WRIO keyboard for iOS/Android review: We spent two weeks with the funky hexagonal WRIO keyboard, downloadable now from the App Store for iPhone and Google Play store for Android devices. So, is the WRIO board a SwiftKey rival? Here’s our full WRIO review.
The WRIO keyboard was born from a successful Kickstarter campaign that finished in October 2015 and now it’s available to download as an app for iPhones and Android handsets. WRIO’s developers tout the board as a fast and error-free typing experience, so two of the Recombu team, myself and Toddy, installed the board on our Sony Xperia X and iPhone SE, to see if it really is a rival to the likes of SwiftKey.
First off, the WRIO keyboard’s design is unlike anything else we’ve tested. Each key is shaped like a hexagon, so the board looks like the old Blockbusters grid (RIP Bob), and as WRIO is designed to be used with two hands, the letters are arranged around two separate space keys in the middle (one per thumb).
It’s certainly a funky setup and bound to attract quizzical stares from nosy fellow commuters. Sadly there’s not much customisation for now, with each key set in stone, although there are at least a small number of different ‘themes’ (colours) to choose between.
WRIO offers a handful of advantages over many rival boards. For a start, the gesture support is a definite time saver; for instance, you can flick up on a letter key to capitalise it. We’re also big fans of the delete function; simply swipe your finger left anywhere on the board to delete a character, or swipe and keep your finger held down to keep deleting. Best of all, if you go nuts and wipe too much, you can swipe right to bring the text back. That’s a feature we wish all boards came with.
There’s also support for multiple languages, up to five at one time, with a decent selection on offer. These are mostly European languages, including Albanian, Finnish, Galician, Latvian, Slovak and Slovenian, but you also get Afrikanns and Vietnamese, as well as support for Canadian French.
However, for all its charm and good intentions, WRIO doesn’t cut it for us. After two full weeks of non-stop use, I’m only just building up a decent speed when using the keyboard. Learning all of the key positions took a while and there’s no option (yet at least) to swap them around if wanted. Even after a fortnight, I’m still not as fast on the WRIO as I am on a SwiftKey board, or even the standard Android effort. And while I love the gesture controls, it’s not enough for me to keep on using the keyboard.
We may not have fallen in love with WRIO, but that’s not to say it won’t be for everyone. And it’s great to see that the devs are listening to the app’s community, and even taking polls on which features should be added or updated. In this way, we’re hoping the keyboard can grow into something special.