SwiftKey 4 for Android review:

The best Android keyboard we've reviewed

Smart Space
One of SwiftKey's most useful features is Smart Space, an almost magical feature that can tell when you accidentally omit or otherwise screw up spaces in your typing. With Smart Space, you can actually tap out an entire sentence without spaces, and SwiftKey corrects you as you go. We find ourselves inadvertently taking advantage of this whenever we accidentally hit the "b" or "v" keys instead of the spacebar.

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SwiftKey has Swype-like Flow feature that lets you type with gestures. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

SwiftKey Flow
And then, of course, there's Flow, SwiftKey's take on the gesture-based input scheme that Swype has made so popular over the last few years. Just like Swype, SwiftKey and its new Flow feature let you type by dragging your finger across letters in a single continuous motion. Flow even lets you glide through the spacebar key, so you can type out several words without ever lifting your finger off the screen. If you manage to incorporate this into your natural typing style, you'll be amazed at how fast you'll be able to input words on your screen.

One thing we like is that enabling Flow doesn't necessarily mean you have to type with gliding gestures all the time. In fact, you can always easily switch back and forth between the Flow style of typing and the traditional finger-tapping style, and SwiftKey won't even blink.

Just like previous versions, SwiftKey 4.3 makes predictions as you type, even if you're using Flow. If you see one that's right, you can simply lift your finger off the screen mid-drag, and that word will automatically be used. This blending of predictions and Flow-style typing may seem a little unnatural to use at first, but with some practice, it can be an incredibly speedy way of entering words.

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SwiftKey statistics show you how the app has improved your typing accuracy. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Settings, statistics, and more
More than just a new set of keys, though, SwiftKey offers a full set of tools for improving the efficiency of your typing. Under the settings menu, you'll find a list of how-to videos, prediction settings, and layouts. The app also has a statistics section where you can see how many keystrokes SwiftKey has saved you and how many typos it's corrected. Plus, there's a nifty "heat map" that shows how accurately you type and on which keys you tend to make mistakes. You can even share these statistics via Android's share menu, if you'd like, though this feature is probably more useful to SwiftKey's marketing team than it is to you. Lastly, you can customize the keyboard for your typing style, change the color scheme, and even adjust key height to suit your tapping needs.

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You can undock the keyboard and move it around on the screen. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

With all its customization options, scary-smart technology, and newly integrated Flow feature, we can't recommend SwiftKey highly enough. It is, quite simply, our favorite keyboard replacement app on Android. And now that there's one app for both tablets and phones, which can sync your saved words and typing profile between devices, SwiftKey becomes even more valuable. Sure, it costs $3.99, which might be a bit steep for some people, but we think it's well worth the price.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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