iOS5 vs WP7 (mango) – Keyboard and Text Input

Standard

Text input is probably the most used function of a phone, and as such, has to be solid and well implemented. This review will compare key text input functionality available in iOS and WP7.

 iOS

  • Auto correct is very good. Auto learns new and frequently used words.
  • Auto complete appears but only on frequent or recently used words, and only one word is shown.
  • Selecting text, cut, copy and paste is the best of all platforms. Very intuitive. Text magnification is smooth and helps place the caret at the right place. Certainly the best.
  • The ‘keyboard’ sounds gets a bit annoying after a while. Good thing it can be turned off.
  • Keyboard layout is wide and uncluttered unlike Android’s which looks very ‘crowded’.
  • If you tweet a lot, the ‘#’ key is quite unreachable. You need to hit ‘123’ key, then press-and-slide to the ‘#’ key on the top row.
  • Text entry on iOS feels very natural and easy.

 Windows Phone

  • They keyboard when background set to dark and light.

 

  • Autocorrect is as good as iOS5. Auto learns new and frequently used words. Gives you the option to save words by offering a ‘+yourword‘ among the auto complete word list.
  • Auto complete is also very good and shows a list of 3-5 words depending on length of word being typed.
  • Layout is well spaced and supports tap-and-slide to get capitals and numbers easily.
  • When enabled, keyboard makes different types of soft ‘bopping’ sounds when typing which differentiates between keyboard taps, auto corrections or symbol selection.
  • There is even a special keyboard that lets you select a list of smileys.
  • Tap-and-holding the ‘.’ key provides a useful ‘quick access’ list of ‘– ! : ? .‘.

  • There is no magnification when placing the caret using finger. You have to tap and hold a word (like iOS5), and a caret appears above the word you’ve tapped. Then you have to drag your finger below the word to bring the caret unto the word and drag your finger to place the caret. It works fine, but doesn’t feel as intuitive as iOS5. (See video below where I demonstrate this)
  • Selecting text does not provide magnification either (not necessarily a bad thing!). Tapping a word will select it – this is faster then iOS where you have to double tap a word. The selection will have a caret which you have to tap and drag.
  • Copy and paste, while it works fine, feels unpolished. After a text selection is done, a ‘copy’ icon appears above the word. If you tap it, a ‘Paste’ icon appears, not above the word, but above the keyboard in the autocorrect list area. Feels disjointed (press above word to copy, press above keyboard to paste).
    There is no ‘Cut’. To emulate a Cut, when text is selected, you have to tap the ‘copy’ icon, then press ‘<–‘ on the keyboard to delete the selected text.
  • All in all, keyboard layout and text input in WP7 matches iOS in nearly all aspects, except for the rather ‘raw’ implementation copy and paste (and no Cut!)
  • See the video below for key text input functions.

Conclusion

Text entry is on WP7 and iOS is on par with each other, with WP7 winning in some scenarios by a hair because it has quick access to symbols.

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