A keyboard that relies purely on gestures which makes typing on your smartphone hard work, but rewarding when mastered.
None, app is free.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
The QWERTY layout has become the norm when we think of keyboards, however is it the optimal solution when it comes to smartphones? Novakey offers something different, so let’s put it through its paces.
NovaKey is a very different type of keyboard and relies heavily on gestures to make your typing experience a pleasurable one. The letters are arranged in segments around a central circle. In each of these six segments are 4-5 letters that are arranged carefully so that typing is easy and both hands can be used. There is a main letter in each of these segments and through gestures the other letters can be accessed and used. It will seem very confusing at first, but after putting enough time into practicing the keyboard will feel fluid and natural.
During the tutorial process you are guided through how the keyboard works and the extra features available to you. One of the stand out features is the ability to move the position of the text cursor. This is done in a way that reminds me of the iPod scroll wheel. You move your finger in a circular motion around the central circle to move either left or right depending on which way you rotate. This allows you to easily move back to correct a spelling mistake or to change a word. This feature also works for deleting words: the more you rotate the more you delete.
There are also a few extra features that are gesture activated:
- After moving the text cursor, stopping in the central segment opens up the options to copy, paste and select all.
- Swiping right across the central segment is a space.
- Swiping left across the central segment is a backspace.
- Holding a letter will display all the possible accents available.
- Holding the screen with two fingers allows you to adjust the size and position of the keyboard to your liking.
Entering the settings menu displays a few extra features. From the menu you can change the colour of the keyboard, hide the letters when typing or when entering a password, vibrate when a key is entered and control auto correct. This is the most feature packed settings menu, but the best features of this keyboard are already enabled and need no set up at all.
However, NovaKey still has some weaknesses. I am sure much thought has been put into the positioning of each letter, but sometimes the keyboard feels overdone with gestures. This is especially evident when adding a space and doing a backspace. It is flimsy and does not work every time. It would be better to have an optional setting available for the addition of a proper space and backspace button. That being said, NovaKey is still in beta and we hope additional features are added to make the user experience even more pleasurable.
The keyboard performs very well and has features that make it stand out compared to other keyboards. This keyboard is definitely for those seeking a replacement for their traditional QWERTY layout keyboards, but the features and gestures makes this a good keyboard for everyone. Obviously, it will take a while to master, but if the tutorial below is anything to go by, you will be typing as quickly as normal in no time.
Innovative features for a smartphone keyboard. Some gestures for typing are good.
However, some gestures could be replaced with buttons.