SwiftKeyI’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.


  1. It is funny what makes us feel more productive…

    I was going to suggest you try the official Google keyboard now that it is available, but I’m guessing it will be a similar time to Swype and SwiftKey. (It also has word prediction and swiping abilities, and it happens to be free.)

    There are so many nice touches in Swype that I aways come back to it:
    * Swype to 5 to get a number pad
    * Swype to backspace to prevent the autospace (nice for typing things that are two words combined)
    * Swype from the apostrophe to ‘s’ to make a known word possessive

    The main reason I use Swype, though, is that it is the only keyboard that reliably works when I’m not looking at the screen (this is generally only a problem on a phone). Back in the T9 days, I got used to typing messages under the table, while talking to people, and, yes, while driving without losing visual focus. Swype is the only option that works in this niche without forming a horrible mess. (The others should work in theory, but they don’t.)

    I’m surprised your keyboard typing is anywhere close to the touch keyboard times. I feel like I’m at least three to four times faster on a keyboard (but I’ll also go back and correct mistakes which is where things really slow down), and I’m pretty good at Swype.

  2. @Logan, I’ve never been a great keyboard typist. I’m self-taught (badly). Fortunately, I compose quickly in my head and sort of force my fingers to keep up. I’m five-fingered (not hunt and peck), but I spend too much time looking at the keys. I haven’t yet mastered Swype without looking, but I can see that it would lend itself to that.

    The Google keyboard came out after I’d already purchased SwiftKey. I’ll give it a try eventually, just to compare.

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