your custom keyboard theme, and there are even options to insert image backgrounds from a collection of wallpapers in the Kika Wallpapers app, though you will need to install Kika Wallpapers on your phone to have access to these. You can also select different styles for the effects when you press a key, the button style, the font, and more until you get just the right combination of elements.
After just a few minutes of poking around the app it was clear that Kika Keyboard had plenty of features that make it a great little app if you're looking to replace the stock keyboard. While not jam-packed with different features, it felt less like it was lacking options and more like it wasn't over-packing the app with unnecessary ones.
- Speed (5/5) - The app install took just a few seconds to complete and once done setup didn't take too much longer.
- Theme (4/5) - The theme of the app was actually not too bad, and it was easy to navigate.
- Features (5/5) - Quite a few different features to make it stand out.
- Overall (4.5/5) - Definitely a well-rounded keyboard app with more than a couple of standout features.
- Themes to customize the style of your keyboard
- The ability to browse themes by category
- Being able to change the font of your keys and have them work with any selected theme
- Ability to change the sound of key presses
- Easy to navigate app UI
- Smart stickers
- Custom theme creator
- Glide typing is only available in English, which might turn some users off
- Not very many sounds to download
- Not a big selection of fonts
There are tons, and tons, and tons of different keyboard apps out there so it can be easy to miss all of the options, but Kika Keyboard is definitely not one of the options you want to skip. It works well, has loads of customization options with themes, fonts, and even key press sounds, and it features smart stickers and smart auto-correction. If you either don't like the keyboard app you're using or if you're looking for one for the first time, it's certainly recommended to give Kika Keyboard a look.