Here’s the dream I’ve had for the iPad for a few years now: I head to a café and pull the tablet with its Smart Cover out of my bag and start to write. I don’t just mean write emails, but write little stories and blog posts over a period of an hour or two. I want to be able to forget I’m using a tablet touchscreen to write. I want to be productive and comfortable while I type.
Out of the keyboards available at the launch of iOS 8, I think Fleksy is the closest to realizing this dream, and $0.99 is a laughable cost to pay for the efficiency this keyboard brings to the iPad.
Incredible Typing Experience
Fleksy doesn’t have any sort of swipe integration, but it does have gestures embedded into the keyboard. You swipe left to erase the word you just wrote, swipe right to add a space, and swipe down to select from auto correction suggestions. Fleksy definitely has a learning curve because you can still correct the previous word while you’re typing a new one out, but it really flies as a touch typing keyboard after a bit of practice. For once, I feel like auto correction is working for me, instead of against me.
I also think this is the best fit for typing because it’s the closest keyboard for mimicking the speed of typing on a physical keyboard. Swiping with Swype is great on my iPhone but it’s just a bit too much screen space to cover on my iPad’s 10" screen. Touch typing with six fingers just feels more comfortable than any other software keyboard I have ever tried, and it’s proving to be more comfortable as well, since my hands never have to wander very far from the keys to make corrections.
The only major improvement I want at this point is easier access to numbers. I want to be able to tap and hold keys to enter numbers and symbols. At the moment these are all hidden in a different view of the keyboard, whereas other third party keyboards make these keys available via gestures. There’s also no gesture or button to hide the keyboard, which is a strange oversight.
Keyboard are definitely still a little unstable on iOS. Sometimes they’ll crash between apps or stop working altogether, but I think that will be fixed by an iOS update sooner rather than later. Even if Fleksy was the only one available at launch, I’d already be very happy. It’s leaps and bounds better than QuickType, and I love the simplicity of being able to pull the iPad out and write without any additional accessories.