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Two Days With Minuum Keyboard: A Hands-on and Some Thoughts

minuum keyboard

Minuum keyboard, a darling of the up-and-coming Indiegogo community, finally launched as a beta to backers earlier this week. We were lucky enough to be one of the first few to gain access to it and have since spent two days on and off with this unique typing experience. It’s still only available to backers, so the beta is closed. And since you can’t all access it, we thought we’d at least share some thoughts, show the keyboard in action, and then let you decide what to make of it all. 

For those new to Minuum, think of it as a Fleksy-styled keyboard that has been squashed down into a single row on your phone. You get the same blind-typing-rapid experience and can use gestures to add punctuation or delete, but with only a single-row taken up, the majority of your beautiful display can still be enjoyed. The Minuum team has simply taken the QWERTY keyboard, and squashed it. So in theory, you can type as you always have yet it all happens on one row of a keyboard. Accessing the number pad can be done through swipes up on individual keys, or with a swipe down you’ll swap out the QWERTY for an entire row of numbers. Punctuation is done in much of the same way. There are options to adjust the height, remove gestures, or even add on the traditional space bar and delete keys. There is actually a lot going on in a small amount of space.

After spending some time with Minuum on Tuesday, then Wednesday, and now Thursday, I have to admit that I’m not really the biggest fan so far. The predictably of the keyboard seems top notch and is in my opinion better than most keyboads, however, typing out a simple paragraph takes far too long, especially if you need to spell anything out character-by-character. Or if you type slang or words that aren’t yet in the dictionary of Minuum – good luck.

I’ve also found that while typing on Minuum, that I spent far too much thinking about the next letter I’m going to type rather than having it all happen naturally. That could be because this is an entirely new way to type and the style of typing needs to be re-learned a bit, but I’m not sure that’s such a good idea here. With keyboards like Fleksy or Swiftkey, you get the traditional keyboard experience yet they were able to add on ideas that make the experience more productive. I don’t see that being the case with a keyboard that was smashed down to a single row. At least for now.

Would love to hear your early thoughts.

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  • Cynthetic

    “I think baseball is a boring sport” Says the guy who wears a Braves hat in almost every DL show… >.<

  • Lam Nguyen

    I like everything about it so far. Except that it is slow and still lags. Once that gets straighten out, it will be so much better (what happened if we gave up on Android when it was slow and lags?). I like the concept and the delivery of Minuum and hope that it does get an update fast!

  • bydh

    Having used minuum for a couple days now, I’ve concluded that Swiftkey is superior in every way except for the screen real estate that it occupies.

    I see Minuum as a great option on galaxy devices with the multi-window option, where you have a note app open and another reference app so that you can refer to a document and type up notes at the same time. with swiftkey, once the keyboard pops up, it covers the lower half window. But with minuum, you can still see the lower half window.

  • MGardnerDA1235

    So it’s basically a touch screen version of T-9, but with qwerty instead of abc.

  • Voltism

    I still like swype the best.

    • Hoffman

      Agreed ^. I don’t find typing on Minuum terrible except when filling in a password or typing out something new to the dictionary, then it is strenuously slow. Find this keyboard more appealing to type on than Fleksy.

  • buckazui

    i got my beta running on a gnex and i have had a blast it takes some learning but im loving having more of my screen and the prediction is top notch. no issues with onscreen nav keys. it does take some learning but mostly it took me some time to stop thinking and just type like a madman and see what it gives me. its surprisingly accurate and definitely cool.

  • Andy

    I have it on my phone and tablet but I’ve tried 8pen, fleksy, swiftkey, etc and with fleksy m liked swiping of have gotten used to my and I don’t think it’s too bad. Entering passwords and user names is a really big pain though. I’ve learned to use this keyboard already adjusting to one line so it’s not too bad and is really great at correcting

  • Frettfreak

    yeah man. I try a lot of keyboards cause you never know, but swiftkey is the best IMO by a LONG shot!!

  • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

    I wonder if the learning curve would be just as drastic if you used say a Note 2 like device with a much larger screen? It seems like a bigger screen would give each letter a bit more room to “breathe”.

    • Hoffman

      I’m using it on my Note II and also my Nexus 7 tablet. The larger size does help, but the predictability is working out great nevertheless. I have not used it in landscape on the phone yet, so I don’t know how that feels, but I have used it in both orientations on the tablet. In portrait, it is great. In landscape, it could be awesome if one could swipe type on it.

  • Brandon Golway

    although I do love swiftkey and have been using it for years, the flowing does get kind of annoying with the predictions though since they’ll be off multiple times. Swype has increased it’s prediction engine by leaps and bounds since I last used it like 2 years ago.

  • aaron

    Call me crazy but I like it. I had to switch to using the space bar because swiping to create a space was annoying, but it’s only been two days and I think I’m probably 75%as Fast on this thing as I am using swiftkey. It learns any new slang I enter easily and quickly, ant if I type slowly and deliberately it doesn’t auto correct which is nice for passwords, which are surprisingly easy to enter, just hold the key for a split second longer and select the proper character from the pop-up.

    My only complaints are that there is no way to turn off auto caps (I have typing Lol instead of lol at people). I usually also do have to go back and fix a few words in each sentence I type, which may get tiring, but here’s hoping it can learn how I type of I improve at using it before I get bored and switch back to swiftkey.

  • john

    Swiftkey is my main keyboard. I love it. I downloaded this last night and I was playing with it. I like it a lot. I will be jumping back and forth from this one to swift key.

  • Cory

    So few comments about Swype.. is it dying? I started using it again when I got my S4, but it felt so laggy sometimes and the locations of some of the special characters drove me bonkers. I find myself returning to the stock Android keyboard time and time again.

  • Jaciel Raya

    This seems a lot like T9 from back in the day on feature phones…just revamped for smartphones.

  • http://twitter.com/savagejeep SavageJeep

    Another backer here, been using it for a day. So far I do really enjoy it it. Needs a voice typing key and passwords are a pain. Other than that I think it can be great with some momentum behind it.

  • Michael Pahl

    Stock 4.2.2 best keyboard ever. Minuum is great but no quick access to voice typing is killer. takes far too long.

  • Blue Sun

    I would love to see a Dvorak keyboard with predictive text &/or spell check features would be welcome on Google Play App Store. QWERTY was purposely designed to be as inefficient as possible.

  • JMonkeYJ

    i’m not sure if this is just me, but my touchscreen typing technique is very different from Kellex’s. i type what i want as quickly as possible without worrying about what is actually written, then go back and alter any words that were incorrectly predicted (usually just involves tapping each one and selecting the correct alternative). i wonder how this keyboard would work with that technique. i find it to be very efficient for virtual keyboard typing.

  • Nadora

    I always come back to Swype in the end. Tried Fleksy and really got irritated by the frequent swipes to insert a space.

  • Rickerbilly

    I am a backer and and tried it on my Note 2 yesterday… I was back on Swiftkey in an hour. I don’t have the patience to relearn to type just to save 3/4 inch screen space. I really like the concept but it took me three times or more as long to type a sentence. Great concept, frustrating transition to say the least.

  • GawkerRedesignSucks

    The swipe to insert a space method is inefficient. The need to find a better way to do that. Also, I use numbers and smilies to frequently to roll with this.

    • Hoffman

      You can add in a spacebar in settings.

  • Michael Persico

    MLB > NBA

  • litobirdy

    I’ll stick to Swype, although ny dictionary erasing every few weeks is getting annoying

  • aaronfg

    So far I find it’s fine for things like chatting and whatnot. It’s the worst when it comes to typing passwords and email addresses. But with the email addresses at least you can know that once you’ve slow typed it in 1 time it will be remembered in the dictionary.

    So it’s just something that would be less of an issue later on after it has learned more.

  • beaumac

    Typing names and addresses takes waaaaay too long. I love the concept but it is just way to slow compared to swiftkey. I would rank this behind SK and Fleksy in terms of speed and overall usability.

  • Chris Batson

    i’ve always used swiftkey but it has been lagging my N7, gnex and now my S4 pretty badly lately. I like fleksy, tried minuum and hated it. But after maxing out the keyboard size it’s actually not bad. the predictions are pretty good.

    • JMonkeYJ

      yeah that always annoyed me with SK…how it slows with age. i’m always excited for new keyboards, but still haven’t found a better option than stock Android.

  • Avery Dejuan Herron

    i’d like to try this but where do I get it

  • Salazar Slytherin

    Actually everyone can get it. I didn’t back the keyboard and could download the apk from the Internet and am able to use it.

    • drparty

      I haven’t found the apk yet…

  • Droidguy

    I installed it last night, and after a couple minutes of practice I love it. I found it to be really intuitive and much smoother than swiftkey on my gnex

  • Taylor Abrahamson

    This looks awful!!! Yikes!

  • brkshr

    I just can’t get away from swyping or gesture typing. I barely have to look at my keyboard now. If I have to peck at the keys more than once to type one word, that keyboard is just not for me.

  • Weber

    The idea is a good one, but I don’t see how the keyboard takes up enough of your screen to warrant something like this. Stock keyboard is good enough for me.

  • Jon Berg

    Stock S4 keyboard – I don’t spend much time needing to see my screen when I’m typing or needing to see a keyboard when I’m consuming what’s on my screen. Neat idea but not really a solution for any problem I have and swyping is just so convenient.

    • Damon C. Walden

      I like that in the last couple of years the “y” has irreversibly replaced the “i” in the word swipe… Now all gesture input is swyping, like all cotton swabs get called Qtips. And yeah I know, blah blah blah, no one cares what I think. Wah /sarcasm

  • picaso86

    I’ve tried to use every single keyboard available out there and I find myself going back to SwiftKey… The fact that I can type in English, Spanish and Portuguese at the same time without switching between languages is a BIG plus for me.

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      THIS. I switch between English/Spanish/French so much I cannot stand having to keep selecting a new language. Until another keyboard does this with the prediction algorithm of SwiftKey, no thank you.

  • Joe Staff

    I could see this being a horrific experience with on screen nav buttons. I would hit the home, back and recents key all the time.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Haven’t tried it yet on the Nexus 4, but would tend to agree now that mention it.

      • Stephen Bain

        I have tried it on the nexus 4 but I actually haven’t hit the nav buttons once! Maybe I’m just lucky

    • Jerrod Schultz

      I’ve been using it on the Galaxy Nexus for the past 2 days and haven’t encountered that problem yet. I also added the space bar, which may have helped?

  • loony2nz

    wow..that looks clunky and unintuitive. Talk about reprogramming your brain. swiftkey or swype require no brain retraining.

  • Bionic

    SwiftKey

  • Greg Abbate

    I have had it for almost 2 days now. I just can’t get into it. Great idea but not practical. Takes me 4 times as long to type out a simple sentence. It’s not as simple as taking a QWERTY keyboard and squishing it into 1 row. I almost felt like my brain and hands were fighting with each other. Maybe if you spent a good 6 months with this thing, you would become a pro. I am not willing to invest a gigantic learning curve needed.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Feel the exact same way.

    • Justin Foster

      Same feeling here. It seemed like such a great idea, and it’s noble, but just not practical. I guess it was the great advertising videos.

  • normmcgarry

    Stock.

    • Conquerus

      I switched from Swiftkey to stock a couple weeks ago (when Google Keyboard became its own app) and was surprised to find it was as good, or possibly even better, than Swiftkey.