fast input on android phone
March 9, 2014 1:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm participating in a group chat on whatsapp. People are slinging the text like there's no tomorrow. How do I do this on my smart phone?

I don't spend much time on my phone doing chats or SMS. I got whatsapp specifically so I could participate in a group discussion. It seems like people must be on keyboards/tablets at the rate they are able to put in session responses. When I queried one person, they said, no, they use auto correct on their phone and they are pretty fast.
How do folks do this on their smart phones? I've got a mid-level Samsung running Android 4.1.2. I've tried using speech-to-text function but that's kind of slow and buggy too. Typing in one key at a time is hit or miss on these tiny on-screen keyboards.
Driving me a bit batty as I want to contribute. I'm thinking perhaps I can set up a VNC server on the phone and log in from a PC or something of that nature so I would have a full keyboard to use.whatt
posted by diode to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can type much faster with SwiftKey (especially if you are intentionally very sloppy and let SwiftKey correct your mistakes) than the standard Android keyboard.
posted by grouse at 1:53 PM on March 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I use Swype, keyboard app that lets you spell words without lifting a finger, and I'm pretty fast these days.
posted by smoke at 2:09 PM on March 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

bluetooth keyboard? (not suggesting that particular keyboard, it was just the first hit for an example)
posted by HuronBob at 2:17 PM on March 9, 2014

Don't know if my comment got deleted for being jokey or if more ironically my chosen mobile keyboard failed me..... Regardless just adding back the meat of my comment:

Swiftkey is great. It learns your predilections for typos and your vocabulary habits so it just keep a getting faster and it also just "feels" faster to start... Which I interpret as more accurate. Plus it's got a great free trial period and supports the "Swype" style too....
posted by chasles at 2:17 PM on March 9, 2014

I find the SwiftKey Flow (Swype-style) input most useful when I only have one hand free, like when I have to hang onto a rail while riding transit. When possible, I can go a lot faster by mashing the keyboard with two thumbs.
posted by grouse at 2:23 PM on March 9, 2014

I have an android tablet and the default keyboard has à similar function to swype with a few problems, like all the punctuation is hidden now except the comma, exclamation point, question mark and period.

Do you have the same on your phone?
posted by fiercekitten at 2:38 PM on March 9, 2014

Since you're considering using VNC: it would be much easier to use WIFI keyboard, which exports a web page from the phone which you can use to enter text which shows up on the phone.

(I use Swype as well, but much prefer full size good quality computer keyboards..)
posted by Baron Humbert von Gikkingen at 2:43 PM on March 9, 2014

I've tried using speech-to-text function but that's kind of slow and buggy too.

Have you given it a chance? I can type like the wind on a keyboard, so phone keyboards have always frustrated me. I dunno about Android, but my iPhone 5S voice to text has impressed me. It takes some getting used to, because I've never dictated before, but it isn't that hard to process a couple of sentences at a time, including punctuation. (I'm still at the stage of "building" my texts in this manner.)

(As to bugginess, just as a test, I dictated, "Mr. Wright is right [comma] and Mr. Wong is wrong [period]" and the text output was 100% correct. So bugginess is not something I'd ascribe to the iPhone. I can't speak to Android.)
posted by Short Attention Sp at 3:58 PM on March 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Swype for me. It doesn't seem hugely faster at first, but you learn how words feel after awhile and then it just goes very quick. I can thumb you're reasonably well but nowhere near as fast as I can Swype. It's also very good at figuring out what I mean even with very imprecise movements.
posted by Sequence at 4:03 PM on March 9, 2014

I Swype, aided by the predictive, logical text suggestions, which look not only at the word you're trying to spell, but also the sentence you're making. This means that often I can just touch the next word in the suggestions above the keyboard - sometimes multiple words in a row.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:09 PM on March 9, 2014

And that extra word, of course, I don't notice until after the edit window. Normally not that bad.
posted by Sequence at 4:17 PM on March 9, 2014

A usb2go cable and any usb keyboard you are comfortable with will max out at your top typing speed by definition.
posted by stuartmm at 4:45 PM on March 9, 2014

Thanks for all the suggestions, these are pretty useful.
posted by diode at 5:35 PM on March 9, 2014

I don't spend much time on my phone doing chats or SMS.

Then this is also partly a question of practice. When you started using a keyboard, you were likely slow, clumsy and error-prone. Fluidity arrived with repetition. It's the same for they keyboard on your phone.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:11 AM on March 10, 2014

I out-type most of my friends by using the built-in Android voice recognition, but it's not for everyone. It does require you to be loud and distinct, so it's not very convenient in public. And it does get things wrong so it does require your full attention to correct just like typing does. It's great for typing but isn't killer for mindlessly using the phone while doing other things.

I think the other key parts are: being willing to give all of your attention to the conversation (which drives me nuts sometimes, isn't the point to reduce the amount of time I spend communicating?) and being willing to make a comment even if it's a touch late. It's pretty normal in group chats/texts to have a branch or out-of-order response every minute or so.
posted by Tehhund at 12:17 PM on March 10, 2014

My chosen keyboard, MessagEase, is not only super-fast (after a steep learning curve, granted), but also has configurable text replacement for your most common words/phrases.
posted by timepiece at 1:19 PM on March 11, 2014

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