Swype vs SwiftKey

Swype keyboard is now available from the Android store. After a few minutes of testing, I bought it for the introductory price, even though I already have SwiftKey. I thought I’d explain why.

  1. I want capitalization fixed automatically. However, with that feature on, SwiftKey insists on capitalizing ‘Web’ everywhere, no matter how many times I delete the capitalized word from the dictionary. Swype doesn’t. Similarly for my name, which I don’t capitalize unless it’s at the start of a sentence.

  2. Swiftkey is terrible at mangling abbreviations. If I type “i.e.” it becomes “I. e.”. Worse, attempting to fix the mangling is an exercise in frustration. Swype got it right first time.

  3. Swype seems to be more accurate. Admittedly, my testing so far has been brief, but I can type entire sentences in Swype and have them come out correct. That has never been the case with SwiftKey in my experience.

  4. Swiftkey has some missing symbols that I use; in particular, one of the double angle quote marks is missing. Swype has both.

  5. Swype lets me go in and edit my personal dictionary.

One more feature Swype has which I suspect will be useful is that the dictionary gets updated constantly based on what other people are typing. So when some new topic hits the news, such as LIBOR or ISDAfix, Swype will know the word without my having to teach it — or so I have reason to hope.

There are still some areas where both keyboards need to improve. In particular, neither of them has a good way to enter emoji and other Unicode characters, and neither of them offers an easy way to switch to the Google-supplied emoji keyboard. Neither will do smart quotes, em dashes, ellipsis, and other typographical niceties.