Microsoft's Word Flow Keyboard Hits iOS: First Impressions
Several years ago, I decided to give Windows Phone a try. I sold my iPhone and picked up an HTC 8X. I loved the OS, but the app support killed it for me. I stayed loyal for about a year, then jumped ship back to an iPhone 5S. While Microsoft is still making a strong attempt at gaining market share with Windows 10 Mobile, it's also increasing it's presence on iOS. Having released native iOS apps for the entirety of the Office Suite last year, Microsoft is beginning to port over some of Windows Phone's best features. The first: Word Flow.
The keyboard was always one of my favorite parts of the Windows Phone OS. The spacing was almost perfect, it had a great look, and just worked. I rarely mistyped. Now, I may have bailed on Windows Phone too early to have seen the introduction of the curved, one-handed mode for the keyboard, but this is where Word Flow really shines.
Swiping left or right on the top corners of the keyboard goes into the curved, one-handed mode. This places the entire keyboard in the ideal hit zone of the thumb. Given that I'm now rocking an iPhone 6S Plus with a 5.5-inch screen, this has been getting some heavy use. I downloaded Word Flow early this morning once it hit the App Store, and it's now my default keyboard.
My day today was spent traveling. Carrying bags, walking, navigating airports, I was able to type far more effectively than I have been able to previously. When in one-handed mode, I did have tendency to hit the period next to space bar at least once during a text, but I attribute this more to my thumbs muscle memory with this iOS keyboard, than any fault of Word Flow.
It took me more than half the day of typing with Word Flow to realize it also had Swype. Once I made this realization, my texting became that much better. I am absolutely loving this keyboard right now. The combination of the one-handed mode with Swype has made typing a breeze. It is getting to the point where I'm not sure how I lived without it before.
My only complaint would be that the keyboard does not have 3D Touch support. I have grown very accustomed to using the 3D Touch action on the spacebar to bring up the cursor for easy text editing. I've caught myself trying to do this multiple times while using Word Flow. I find it cumbersome to lift my thumb up to the text to tap and hold for the cursor, especially with the addition of Swype. I hope Microsoft takes note of this and adds an update in the near future.
Check out Word Flow on the App Store now.