Review: LexSpell Spelling Checker v. 2.0 For BlackBerry

lexspell1.jpgLexSpell Spelling Checker v. 2.0 For BlackBerry
Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆ 8.5/10
OTA Link: mobile.beiks.com
Desktop Link: blackberry.beiks.com/spellchecker.asp
Cost: free / $10
Compatibility: Confirmed on 8700 and 8800 devices

For all of you BlackBerry users who do not have a 8300 or 8830 with built in spell checking this is the solution for BlackBerry thumb spelling mistakes. I can’t even count how many times I have sent out an email with a minor spelling mistake due to hitting the wrong key. I was looking for a fix and our good friends at BEIKS have provided plebeians like me with a solution. LexSpell is a spell checker that resides on your device so you do not have to have reception or wait for a server to spell check your emails. BEIKS are currently leaving it up to users to decide if they want to pay for the application. You can use the full application at no cost but you will get a registration nag screen every time you complete spell checking an email. If you support BEIKS with a registration of $10 this nag screen goes away. Read the review after the jump.

Installation: The install completed with no problems over the air by going to the link above. The download is not that big considering it has a full spell checking dictionary in there. You first have to download the spell checking application and then download the languages that you wish to spell check. (NOTE: When we upgraded from version 1.5 to 2.0 of LexSpell we lost our custom dictionary and had to register again so be aware of that when you upgrade.) Currently they have both British and American English, European French, Classical German, Italian, European Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. Once you install both of these you will notice a new icon on your homescreen that allows you to spell check whatever you wish. You have to click on that icon to be able to reach the configuration menu. Now on to the details.

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Configuration: There are quite a few configuration options that actually give LexSpell a leg up on RIM’s new native spell checker. You can see them in the screenshot above. This gives you some good configuration such as ignoring caps or domain names and words with numbers. The only option I missed is the ability to set the spell checker to check every email before you send it out. I have spoken to BEIKS about it and they told me that RIM does not provide an API to accomplish this even though they do have support for it in the new RIM spell checker. There is an option to autosend or be prompted to confirm autosending the email after you manually check an email but neither of these options worked on our 8800 test device. The option to add spell checking to the memopad works well but I have not found a way to spell check calendar or task notes.

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You can also remove words, but not add words to your custom dictionary through the configuration menu. You can also check any text that you wish by typing it in the screen provided when you open the LexSpell program and then copy and paste it back into other programs. I find this useful for calendar invitation notes and for tasks. The program also lets you specify the dictionary that you wish to use for spellchecking. You can choose up to 3 in this version.

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Interface: Now the most useful part about LexSpell is spell checking your emails. You do this by clicking the menu button after you finish writing the email and select LexSpell. You will then be quickly taken to another screen that will offer you suggestions for every word that is misspelled. Sadly this spell checking is not done inline like RIM’s new native spell checker on the 8300 and 8830 devices. The spell checking is quite accurate and fixed 95% of my spelling mistakes. It offers you many suggestions for commonly misspelled words. I tried tricking it a few times but most of the time it worked like a charm. As you can see above common websites are not included in the dictionary, like Yahoo and eBay. I found that LexSpell provided me with more suggestions than the native RIM spell checker on the 8300. You also have the option to add words to your custom dictionary so that they will not be caught in the spell checker again. You can always remove these entries later as I mentioned above. My only gripe about LexSpell is that according to its changelog the new version 2.0 was supposed to spell check the subject of an email. This did not actually work on the 8800 test device that we based this review on. We tried multiple words but none of them were caught by the spell checker. In defense of Beiks I tried it out on our test 8700 device and it did spell check the subject of emails.

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Registration: Registration is only $10 which is on the low end for most BlackBerry applications. If you do not register you can still use the application but you will receive the nag screen above. One thing I hope BEIKS will fix is the ability to copy and paste the registration code or even just retrieve it from the BlackBerry clipboard. Currently you have to write the registration code down and then type it into the appropriate textbox.

Pros:

  • Spell checking for your BlackBerry emails and notes without a server
  • Support for multiple languages
  • Custom Dictionary support
  • Configuration options to ignore certain words
  • Free for personal use (With nag screen)

Cons:

  • No inline spell checking nor ability to automatically spell check all outgoing emails
  • Spell checking of subject did not work on 8800

Conclusion: All in all BEIKS has provided BlackBerry users a fully featured spell checking program. The support for multiple languages is a real hit for me since I do have to write in Spanish every once in awhile and my spelling is horrendous. If BEIKS can find a way to spell check every outgoing email before it is sent they would have a winner on their hands. They should also try to find a way to integrate the application with the notes, calendar, and tasks portion BlackBerry applications. The speed of the application is vastly superior to other client-server spell checking applications and is free for personal use. This spell checker is a wonderful fit for people who find themselves having to send out emails with correct spelling. Especially if you have a suretype keyboard which is prone to spelling mistakes. Since it is free why not give it a spin…

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