SwiftKey Note review: Fast and accurate typing, but only in the app

SwiftKey not only fixes mistakes, it shows three words in a bar above the keyboard as you tap each letter. The left and right words are predictions that SwiftKey thinks you want, while the middle word just shows every letter you've typed to form the current word. For example, type "Th" and you'll see "The," "Th," and "Thanks" from left to right.

You can tap one of the words in the space to insert into your note. For faster typing, you can tap the spacebar as soon as the word you want pops up in the middle of the prediction bar and the app will autocomplete that word, just as SwiftKey keyboard does on Android. You can change that in settings so that the space bar always inserts a space instead.

You can sync the notes you type in SwiftKey Note to your Evernote notebooks. Click to enlarge. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

SwiftKey understands common sentences, so it can predict what word you might type next before you even start to tap a key. For example, if you type "I" and hit space, the prediction bar shows verbs such as "am" "will" and "have." Those predictions may change over time as the app gets to know your writing style more.

You can format your text by making it bold, italic, or underline, and add indents and bulleted lists by swiping left on the prediction bar.

Anecdotally, I found that SwiftKey's prediction feature works better than Apple's autocorrect at fixing mistakes and suggesting words that closely match what I am typing. When you use Note, autocorrect from iOS is turned off. Take my experience with a grain of salt here, because though I used an iPad regularly, my main phone runs Android. I have used SwiftKey's Android keyboard for the last two years and I highly prefer SwiftKey over the iOS keyboard.

Streamlined note-taking
Now on to SwiftKey Note's Evernote features. When you first launch the app, you'll get the option to connect your Evernote account to SwiftKey Note so that you can save and sync every note you type in Note to the service. If you don't connect your account or don't have one, everything will save only to the app.

Typing a new note in Evernote's iOS app is easy enough, but SwiftKey Note makes the process even more streamlined. That's because there are very few steps need to create a new note (just launch the app and tap the plus sign) and the app's design is simple and clean, with zero distractions. I really enjoyed typing notes in the app, thanks to the keyboard, and it was nice to have everything sync to Evernote, which I use frequently.

You can add tags to your note and choose to save it to any of your existing Evernote notebooks. Each note will also save to a new notebook in Evernote called SwiftKey Notes.

Note has several settings to tweak the keyboard, including adding different languages and changing what the space bar does. Click to enlarge. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Final thoughts
SwiftKey Note is one of SwiftKey's first steps in bringing its much-loved predictive keyboard from Android to iPhones and iPad. It's not a full-fledged keyboard (yet), but it offers a simple, clean alternative to taking notes on your iDevice. If Note catches on, it could open the door for SwiftKey to bring its keyboard to other apps, and perhaps someday, become an alternative to the system-wide iOS keyboard.

Though it doesn't yet match the features found in SwiftKey's Android keyboard, Note does a fantastic job of predicting and correcting as you type, which makes taking notes faster and more efficient. It's a must-have for anyone who uses Evernote for iOS, and those who want a taste of SwiftKey's awesome predictive keyboard.

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