I have to be honest. I’m not really into keyboard replacements. I’ve found that most of the time they either respond slow or are buggy. I have tried a few, but I always end up going back to stock. I recently tried Perfect Keyboard, and it might actually be the first keyboard that I keep.
First of all, the reason this is called Perfect Keyboard is not because it’s perfect, at least “out of the box.” What’s perfect for me may not be so perfect to you so that’s why they offer so many customizations. It’s the user that makes the keyboard perfect so the title implies that this keyboard is actually perfect for everyone because each user will tailor it to their needs. Isn’t that what Android is all about? Customization is what attracts most of us to Android and Perfect Keyboard delivers that.
There are various settings for the look, feel, touch response, and word suggestions. For example, if you want blue keys with pink letters, you can do that. Do you want vibrations? How about being able to set any image as the keyboard background? You can do that as well. They even have nine preset keyboard themes that include Basic, Honeycomb, Stone, Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, HTC, iPhone, and others. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, there is a while bunch more that you can download from the Play Store.
Oh there’s still more. Perfect Keyboard allows for Gestures as well. You can set up to four gestures (swipe up, down, left, or right), and each one can be set to do things like delete the last word, launch settings, paste from clipboard, toggle voice input, open the user dictionary, or your choice of 13 others. Speaking of the dictionary, you can manually add to the dictionary for your convenience.
I’m still not done yet. You can even fine tune your keyboard as far as the height of the keys, gaps between the keys, and text sizes. There are also dozens of other tweaks like editing emoticons, setting the volume key to move the cursor, edit what punctuations show in the quick pop-up editor, and much more.
Are we done yet? I still haven’t gotten into the actual keyboard layouts. You have your choice of four layouts for portrait orientation and two layouts for landscape orientation. This means you can have two different keyboards set. In other words, you don’t have to have the same keyboard for both orientations. For portrait you have your choice of Normal, T9, Compact or Split. For landscape you have your choice of Normal or Split.
The T9 keyboard (pictured below) is much like the old number pads we had before QWERTY’s were available, but it tries to figure out what you’re typing so you don’t have to hit the “2″ key three times for the letter “C.” Of course, since Perfect Keyboard has so many customizations, you can quickly turn that feature off and revert back to hitting each key multiple times to get the word you want.
Compact (pictured below) is similar to T9, but only two letters per key, which results in more keys. I’ve been using this one for the last few days. The letters are in QWERTY style so it’s easy to type with less keys than a traditional QWERTY. Again, you don’t have to hit each key multiple times to get the right letter because Perfect Keyboard figures out what you’re trying to type. Just like the T9 keyboard, if you do run into any problems, you can quickly toggle it so that it works by hitting each key multiple times to force the letter you want.
The Split keyboard (pictured below) is offered in both portrait and landscape. It’s exactly as the name implies – it’s split into sections. The left and right side have the letters, while the middle has the numbers. I used this one a little in landscape mode. I found it to work, but I wasn’t wowed by it. Of course, what doesn’t wow me might wow you. Again this is what makes Perfect Keyboard so great – more options is a good thing.
All in all I found Perfect Keyboard to work well. I tend to type in portrait mode a lot so I was excited to use the compact keyboard. It amazingly worked great, however as with all keyboards, it can’t predict exactly what you’re saying 100% of the time. I did find instances where even though it didn’t have the right word, the other choices that were displayed weren’t even close to I was trying to type. This usually happens when you’re typing a name. In those cases I was either forced to switch to landscape mode where I had one letter per key or I could toggle off auto text which let me hit each key once or twice to “force” the letter I wanted. A little bit of a pain, but these are all learning curves and as I get the dictionary built up, it’s becoming a breeze to type texts quickly. The customizations and tweaks are top notch and I found zero bugs or issues.
With all of these customizations and settings, you might be asking yourself what you would do after a factory reset or if you buy a new phone. They already thought of that with the backup and restore feature. You never have to worry as you can always restore your keyboard on any device. Of course I recommend backing up that file to your computer or other online service like Dropbox or Box. Saving it to your SD card is nice, but if by chance you lose your phone, that backup is no longer available.
There are two versions of Perfect Keyboard, the free version and the paid, which costs $2.99. The free version gives you a good idea of what each keyboard is like, but you can’t edit the dictionary, select themes, configure keyboard colors, use gestures, or apply skins.
They say you can’t satisfy everyone, but Perfect Keyboard comes damn close. I guess the only people who won’t be satisfied with it is those that are fans of Swype. For now there isn’t anyway to swipe your words, and I know that there are a lot of you out there that do love it. I personally don’t, so Perfect Keyboard makes the ultimate keyboard replacement for me. Check out the demo video below and/or hit the links below to download.