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8

Review: SlideIT

Dasur software has recently released SlideIT for Windows Phone as an alternative to the traditional on-screen keyboard. SlideIT will not only allow you to use the keyboard in a traditional manner (pressing one key at a time) or you can slide your finger across the letters to create words.

Sounds a lot like Swype, right? There are a few differences with SlideIT that separates it a little from Swype. After the jump, we'll give you a quick low-down on this new keyboard alternative.

Installation and Layout


Installing SlideIT was no different than any other .cab installation and it is automatically included in your keyboard options.  The layout/style of the keyboard is your typical QWERTY keyboard. The upper bar is where predictive text suggestions appear and where you can switch between "ABC" (traditional input) and slide input. The "+" symbol is for adding words to the dictionary.

The bottom row has the letters/symbols switch and the Graffiti button (more on that in a minute). When you switch to the symbol display, you will also see a tool bar above the keypad.  In addition to Cut, Copy, and Paste buttons, You also have an Options button to access SlideIT's options menu.


While SlideIT's bread and butter is with slide typing, you have the option to use a graffiti input. With your finger or stylus, simply draw the shorthand symbol on the input area.  Graffiti supports 26 numbers and symbols but no letters.  Without support for letters,  the Graffiti feature seems incomplete.

Performance

It's hard to use SlideIT without comparing it to Swype. The slide typing is very similar with possibly the only difference being that with Swype, the slide line trail disappears as you move. SlideIt's line stays visible until the word is finished.  There are other differences such as how the predictive text appears and the shortcut list on SlideIT but these two applications are very similar in overall functionality.

I've tinkered with Swype and now SlideIT and slide typing takes a while to get used to. At first I had more errors typing with SlideIT as I did using the tap type methods.  After about thirty minutes tinkering with SlideIT, my proficiency noticeably improved.

The predictive text suggestions were helpful, especially when your slides were misinterpreted. It gave you a chance of choosing the correct word without having to hit the backspace button and starting over.

SlideIT has an interesting feature for text shortcuts. Such shortcuts have been around for years to allow abbreviations in text messaging to save time and characters.  The younger generation may not have a problem understanding what "ICCL" or "GTSY" means but some this is a foreign language.

SlideIT will recognize these text shortcuts and translate them into the expanded text versions. So, "HSIK" turns into "How should I know".  This feature offers a way to speed up your typing plus it gives us old timers a fighting chance to understand what their children are texting.

Overall Impressions

I'm more of a traditional typist when using the on-screen keyboard on the Windows Phone. SlideIT has potential but for those more used to traditional QWERTY keyboard it will take some time to get used to.  The urge to tap the keys can be overwhelming.

I like the predictive text options that include text shortcuts. Once you get used to sliding "IMHO" to type "In my honest opinion" it will increase your typing speed.   I also like that you can turn off the slide feature off and use the QWERTY keyboard in a more traditional manner.

The Graffiti feature is a nice alternative to the keyboard but to only have it available for symbols and numbers, it just feels incomplete.

Overall, SlideIT is a nice alternative to the traditional tap typing. Is it better than Swype? I've used both and would have to call it a draw. SlideIT may have a few more options but with regards to overall functionally, they are too close to call.

SlideIT runs $7.99 and a free demo is also available if you want to try before you buy.

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Comments

There are 8 comments. Sign in to comment

says:

"Dasur software has recently released SlideIT for Windows Phone"

Every time I read this line, I have to laugh. This is version 4 of SlideIT. SlideIT was out years before Swype. Even Shapewriter (not mentioned in the article) was out before Swype. Make your line say "recently released version 4.1 of SlideIT" and you are good to go.

Overall the concept of the keyboard is the same for all 3. Obviously, unless you download an illegal copy (or have one of the few phones that it comes on) - you can't buy Swype.

Which is best? It seems to differ for each person. I do agree that each keyboards seems to respond a bit differently - enough so that you needs to get used to one of them and stick with it.

wekebu says:

I'm liking that SlideIT can be legally purchased. I'm running Swype right now, an ill-gotten app intended for the Omnia II. It works and I love it, but it's a bit funky every now and again because it's not intended for my phone. Swype won't release their keyboard for sale to individuals. Why the heck not?

I'll buy SlideIT if it works well. Thanks for the article.

says:

SlideIT is unusable on my Omnia. I've used swype since it came out and when I heard about all the features with SlideIT I thought might as well pony up some cash for this great keyboard enhancement. Unfortunately slideit, extra features aside, is pretty much worthless on my Omnia. The predictive text is garbage it almost always gets the word wrong and almost as often instead of getting a wrong word I just get "??" I'm not talking about difficult words either, it consistently gets the easiest words wrong like, word or good. I like the ability to create shortcuts but that wasn't enough to get me to not use my illegal version of swype.

says:

SlideIT is one of the text input method for touchscreen devices which is developed by Dasur Ltd. The use of SlideIT is to enter text into Touchscreen devices. you can also multiply our writing speed after a few days of use. Its main features includes prediction, graffiti, on/Off line correction, shortcut, multilanguage and many more..

wekebu says:

Update: One solid day of using SlideIT and I uninstalled it. Horrible experience. It installed well, but using it paled next to Swype. I would slide a word and it would fill in a different word 50% of the time. Swype knew my word 90% of the time and if it didn't, if would offer choices. On Swype, if you tap out a word, it remembers that word. On SlideIT, I tapped out a word 3 different times and it never learned my word. Clumsy to use.
I'm on a Fuze, stock rom.

says:

The last bit is trivial - if you want SlideIT to remember a word, tip the "+" button on the status line to add it to the dictionary. Indeed, it doesn't do that automatically.

The short-cuts did it for me, that was really useful. I wish they'd be shared between languages though, and it's a bit annoying to tap out German words. And I've send them a few suggestions surrounding how to improve the shift-key. But from those I've tried, I liked SlideIT best.

says:

I have been using SlideIt on my TiltII for several years. I bought the hardware to use the slide out keyboard and now I rarely use the keyboard, slideit is easier to use than the physical keyboard. I strongly recommend this.