I’d thought that Swype was a pretty good keyboard replacement, and I still think so. Unfortunately, it’s not compatible with the Nook HD, so someone recommended I look at SwiftKey.
My first impression wasn’t positive. It’s not nearly as good at swipe entry as Swype, and I’d gotten used to swiping. Beside, it looks totally cool when taking notes in a client meeting, especially if I’m using a stylus. I’ve gotten lots of raised eyebrows and “What’s that?” while using Swype.
But Swiftkey has a lot going for it, especially if you’re willing to retrain how you perform data entry. Its text prediction is just eerie. I’ve been creating an email and had it correctly guess the next four or five words I was going to type. It’s hard to beat a program that is so good you don’t actually have to type, tap or swipe any letters to get to the next word.
I decided to try a timed test to put some numbers to my impressions. I needed to write a quick letter for a friend (“proving” that she was a lesbian—go figure), and I typed it my computer, Swyped it, SwiftKeyed it and finally slogged with the Nook keyboard. It was a 47 word paragraph, including some symbols, and here were the results, in minutes:seconds:
• Computer — 1:17
• SwiftKey — 1:58
• Swype — 2:03
• Nook Standard — 2:27
Obviously typing was the fastest, but I’d expected that. However, I did note that I had to fix more typos than with the other methods.
Swype was close to SwiftKey. It was the third try, and I had the paragraph pretty much memorized by that point, which probably helped. Also, I’ve “Swyped” more than I’ve used SwiftKey, so I’m more used to it, and I’ve learned to trust it. I think SwiftKey’s predictive ability will eventually make it much faster for me.
The Nook keyboard was my fourth time through the paragraph, which I think is the only reason it was no slower than it was. It felt like slogging to have to tap every single character. I was greatly surprised at the time, considering how slow it felt.
All in all, while I still prefer the “cool” factor of Swype and hope it becomes Nook HD compatible in the future, SwiftKey is an excellent option and fun to use as it predicts what it thinks is coming next. I’m curious to give it a test by writing an entire short story using my Nook and SwiftKey.