For a long time, Android’s use of third-party keyboards made it a better deal than iPhone. Alternative Android keyboard apps like Swype and Swiftkey are fantastic, but there’s more to keyboards than just text.
Recently, more alternative iPhone keyboards have started supporting GIFs, emojis, and other cool features. So if you’re an Android user, what should you turn to? Don’t worry, there are still some cool keyboards that you probably haven’t heard of.
1. Swiftmoji (Free): Suggests and Searches for Emojis
Emojis can be difficult to understand, which is why we have an emoji to English dictionary. You know what’s much more difficult? Finding the right emoji when you most need it.
SwiftKey recognized this problem and came up with a whole new app to solve it. Meet Swiftmoji, an emoji keyboard that smartly suggests emojis based on what you just typed. It’s kind of like a search engine for emojis.
Type what you want, using the features that make SwiftKey awesome. A row under what you typed will show emoji suggestions from Swiftmoji. Tap the plus icon to see more suggestions, or just dive into the regular emoji view of all apps. If you like using emojis as you type, this is what you need.
Download: Swiftmoji for Android (Free)
2. Tenor GIF Keyboard (Free): Find the Perfect GIF
If you spend some time on the Internet, you know that GIFs are the language of the web. But when the opportunity strikes, you need to be quick. It takes too much time and effort to exit the app, search for GIFs on Giphy, and then copy-paste back into the original app.
Tenor GIF keyboard is the quick way to get the GIF you need. Tenor is another GIF search engine like Giphy, and it features a huge repository of reactions. The best part about the app is that it works much, much faster than any other GIF keyboard on the Play Store. I compared it with Fleksy, Kika, How You Doin?, and GIMO, and Tenor was so visibly faster that any statistical test wasn’t necessary.
Just search for a GIF and it’ll load almost instantly, without you ever having to leave the app you’re in. It’s all a part of the keyboard, where you can see trending GIFs, most popular GIFs, and even search for them. And did I mention Tenor is super fast in loading GIFs?
The only issue is that you’ll need to fire up Tenor GIF keyboard each time you want to use it. It doesn’t have its own alphabet keyboard to actually type with, so it reverts to your default choice once you’re done inserting GIFs.
Download: Tenor GIF Keyboard for Android (Free)
3. CopyPasta (Free): Complex Text-Based Emoticons
Before GIFs and emojis, the Internet made do with simple and complex text-based emoticons like this:
Another popular Internet phenomenon is a copypasta, which is kind of like the text version of an Internet meme.
The Copypasta keyboard combines these two phenomena into one app, so you can quickly add a “shruggie” or any emoticon. From the above cool sunglasses to flipping tables, everything is a couple of taps away.
And yeah, there are a bunch of popular Internet copypastas too, but you’d need to really be deep into web culture to understand or use those.
Download: Copypasta for Android (Free)
4. Kika Keyboard (Free): Everything in One Keyboard
Kika isn’t as fast as Tenor in loading GIFs or finding the right one, and Kika won’t auto-suggest emojis based on what you just typed — it’s not that smart. Kika’s collection of emoticon faces is much smaller. But Kika will handle everything without bringing your phone to a crawl.
Kika is for someone who doesn’t want to have separate apps for emojis, GIFs and copypastas. It’s also a decent GIF keyboard for anyone who hates Tenor’s lack of an alphabet keyboard.
By itself, Kika is a decent app and is actually pretty quick at loading GIFs too. Its emoji database is quite large and should satisfy most people. It even adds stickers, face emoticons, and ASCII art for you to insert in a couple of taps.
Download: Kika Keyboard for Android (Free)
5. Hub Keyboard (Free): Web Search, Clipboard, Translations, Synonyms, Recent Documents, and Contact Info
No one expected it when Google made the best iPhone keyboard, Gboard (which can even send iPhone emojis). It was baffling when Google didn’t launch that on Android. Well guess what, Google, Microsoft just beat you to it. The Hub Keyboard is like Gboard for Android.
The Hub Keyboard performs a basic search if you type in it. It has a built-in clipboard for multiple entries to improve copy-paste on Android. You can insert a phonebook contact’s info without leaving the screen. It will translate text from one language to another, and you can choose the languages. It’ll look up synonyms for you.
And if you are using Microsoft Office for Android with OneDrive, it will also find your recent Word, PowerPoint, or Excel files.
The Hub Keyboard is an absolute marvel, but there are still a few flaws. It lacks some features, like swipe-to-type. The translation feature is buggy. The search feature doesn’t show you previews of the page. But these are small complaints for an app that is still in beta. It gets more things right than wrong. Notch up another entry in Microsoft’s collection of awesome Android apps.
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Pro Tip: Get Quick Keyboard Switch
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If you plan to use one or more of these apps, do yourself a favor and download Quick Keyboard Switch. The default mechanism to switch keyboards in Android is unnecessarily complicated, and this makes it easy.
Quick Keyboard Switch sits in your notification bar. A few taps and you’ll have switched from the best Android keyboard for you to one of the above. And in another few taps, you can switch back.
Download: Quick Keyboard Switch for Android (Free)
What’s Your Favorite Android Keyboard?
Most of these aren’t going to replace your favorite Android keyboard. But we’re curious to know which keyboard you use every day.
Are you in the Swiftkey camp or team Swype? Has one feature made you switch to Google Keyboard? Do you stray away from the crowd and use Fleksy or Minuum or some other keyboard altogether? Tell us what you use, then try these no-root customizations for Android devices.