Gboard by Google or SwiftKey from Microsoft? We are going to see how both of them compares with each other. Best Android Keyboard – We use keyboard on our smartphone very frequently and it is one of the most used application on your phone.
There are tons and tons of keyboard applications available for download on the Google Play Store for Android devices. But people often stick with the default keyboard that came with their device. Many doesn’t even seem to care about them as the default keyboard gets the job done.
But for those want to take their keyboard game to the next level, they could try keyboard applications from Google Play Store. There are many popular one on the table like Gboard, SwiftKey, Fleksy, Swype etc. Today we are going to pit Gboard vs SwiftKey against each other and compare their features and functionalities.
Before the touch revolution, phones we having T9 keypad with physical buttons to press on. Typing on such a keyboard took time and effort. But when phones start getting Touch Screens, physical keyboards started disappearing from phones and was replaced by On-screen Touch Virtual keyboards. This made typing super easy and comfortable. People can type on their phones like they would type on a QWERTY keyboard of their computer.
Gboard vs SwiftKey – Intro
Both SwiftKey and Gboard (Google Keyboard) are hugely popular apps and both are available absolutely FREE. Google Keyboard was there for quite a long and the name was changed to Gboard few years back. SwiftKey is developed by TouchType Ltd which is now a subsidiary of Microsoft (Microsoft acquired SwiftKey in 2016 for $250 Million).
In fact, Gboard vs SwiftKey comparison can be seen as a fight between the two tech giants…Let us see who will fare well in the showdown for the Best Android Keyboard.
Gboard vs SwiftKey – The Comparison
Now let us see the main highlighting features of both the keyboards and find out which one has the upper hand. We will be testing out all the features to make the comparison as accurate as possible. The comparison is conducted with the latest version of both these applications downloaded from the Google Play Store. Both the keyboards are installed on the same phone for the sake of testing.
#1. In-built Google Search and Translate in Gboard
Gboard comes with this cool feature were you can directly search the web from the Gboard Keyboard App. Sounds cool…right? It is. We don’t have to leave the app we are in to make a search on the web to check some facts or get answers for your questions.
You can just pull up the search feature by tapping the Google icon on the top left corner of the keyboard to start searching. You can then directly share these results in the applications. This is a nifty little feature present in the Gboard which is useful at times when you need info on something without having to leave the current app.
For those chat with people from other countries or wants to translate words, you can make use of the Translation feature in Gboard. This makes it possible to directly translate what you are typing into other languages. Useful feature, but i don’t think it will used frequently.
Let me say that, I personally didn’t use this feature much except for a few times. If you really want to do a full search, you need to use a browser itself. But nevertheless it’s a great feature for making quick web searches.
Keyboards are getting better day by day. They learn how we type and interact to give us personalised suggestions. SwiftKey is the first keyboard to be powered by Neural Networks. It is the best if you need to get very accurate suggestions. Gboard isn’t falling short either, it also has a very good prediction mechanism which can give you auto correction and suggestion when you type.
Both the keyboards get better at prediction along the way as they study the user behaviour and commonly used phrases. I personally used Gboard, which saves my commonly used email id so that each time I visit a website and start typing my email, it just gives the suggestion.
#3. Emoji, GIFs and Stickers
Both SwiftKey and Gboard has full emoji support with emoji search feature. You can easily search emoji using the search feature. Both keyboards also have emoji prediction meaning that the keyboard shows emoji matching to what you typed. In Gboard it is supported right out of the box, while for SwiftKey you need to enable Emoji Predictions in your keyboard settings.
Emoji Predictions in Gboard
GIF animations are great. I use them all the time and personally finds it super cool comparing to emoji. You can go nuts with crazy gifs when you are chatting with your friends. Both Gboard and SwiftKey comes with GIF support meaning you can directly search and sent Gifs from the keyboard itself.
Gboard has a cleaner interface which I personally like a lot. It’s very organised and clean. SwiftKey has Giphy integration which means you get all super cool, super funny gifs from the internet right from your keyboard. Both Gboard and SwiftKey has Gif search feature to find cool gifs for any occasion.
Gif animations in SwiftKey(left) and Gboard(right).
In Gboard, you can even make gifs directly from the keyboard. Go to Gifs and then My Gifs option where you can find Create Gif. You can then record short videos using the phone camera and save it as gif animations.
SwiftKey and Gboard, both comes with sticker support. You can get lots of cool stickers and also download even more if you want. In SwiftKey, you can make your own stickers from images or you can simple select a sticker and text to make instant memes. You can add simple text on images from SwiftKey. This features is only available on SwiftKey.
#4. Gestures and Slide Typing
Gesture typing is available in both of them and works like charm without any issues. It is one of the feature that I tend to use the most. It is way easier to glide over the letters than to type them out individually.
Glide Typing in SwiftKey(left) and Gboard(right).
When it comes to additional gestures, Gboard gives you options like Slide to delete words and slide to move the cursor. You can just swipe left or right from the spacebar to move the cursor instead of moving it by dragging the small cursor. Most of them doesn’t know this feature exist. It is very useful while selecting text or copying text.
Cursor Controls in SwiftKey(left) and Gboard(right).
Another gesture that you probably didn’t know either is that you can simple slide left from the delete key to delete words.
Swipe to Delete in SwiftKey(left) and Gboard(right).
SwiftKey also has a gesture option were you can swipe left to delete words and swipe down to hide the keyboard. You can also turn on navigation arrows that can help you move the cursor while selecting or copying text.
#5. Themes Support
As far as themes concern, you can get tons of themes in SwiftKey. There are a bunch of themes that can be downloaded and also you can make you own themes.
Themes in SwiftKey(left) and Gboard(right).
Gboard also comes with a bunch of color schemes and you can download images which can be made as the keyboard background. There is an option to create custom themes by selecting any images from the gallery and then making it as the keyboard background.
When it comes to layout, you get more options with SwiftKey like Thumb mode and Float Mode. Both keyboard gives options to configure the keyboard height. Both SwiftKey and Gboard provides one handed mode were the keyboard can be floated to one side for one hand use.
Thumb Mode in SwiftKey(left) and One Hand Mode in Gboard(right).
SwiftKey has a unique layout called Thumb mode where you get a split keyboard which makes it easier to type? Well i didn’t find the layout useful, but there will be users who might actually like the layout.
Update: GBoard – Keyboard game going strong….
From the time i wrote this post to till date, i haven’t used any other keyboard. Only Gboard and that is the only keyboard you would ever want on your phone. This can be considered as a review after using it for quite some long time now.
It is fast and accurate, no doubt. It is super awesome with its gesture controls, especially the swipe to delete which can come in handy. Regarding predictions, Gboard has you covered. If you are stuck somewhere while writing because you can’t find the right word, Gboard is there for your rescue.
With updates it is getting better and as you use, the AI inside gets better at predicting the words that you use often. It also saves your email addresses if you commonly use one. This is another great thing about GBoard. I don’t have to write my whole email id ever again. I can just start the typing and Gboard gives me the full email Id.
Same is the case with Addresses, I can easily fill out address forms. I used to shop online a lot. Entering addresses is one of the most frustrating things to do when shopping online. So yeah…Gboard can help you with that.
And What more to say.. custom themes keeps your keyboard cool as you can change the look and feel when you get bored. You can match the look of keyboard with your Coolest Nova Launcher Setups on Android.
The Best Android Keyboard?
Both Gboard and SwiftKey Keyboards are great choices for Android devices as well a iOS devices. I would vote both of them as winners as they are very close to each other. It is just a matter of personal preference. With SwiftKey you would get better predictions, more themes (if you are into it), options for managing Clipboard etc.
Both Supports Multiple languages and options for inputs like Manglish, Hinglish etc.
If you are looking for a clean simple keyboard with great features, Gboard is the way to go. I have spend my fair share with both of these keyboards in the past and I’m currently using Gboard and I like it. I don’t need the super fast predictions or clipboard support which makes me stick to Gboard over SwiftKey.
Which one would you prefer? Let me know in the comments section. If you liked the article, feel free to share it among your friends and foes.