We previously looked at the best text-to-speech apps for Android, but it’s time to flip that on its head. This time, let’s investigate the best speech-to-text apps for Android.
Whether you want to dictate notes while you’re on the go, share verbal notes with friends and colleagues, or record a message for far-off family members, the Google Play Store has an app that will meet your needs.
Let’s get started.
Our first recommendation is Speechnotes.
The app’s best feature is arguably its punctuation keyboard. Lots of people find it awkward to dictate punctuation marks (for example, you typically have to say “Hi Mum comma please pick up the kids”). The punctuation keyboard adds on-screen buttons for the most commonly used marks, thus allowing you to dictate faster and more naturally.
The keyboard also includes a custom keys row. You can use them to quickly add your most-used phrases, such as your name, signature, or greetings.
Other useful features include Bluetooth support, a home screen widget for instant dictation, and offline note-taking. The app also offers continuous recording. Unlike lots of other dictation apps, that means you can take long pauses between sentences while you gather your thoughts and the app will keep listening.
Download: Speechnotes (Free, premium version available)
2. Voice Notes
Speechnotes is more geared towards lengthy dictations such as lectures or essays. Voice Notes takes the opposite approach—it specializes in taking short, quick notes on-the-fly.
The app offers two main ways of recording your notes. You can either use the speech-to-text feature to see a transcribed version of your notes onscreen, or you can save the audio file and listen to it later.
Additionally, Voice Notes has a reminder feature. This lets you set a time for the reminder, along with the type of alert you want to receive. You can also create reccurring reminders.
Finally, the app offers powerful organizational tools. They include customizable categories, colored tags, and the ability to import and export your notes.
Download: Voice Notes (Free, premium version available)
SpeechTexter is a speech-to-text Android app that works both online and offline.
The app uses Google’s backend. Therefore, if you want to use the offline mode, you’ll need to download the necessary language packs.
You can do so by heading to Settings > Languages and input > Keyboards and input method > Virtual keyboard. Once there, tap on Google voice typing and select Offline speech recognition. To choose the languages to download, tap the All tab and scroll down to the language you want.
In addition to basic dictation and speech-to-text, you can also use SpeechTexter to create SMS messages, emails, and tweets.
Lastly, the app boasts a custom dictionary. This makes it easy to add personal information such as phone numbers and addresses.
Download: SpeechTexter (Free)
4. Voice Text
Voice Text has one primary purpose—letting you send and receive text messages by voice.
The app is easier to use than some of the others on this list. It doesn’t require you to any learn voice commands—you just start talking.
Voice Text can also read aloud any messages you receive. As such, it’s a viable alternative to some of the best text-to-speech apps.
Other noteworthy features include:
- Custom commands: You can program the app to respond the way you want it to.
- Widgets: Voice Text offers six different home screen widgets for quick and easy notetaking.
- Active Hours: You can disable the automatic text messaging reading during certain hours of the day.
- Driving Detection: If the app senses you’re driving, it will automatically read your messages out loud.
Unfortunately, the Voice Text app requires an internet connection to work to its fullest.
Download: Voice Text (Free)
5. Google Assistant
Google Assistant deserves a mention. Like Voice Text, it’s not a pure productivity app like the first three on the list; it fulfills a different niche.
The virtual assistant has many features you’ll find useful, including location-based reminders, the ability to control your smart home devices, and a podcast player. However, in this case, we’re only interested in the dictation features.
You can use Google Assistant to make verbal reminders, create lists with your voice, and even manage your diary. The Assistant also lets you use speech-to-text to add events to your calendar.
To take the app’s voice-based capabilities to the next level, you should pair it IFTTT. There are lots of great IFTTT recipes for Google Assistant to get started with.
If you’re not a fan of Google Assistant, you could try Microsoft’s Cortana instead. The app, which has been available on Android since 2017, also lets you take verbal notes.
Download: Google Assistant (Free)
The core focus of ListNote is notetaking. It’s designed for taking short notes and instantly converting them into text. The app will automatically save your notes so you can refer to them later.
Don’t let the slightly dated user interface put you off. The app still receives regular updates and includes a bunch of powerful features that make it deserving of a place in this list.
Some of those features include indexed notes for fast searching, password-protected notes, encrypted notes, and customizable categories.
The app is free but ad-supported, with no option to remove the ads.
Download: ListNote (Free)
We’ll end with OneNote. You might not immediately think of Microsoft’s note-taking app as a dictation tool, but it’s great for people who want to keep verbal notes and who aren’t interested in the speech-to-text side.
OneNote even comes with a special microphone widget that you can add to your home screen. To use the dictation widget, long-press anywhere on your home screen and go to Widgets > OneNote > OneNote Audio Note.
Of course, Evernote offers similar functionality. However, since mid-2016, many of Evernote’s best features require a subscription. OneNote is free for all users.
Download: OneNote (Free)
Another Way to Make Life Easier
If you’re not used to taking verbal notes, you might find the transition a bit jarring for a few days. However, once you become accustomed to the new routine, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Using speech-to-text apps on Android is a faster and easier way to stay on top of your life.