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A productive and powerfull tool.
There is more utility in a touchscreen keyboard than many people realize. It is possibly one of the most powerful and productive tools on your phone, tablet / iPad or touchscreen computer.
- Gboard Summary Video
- Swiftkey Summary Video
For this blog post review, I am using both the Swiftkey and Gboard on an Android phone. There are other keyboards you can use from the PlayStore which can be more specific to certain tasks like a coding keyboard. But these 2 keyboards are for standard phone usage, using the QWERTY layout. You can change it in their settings to a different layout.
Recent updates and new updates are making Microsoft and Google more cohesive and compatible with each other and other platforms or separate developer entities.
Google -Gboard keyboard
Gboard came pre-installed on this Android phone and often does with a lot of Android phones. I did not download anything other than my selections for languages etc on initial set up configuration, all within the app.
Microsoft -Swiftkey keyboard
Microsoft has an option to sign into your Microsoft account or set up an account to access and utilize more options. But I am just using and talking about the keyboard without signing in or setting up any account.
I have simply downloaded from the PlayStore and set up the keyboard for use without setting up an account. It is quite full featured as is and very customizable.
They are more intuitive and less glitchy with less lag in the keyboard when used within the same software development platform .
Not sure if it is because I have thousands of people trying to hack me and my security software is running on overdrive or it has something to do with my phone carrier network interfering, but they both tend to be more glitchy and laggy when I have a cell SIM installed for standard phone usage.
I was able to get an excellent usage comparison, when I use it just as a computer, as I usually prefer to do, with no phone SIM card, similar to touchscreen laptops, Ipad / tablets with just Wi-Fi and no cell capabilities or in air-plane mode.
Both keyboards are compatible when set as a default keyboard and no conflicting problems if you use a separate secure keyboard which automatically detects and activates when needed eg. Secure site information input and passwords.
The secure keyboard temporarily deactivates your default keyboard, and reverts back when it no longer detects the need for a secure keyboard.
Standard keyboards remember what you type for text predictions, making it more intuitive with standard text input, however this is not secure when typing sensitive private information, such as passwords etc.
▪️ Straight forward and easy to set up. Should be noted that Gboard usually comes preloaded with Android phones, which may account for the easier set up and integration with other phone/tablet applications.
▪️ There are more options but is obviously more complicated.
▪️ My demo is just the standard downloaded app without signing in or setting up an account. It is quite full featured.
▪️ Feels more useful for general use, with standard phone applications and its simple layout and set up.
▪️ Feels more useful for advanced users or professional use, with more customised options and specifics.
▪️ Has a big selection of downloadable themes but doesn’t have the option to use your own images and create custom themes.
▪️ Simple to select and set your themes, no fuss format.
Demo Video Below : Gboard Themes
▪️ Has a big selection of preset themes and downloadable themes.
You can also use your own images as a background image on your keyboard and adjust the transparency / opacity of your background image.
▪️ Very customizable for those who like greater flexibility.
Demo Video Below : SwiftKey Themes
Emoji, stickers, emoticons and gifs.
They both have all 4 with quick access links in your keyboard. You just need to set your most used icons to your top toolbar of quick actions.
Both come with pre-installed stickers and emoticons, with more that can be downloaded.
Both have a quick link toolbar, for easy access to the features you use regularly.
▪️ The Gboard toolbar can contain 4 quick link icons. The selection of quick link options is not as large as SwiftKey given that it is a much simpler keyboard to set up with many features pre-set.
▪️ The ••• drop down menu also gives you access to the other features which you can also drag into position.
▪️ You can hide or display the icon row at any time by toggling the arrow at the side.
Demo Video Below : Gboard Toolbar
▪️ The tool bar can contain 5 quick link icons, with a large selection to choose from in a ••• drop down menu, that you drag into position.
▪️ The toolbar can be on display at the top or hidden by simply toggling the the dual arrow icon at any time.
Demo Video Below : SwiftKey Toolbar
Private incognito mode
▪️ Has an easily accessible Incognito mode that like browsers, you can toggle between standard and incognito/ private.
▪️ In incognito mode you can copy text but you must paste it straight away, for when you need to copy an authorization code from an SMS, email or authentication app, and then paste it straight away. It won’t save in your clipboard to use later, your input is not stored by the keyboard, so it won’t be intuitive and predict words etc. but it gives you more privacy when needed.
▪️ Apps and browsers cannot background screen record your keyboard input when you are using incognito mode.
▪️ Gboard does not not have a private / incognito mode within their keyboard.
This is a feature that is very important to me with the kind of things I write and create on a mobile phone where I am limited in the amount of open windows I can have on display at the one time, which with split screen is only 2, but still better than no split screen especially with images and videos.
I use the clipboard differently to most people, in that I use it as a method of accessing multiple texts transcripts with one click of my keyboard.
▪️ Saves them in a boxed grid caption format – too much horizontal manoeuvring for me personally, however for general use they do give the viewer a good view of the clipboard text. But I acknowledge that I am a minority in how and what I mostly use the clipboard for.
▪️ The text you pin is saved in the bottom section until you unpin them.
▪️ The unpinned text is saved in the top section, and automatically deleted after an hour.
Demo Video Below : Gboard Clipboard
▪️ Saves them in easy to read chronological order, in list format.
▪️ If you pin the item ( keep until you unpin it) , it gets moved to the top.
▪️ Unpinned text does not have the pin icon next to it and gets automatically deleted after an hour.
Demo Video Below : SwiftKey Clipboard
Both have a floating keyboard.
▪️ Very intuitive, and adapts to the screen and usage. In standard portrait mode it looks and feels just as a static keyboard at the bottom of your screen. When you change your screen view, angle or app, it will automatically detect and adjust to a floating keyboard to suit .
That’s with it set on static.
▪️ When set on floating, it will be a floating keyboard all the time, and you can still scroll your page up and down and see the whole page. You can move the keyboard to wherever you want.
▪️ Easy to toggle between floating or static, without going into settings.
Demo Video Below : Gboard Floating Keyboard
▪️ When set to a floating keyboard it is a floating keyboard in portrait and you can move it wherever you like. In landscape it remains at the bottom and you can only move it left or right marginally or change the size. The keys are not stretched as they are in static mode to.
▪️ You need to toggle the icon to switch from static to floating.
▪️ When in landscape mode for both static and floating, your page is sectioned and you only see the paragraph you are typing in. You can’t see the whole page or scroll. This can be advantageous or not, depending on the type of projects you are working on.
▪️ When set to static it remains static all the time. When in landscape it spreads right across the screen with elongated buttons and takes up most of the screen. It is more difficult to use in landscape mode on a phone with less real estate, compared to a tablet / iPad.
Demo Video Below : SwiftKey Floating Keyboard
One handed and thumbs layout
Both keyboards provide this option.
Gboard has a great one handed display.
Demo Video Below : Gboard One handed
SwiftKey has a great thumbs display
Demo Video Below : SwiftKey Thumbs and one handed
Both keyboards have search directly in their keyboard. No need to close your current working window to search online for a topic or word. eg. Google it.
Simply tap the 🔍search icon in your keyboard and the search input area will appear within your keyboard, then enter the word or topic.
Of course you will need an internet connection to use the search option in your keyboard.
Demo Video Below : Gboard Search
Demo Video Below : SwiftKey Search
Both have translate built into their keyboards.
You can translate any text, wherever you use your keyboard. eg. SMS, email, word documents, memes, social media comment or posts, captions on images, notes app, and the list goes on.
Great for people who receive or write documents or articles for different cultures, countries or share with people who aren’t fluent in your language.
Both allow you to directly translate as you type.
Select / highlight a paragraph or passage of text and then translate to another language, with-in the keyboard.
You don’t leave your keyboard or current page.
🔸 To get an accurate translation for documents, I translate my native language, English, into the required language, then translate it back to English, to see if the phrasing and word association translates properly. If not, you can replace words or phrasing, to suit the language you are translating into. Then simply translate back to your required language. A couple of clicks and you have proof read and corrected your translation for grammar and phrasing.
🔸 You may think that it will translate back exactly the same, but that’s not always the case. A lot of words in English, and vice versa, don’t exist in other languages, so the translator will use word association and replace the word, but this sometimes does not fit with the phrasing or context .
🔸 For quick messages or to people you know and who are familiar with you and any quirks you may have – you can just type and translate in one step and send. SO EASY.
▪️ The text you type or select for translation is sent to Google Translate in the cloud, so you need an internet connection, but you don’t get transferred outside your current page or keyboard.
▪️ The translation is instant as you type.
▪️ Google Translate is great for translating standard text. If you are translating private, sensitive or classified information, you may want to use downloadable secure software, that is stored locally on your device.
▪️ Google also has the text to speech or speech to text option, which may come in handy when used in conjunction with the translator.
Demo Video Below : Gboard Translate
▪️ SwiftKey uses Microsoft Translator.
▪️ Like Google the text you type is sent to Microsoft Translator in the cloud. However, you can also download Microsoft Translator from the PlayStore to your device and translate offline.👍 So no Internet needed.
▪️ SwiftKey allows you to also translate as you type or select / highlight a passage to translate, all with-in the keyboard.
▪️ Once you have downloaded Microsoft Translator App you then select your languages and download them. You are then able to translate offline within your SwiftKey keyboard as demonstrated or through the Translator App.
Demo Video Below : SwiftKey Translate
Voice input – talk to text
Both SwiftKey and Gboard have talk to text. You will need to give permission for the keyboard to record audio or set it to ask each time, if your device offers that option. You may also need to set up your personal voice recognition either with your individual device or if you sign in to either Google or Microsoft.
▪️ Google voice typing is easily accessible in the keyboard by tapping the 🎙️ microphone icon in the top toolbar or you can use Google assistant if you have that set up.
Demo Video Below : Gboard Talk to text
▪️ Swiftkey has the microphone on a key on the keyboard, not in the toolbar. Microsoft also has an option to sign into your Microsoft account or set up an account to access and utilize more options, but I have not set up an account on this phone.
Demo Video Below : SwiftKey Talk to text
VIDEO SUMMARY – Gboard Full Review
VIDEO SUMMARY – SwiftKey Full Review
This is not a paid promotion by any individual, business or organisation.
Google and Microsoft may already have adjusted or changed their keyboards, while I was writing this blog.
These features are based on the latest updates provided to me at the time of writing the blog post.
If, for some reason unknown to me, they had prior knowledge of my blog post before it went live.