Considering the fact that it is still a relatively young operating system, Microsoft has made positive strides with each iteration and this keyboard is no exception. In Windows 8.1 the default system keyboard still remains as the only option available, but it is accompanied with some welcomed changes and improvements to existing features. I’ve been using it for a few months new while running the Windows 8.1 Developer Preview and it is without question my favorite keyboard to use on a smartphone.
If you’re an iPhone user, you’re accustomed to not having an alternative option if you’re unsatisfied with the keyboard. If you’re an Android user, you’re used to being able to try out a plethora of keyboards that swipe and creatively word prediction until coming across the one that suits you the best. Unfortunately, Windows Phone users have been in the same boat as Apple users. That is, until now (if you’d like to see a video review, scroll down a bit).
Tall Keys, Big Accuracy
The Windows phone keyboard gives everyone something that isn’t available on stock Android or iOS: taller keys. It may not sound like that big of a deal, but it’s one of those situations where a light bulb doesn’t go off until you actually experience it. I can remember the first time I typed on a Windows Phone 3 years ago and was amazed at how easy it was to type on. It’s great to see that Microsoft hasn’t changed the physical nature of their keys, and for good reason.
Emoticons and Prediction
Are you sick and tired of having to go to a secondary screen just to enter an emoticon? Windows phone removes this step by providing you with an emoticon directly in the suggestion field. For instance, if the word “run” is typed, an emoticon of a person running will appear and can be instantly selected to be placed into your current message.
The prediction of the Window Phone 8.1 Developer’s Preview is incredible. In fact there are countless times where I’ve been able to continuously select the predicted words one by one, and almost have the entire sentenced typed by the time I’m done. What’s even more miraculous is that the prediction is extremely accurate without having to be connected to your various Twitter, Facebook, Gmail or other social accounts.
Here’s my video review if you’d like to see it in action.
Don’t Lift a Finger
The newly face lifted keyboard adds the ability to swipe-to-text rather than consecutively pressing individual keys to spell a word. It’s very accurate and as the frequency of use is increased, the more it’ll become second nature to you.
Side Note: Microsoft thank you very much for not having the words float above the keyboard (a.k.a. dynamic preview). Who actually uses that?
The previous version was pretty good before, but now its borderline fantastic. Taller keys drastically increase one’s typing accuracy while being accompanied by a pleasant sound with each key press. The auto correction and suggestions combined with the new swipe-to-text implementation makes this keyboard fun to use. If your device is capable of upgrading to the Windows 8.1 developers preview, I highly recommend doing so. It’ll give you that new phone feeling that’ll put a smile on your face every time.