There has hardly ever been a mobile operating system that offered customization options as extensive as those supported by Android, with even the default keyboard being replaceable by simply installing a new one just like any other app. And over time, the ability to install and use third-party keyboard has also made its way to iOS. We have seen plenty of great third-party keyboard alternatives for both these operating systems in the past, ranging from famous names like Swype and SwiftKey to relatively lesser known ones such as the recently covered Q4 floating keyboard. Though if you aren’t too big on Swype-like gesture-based typing, yet want to try something different from the stock keyboard that came with your phone, give Fleksy a go. At times misspelt as Flesky, it’s a keyboard that stands out with an eye-catching design, a powerful auto-correction engine, different layouts and themes, decent language support, handy gestures for quickly performing common actions, and even an invisible mode. In what follows, we will be going hands-on with this new keyboard that everyone has been talking about lately.
For this review, we are taking the Android version of the keyboard for a spin, though the iOS variant also works in the same way when it comes to features.
Several apps offer a tutorial in the start, and its importance can be truly appreciated in a keyboard. Upon launch, Fleksy first guides you through the process of enabling it on your device and selecting it as the active input method, after which you are automatically taken to its tutorial to acquaint you with its usage.
Fleksy’s auto-correction engine is pretty intelligent, and offers several synonyms that it thinks would best suit as the term that you’re typing, even if you’re making a whole lot of typos. The powerful gesture support may take some getting used to but once you get the hang of it, accepting suggestions, cycling through them, entering punctuation, deleting full words in one go, undoing automatic corrections, and adding your custom words to the keyboard’s dictionary will all be a breeze.
Want to type without the keyboard taking up half of your screen in an app where it’s important for you to be able to view a lot of its content while typing? Simply swipe down with two fingers on the keyboard, and it’ll switch to Mini mode, which is shorter in height. Want to view the whole screen? Repeat the same gesture, and the keyboard will hide from view, while still being available in mini size, letting you type while viewing the app’s entire screen. This gesture does need to be improved though, as it often took a few tries to trigger it during our testing.
Done with the tutorial but think you need some more practice before you feel confidant enough to use the keyboard as your daily driver? Why not do it while playing a game? Just launch Fleksy from your App drawer and start Speed Game, which lets you put your typing skills to the test and compare your times with other users of the keyboard.
Fleksy supports multiple languages, with a few available for download right away in the Languages section, and many more coming soon. If your language is listed but not yet available for download, you can tap it anyway and request to be notified when it becomes available. The Dictionary section lets you access the list of all the custom words that you have added so far. And the best part is that this list is synced using your Google account credentials, meaning it’s available across all your devices on which you use the keyboard, and even if you uninstall the app, wipe your phone or lose it, all your custom added words will be available to you the next time you install the keyboard on any device with the same Google account.
Go to the Look & Feel section, and you’ll be able to choose between the Dark, Light and Blue themes available for the keyboard, all of which look great. I personally like the Light option most, and it even matches my favorite launcher, Aviate.
In addition to the theme, you can also switch between Original, Small and Tiny size for the keyboard. Note that the Small and Tiny sizes here aren’t the same as the Mini mode discussed earlier; instead, they apply to all those modes of the keyboard proportionally.
Needless to say, it’ll be useless to have a keyboard with just alphabetic keys; you can access numeric and special keys by tapping the keyboard icon in the bottom row of Fleksy.
The Advanced section contains a few additional options that may come handy, such as toggling the autocorrect feature, importing contact names for auto-corrections, choosing whether a leftward flick deletes a whole word or just a single letter, fixing space errors, voice feedback, smart spacing, and swapping the position of Enter and Delete buttons on the keyboard (demonstrated above in the screenshots of different keyboard sizes). If you want to help the developers improve Fleksy, you can allow the app to send them anonymous data from your usage, though this option is disabled by default.
What impressed me most about Fleksy was first and foremost its design, and then the auto-correction engine as well as the handy flick gestures support. While I can’t currently type as fast on it as I can on the stock keyboard that I was previously using, reaching that stage will take some getting used to, and Fleksy sure does have the potential for it. I’ll be keeping it installed on my phone and active as my main keyboard for now, and see how it goes.
Fleksy is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store for free, but comes as a six-month trial, after which you will have to buy it with an in-app purchase to continue using it. You can download it from the following link.