SpeakText FREE 20.0 Review

Use this app to convert any text to speech from a Web browser or document.

The newest version of iOS has a built-in text-to-speech function that will mechanically read any words on the page to users with learning or sight impairments. It is easy to turn on and works fairly well for most apps and all Web browsing. For those that have more robust text-to-speech needs or that want to communicate with other people through the text-to-speech function, SpeakText FREE is a potentially useful app.

The app's biggest issue is the poorly executed user interface. Lacking clear menus, busied by excess and animated ads, and not taking advantage of the space available on the iPad screen, it is not always easy to use. Finding specific functions or navigating through different sentences can be cumbersome, making long dictations harder than necessary. Additionally, the free app limits how many words you can convert in any one session. This is to be expected from a free app, but the paid upgrade costs $20, making it hard to recommend the app over the free tools included with the iPad. The only exception is if you frequently import "non-Pages" documents to your iPad or would like to quickly convert text, as you type it, to speech.

SpeakText FREE uses the iPad's technologies well to provide a much-needed centralized text-to-speech interface; however, because of a muddled interface and high upgrade price, it is only good for those with robust text-to-speech needs. If you don't use the text-to-speech functions often or if you can get by with the basic functions built into iOS 6, this app may not be for you.

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