Blog Post

Think the iPhone Keyboard Sucks? Think Again

picture-111One of the most common complaints I hear from non-iPhone (s aapl) users (and some who have them, too) is with regards to the on-screen keyboard. BlackBerry (s rimm) users revere and lionize their precious hardware QWERTYs, and people with landscape sliders from LG and others never stop rubbing it in. I’ve been a staunch defender of the iPhone’s touchscreen keyboard all along, often pointing out that tests have found typing on it to be faster and more accurate than even on a full-size Palm QWERTY.

Now I have some more ammunition, thanks to a test run by Crave UK. Apparently they have very little to do with their time, so they came up with ridiculous scenarios for tech performance tests. Their latest involved an Apple iPhone, an Asus Eee PC, and a Citroen C4 (which is a $1.47 million rally car, in case you were wondering). The task was to type “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” that old stand-by sentence containing every letter in the English language that I used to type until my fingers were raw in Grade 9 high school business class. Not so hard, right? Right, when you’re sitting at a desk, not moving. Different story in a rally car running at top speed and taking turns.

CNET has the entire amusing video of how things went, but I’ll cut to the chase: iPhone wins handily. Reason? The auto-correct feature (although I suspect the iPhone’s being a true handheld device also has something to do with it). Good thing, too, because I can’t count how many times I’ve been in a rally car and thought to myself, “This would be a great time to type out my resumé.”

22 Responses to “Think the iPhone Keyboard Sucks? Think Again”

  1. Moose Skinner

    I got my first iPhone a few weeks ago and in my book the auto-correct is the WORST of the lot. I have used Blackberry, Android, and even windows. The one thing they do that iPhone does not is learn what words I like to use and misspell frequently because of my ginormous hands. What the duck! And if I want to keep a word spelled a way that iPhone doesn’t recognize, I have to try to hit that tiny x and not hit the word or something else. There may be a custom dictionary on iPhone but I have not found it yet. I got frustrated enough with it to search for iPhone keyboard sucks and come here to vent.

    Not saying that iPhone is not an incredible device. I just really hate some of the ways it does some things and auto-correct is by far extremely frustrating.

  2. iPhone may have won in your book but as forautocomplete often times the damn thing auto edits and can cause quite a bit of embarrasment. Once I was writing to this girl her handle is sillihippi and freakin iPhone edits it to say sillihippo. To make matters even worse she was a little big so go figure how that lead balloon flew. Then and then and THEN the fxckyn Greeks @ apple won’t negotiate with adobe cutting me out of two thirds or more of the industry.

  3. iKeyboard

    I really want to like the iPhone, because it does so many cool things, but the keyboard really does suck. Don’t tell me I’ll get used it. After a week, I wanted to throw the thing against a wall. The auto suggest feature is not helpful, and forget trying to type a non-standard URL in the browser, with an alternative port number. It’s a nightmare. While the iphone may be cool, it’s definitely not meant for someone that types ALOT. I’m back to my Palm Treo 800. I hate a lot of things about it, but the keyboard is MUCH better. If you type long emails or in technical jargon like I do that, a touch screen keyboard will just frustrate you.

  4. Iphone keyboard isn’t so bad. Maybe you need some time to get used to iphone’s keyboard but after few days you start type faster and faster.
    Combining the keyboard with fastmail app (video) you get really good text edition experience.

  5. Spizzlepop you dumbshit. It’s: The quick brown fox JUMPS over the lazy dog! Looks like your the one with the 9th grade education now hehehe.

    btw-I’m in year 7 :)

  6. Xander

    I had a similar experience just yesterday.

    I’m an EMT and was in the back of an ambulance going to an emergency on a very bumpy road, texting someone on my iPhone. One of my crew members asks: How are you texting on a road like this?

  7. ALL phone keyboards are awful! It’s as simple as that. Im not sure which one I hate the least though… Nothing beats decent sized qwerty keyboard for me.

    Also it has to be said… the iphones auto correct hinders me more than it helps me.

  8. Yuan Ji

    Robert: I probably used a bad example. What I meant was that the auto-correct is useless when you accidentally typed a valid but wrong word. For example, if you want to type “far” but you hit “fat”, auto-correct is not going to correct anything since fat is a valid word. Having multiple languages on input menu has nothing to do with keyboard being soft or hard. The hard keyboard does make the screen of the BB smaller but you can easily solve that by hiding underneath the screen. Anyways, to me the keyboard on iphone sucks granted it is a great phone.

  9. Champs

    It’s true, typing on a handheld is easier than typing on a laptop in bumpy scenarios. Shocker.

    Let’s put the iPhone keyboard against the Sidekick LX. Both have autocorrection, but the Sidekick has shorthand, tactile feedback, and you can grip it with both hands and type easily on a bumpy ride. The iPhone is obviously better in other areas, but this isn’t one of them. I will give up a little bulk to have real QWERTY (and some battery life).

  10. Robert

    Yuan Ji, when the auto correct feature gives you a different word and if you do not want that, you touch your original word, and you will get what you want. The auto correct is actually a “suggested” word, which if you want it, you just continue typing without having to choose it by default.

    I like the soft keyboard for the simple reason that I can incorporate easily words and phrases from different languages including chinese and icons etc. BUT the most important feature of the soft keyboard is that you can make it disappear when you do not need it as you need the entire screen for another function. That the BB cannot do except for sliders but the form factor makes these THICK. And it only HIDES the keyboard, not make it vanish.

    It is a far superior technology. There is no technology in the hard keyboard. It will eventually be an obstacle to adding functionalities to the device, especially the screen size.

  11. Bruce A

    “Think the iPhone Keyboard Sucks? Think Again”

    Right, because my personal opinion of something is clearly invalidated by what others think. I suppose next you’re going to tell me that because other people think their MacBooks are super fast that my opinion of my MacBook’s speed (or lack thereof) is also invalid?

    @Schell: “Texting while driving is near impossible now with my iPhone”

    And thank God for that. Have you seen this:

  12. david in portland

    Dear Darrell,

    Please, please, please do not write ” … with regards to … ”

    There is no “s” in “with regard to … ”

    Thanks and regards (there is an “s” here),

  13. I have an iPhone and a BlackBerry. While I love both for various reasons, I can definitely type faster and more accurately on the iPhone because of auto-correct.

  14. I could never get auto-correct to learn anything, finally turned it off. It never seemed to get the least bit smarter.

    I do miss some semblance of tactile feedback on my iPod Touch keyboard. More than that, I REALLY miss the buttons my Palm had to take me instantly to the 4 main programs.

  15. Schell

    They should have given the phone to the driver for that test. Texting while driving is near impossible now with my iPhone because I can’t feel there keys whereas before, with my blackberry, I barely had to look at the screen as I did the entire message by touch..

  16. Yuan Ji

    Yeah, when you accidentally typed “vase” and what you wanted to type is “case”, tell me how to AUTO-CORRECT that? The on-screen keyboard sucks, period. Please admit your weakness, iPhone, and improve it!

  17. Spizzlepop

    “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,” At least your left ring escaped 9th grade unscathed. Where’s the s?