Swype is an innovative keyboard for Android which allows you to enter text by sliding from letter to letter rather than tapping. This allows for quick, one handed typing with few errors. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you’ve got it down, it could very well change the way you think about typing on your Android device.
User Interface: 5/5 Ease of Use: 4.5/5 Customizability: 4.5/5 Originality: 5/5 Indispensability: 4.5/5
Here is a video tutorial of Swype on Android:
A lot has been made of comparing the various smartphone onscreen keyboards and often is a major sticking point when switching between platforms. One of the great things about Android is the ability to customize many aspects of the OS and Swype is one of many keyboard options available. The concept behind Swype is very simple: type by dragging your finger (without lifting your finger) from letter to letter to form a word.
What makes Swype incredible is that it is smart, really smart. It does an amazing job of selecting the right word based on the path you trace. In fact, most of the “learning curve” associated with using Swype is becoming comfortable with trusting the selection. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t take a bit of time to get up to speed on Swype, but no more so than switching to any new mobile keyboard, physical or onscreen. The Swype team provides a set of tutorials that are extremely useful.
You have the option of “tap-typing” like you would on the default Android keyboard. This is how you teach Swype words that are not in the dictionary. Once you enter the word, Swype learns it and will incorporate it into future text entry.
While the default settings work just fine, there is a bit of customization you can do in Swype. You can adjust the sensitivity and speed of your paths as well as a number of aesthetic elements. Visually the keyboard might not be as pretty as the default, but it more than makes up for it in functionality. It works in landscape or portrait mode and even has a “control mode” with navigations options, something I wish the default Android keyboard had.
Overall, one-handed typing speed is significantly faster using Swype. I find that my speed using two thumbs in landscape is still a bit faster than using Swype, but perhaps that has to do with the lack of multitouch implementation (please Google!). I would highly recommend trying out Swype, especially if you send a lot of short messages. The combination of innovation, speed, and ease of use makes Swype one of the top Android apps.
Follow the author of this Reader Review on Twitter: @zachdrouin