I have been a loyal user of SwiftKey for a while now, but another keyboard replacement app called TypeSmart from Comet Apps might change that. I have been playing with it over the last couple of days and I like what I see. From what I have found with most keyboard replacements is that they always seem to be too gimmicky with an interface that will only attract a few people. TypeSmart went in another direction by trying to improve upon what’s out there without trying to develop a brand new way to type.
TypeSmart’s claim to fame is that it not only does what all the other keyboards do, but there are six cool things that no other keyboard offers. The first is a slide-out number row. I tend to do a lot of my typing in portrait mode and I hate switching to a different keyboard for numbers. I know a lot of keyboards offer long pressing, but that is only good when you only need to type one digit. With TypeSmart, you simply swipe up and the dedicated number row appears. Don’t worry, there is still a separate dedicated number pad if you find that your phone’s display is too small. I would like to see this option added to the settings giving you the ability to always display it without needing the gesture, but a quick swipe up isn’t all that bad.
The second is what they call near psychic prediction. Most keyboards try to figure out the word you are typing, but TypeSmart will predict the next two words you are going to type. I works well with common phrases like “how are you?”. As soon as you type “how a” you will see “are you” in the suggestions area. However I found that the algorithm doesn’t appear to be looking at your typing history. For example, I typed, “The dog is brown” earlier, but when I later typed, “The dog”, it didn’t suggest “is brown”. I am sure this is something that will continue to evolve.
Next up is a password checker. Say you need to type your password for an account on a particular website or even an app. As you type your password, the letters quickly change to asterisks, but often times you didn’t look fast enough to see if you were typing correctly. Before you hit the submit button, you can tap “Check Password” just above the keyboard to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes. I know that some apps have a “show password” option, but most websites don’t offer it.
The “Any Key” is the fourth thing. It’s a key that you can customize to be one of six different functions: smiley menu, voice input, cursor controls, translator, language, or settings. You can actually set it to any two functions since you can set one to be when you tap it and the other when you long press it. On top of all this, you can also set any of these functions to open when you long press the Return key.
TypeSmart also allows you to customize the size of your keyboard. This is really nothing new, but TypeSmart has some nice adjustments. For starters, you can make changes to the portrait and landscape keyboards independently. You can adjust how high you want the keyboard to be and adjust the height of the bottom row. You can even change the font size for the suggestions as well as the padding for the bottom row.
Lastly, there are a number of themes, which again isn’t really anything new. TypeSmart offers 30 different themes and you don’t have to download any of them. You can even personalize things even further by adding an image to your keyboard as a wallpaper. It works well, but I find that most photos end up making the keyboard look too busy even though they offer a transparency adjustment. Images such as logos will work better.
On top of all this, TypeSmart offers even more like the fact that it’s compatible with both phones and tablets. You don’t need a separate download for each type of device. You will also find Google Translator built in. Earlier I mentioned the translator as one of the functions that you can set your “Any Key” to, but I didn’t explain it. It uses Google Translate to translate anything you type so you can easily email or text people that don’t speak the same language as you. It works very well, but unfortunately I don’t have a need for it.
Another cool feature is the ability to add shortcuts. For example, if you find yourself constantly typing, “on my way home”, you can add this as a shortcut and set whatever short word or abbreviation you want for it. You can even make it as simple as one letter. When you type the shortcut, your phrase will appear in the suggestions. There is no limit to the number of these that you can set.
The last thing I want to mention is the ability to quickly undo any unwanted corrections. I always get upset when I get autocorrected, and TypeSmart makes it easy to revert to what you really wanted to say. Whenever it does an autocorrect, it will put the original word in the suggestion bar in green so you can quickly tap it to undo the autocorrection. Not only that, it will automatically add it to the dictionary.
For languages, TypeSmart offers English (US & UK), Spanish, French, and German. For layouts, you have your choice of QWERTY English, QWERTY Spanish, QWERTY International, AZERTY French, QWERTZ German, and T9.
Just like any other decent keyboard replacement, TypeSmart isn’t free. The good news is that they offer a free version that has all the bells and whistles that I mentioned for a 30-day trial. That is more than enough time to find out if this keyboard is for you. If it is, it will cost you only $2.99, and you don’t have to buy separate versions for your phone and tablet. Check out my hands on video below as well as their trailer video and download links to get started. As always, let me know what you think.
Play Store Download Link – Free
Play Store Download Link – Paid