Voice Reader Web, by developer Linguatec, is somewhere between a browser for the iPhone and iPad, and a text-to-speech converter in the same vein as Dragon Speech. It also brings a lot of Web snippet potential along, too, making it a competitor for more comprehensive iPhone apps like Instapaper or Seesmic. All in all, our iPhone app review found that this iPhone app performs admirably, and though it won’t replace any of the aforementioned apps entirely, the convenience of having them all in one location is hard to argue with—especially for the two dollar price of entry.
Concept and Functionality
First and foremost, Voice Reader Web serves a text-to-speech reader and Web browser. The app is a browser in the most basic sense, allowing users to scroll, pinch-to-zoom, and quick bar their way through their favorite websites. There’s also bookmarking functionality, including integration with prefabricated Safari favorites: A nice touch if we’ve ever seen one.
However, Voice Reader Web’s real godsend is its ability to read any viewable website back to the user. All one has to do is slap the audible button along the bottom, and away Voice Reader Web goes, drawling out the text in the specified voice. Speaking of voices, there are currently 32 voices in 21 languages, each of which sounds pretty decent. In English, the American accent performed better than the British offerings: Likewise, the Canadian French sounded better than the Continental varieties to our ears. However, each of the online voices hits the spot, save the occasional pronunciation hiccup.
Finally, Voice Reader Web comes with the ability to save your favorite web snippets for offline usage. Audio, HTML, and any appropriate media can be saved to the app’s folder for review at any given point in time, putting Voice Reader Web in the same boat as Instapaper. It’s a fully functional option, and though it’s not quite as seamless as the aforementioned iOS classic, it’s a great addition to an already feature-rich package.
Graphics and Layout
All in all, Voice Reader Web looks pretty fantastic on both the iPhone and iPad. We preferred the iPad experience, as the app really shines with the extra screen real estate, but both flavors will get the job done. We had no problem navigating the app’s menus, and we found the text-to-speech functionality largely efficacious: Getting the app to read whole sites was sometimes a pain, but we could always select text for reading back without any issue.
Voice Reader Web is appropriately priced, clocking in at $1.99 in the App Store. For that money, users can enjoy a smattering of Web functionality on both the iPhone and iPad. The text-to-speech is the real kicker here, while the extras are more of icing on the cake. All in all, it’s a pleasant offering, and one that’s worth the price of entry.
Voice Reader Web requires iOS 4.2 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone app reviews rating: