Voice Dream Reader - Is a Dream TTS (Text-to-Speech) App for iOS That Reads Instapaper, Pocket, and ePub
Voice Dream Reader - is a dream to read Instapaper, Pocket, and ePub on your iOS device
I saw Voice Dream Reader recommended when I was looking for TTS (text-to-speech) apps for iOS. My Instapaper queue kept getting longer and longer and I was just not able to read everything that I really wanted to read. I rarely listen to podcasts these days, and sometimes I just don’t want to listen to audiobooks on my commute. I figured iOS’ Speak Selection would be a good alternative, but it’s clunky and the voices don’t sound too good. It’s also not very comfortable to activate “speak selection” on a bike…
Voice Dream Reader is an ugly looking app that solves this problem greatly. It integrates with Pocket, Instapaper, Dropbox and some other services. It allows to download “read later” articles so they can be spoken in Voice Dream Reader. The integration could be better, I sent my suggestions already. For instance I personally prefer to delete read articles, rather than archiving them because in about 90% of the times it will never occur to me “oh, right, didn’t I have this fancy article about topic x?” Almost 100% of the times I will more likely be “let’s just type it into Google.” You get the point. I’d prefer to delete, or archive, but as the button falsely advertises, it doesn’t delete, it deletes from Voice Dream Reader, and archives on Instapaper.
Small problems like these aside. I really do like Voice Dream Reader. It can auto-advance (with an additional audible cue) to next articles, how many lines are visible, it even comes with OpenDyslexic. Best part are the purchaseable voices. There are voices from Ivona, Acapela and NeoSpeech plus the 36 free built-in iOS voices. Voice Dream Reader is comparatively expensive. The app is $10. Depending on the voice additional ones are $1.79, $2.49, or $4.991. I don’t like the ones for 2.49. The synthesis quality is really bad. I do like the 4.99 Ivona ones, though. Surprisingly the 1.79 voices come second in my preference. If you don’t purchase additional voices, don’t worry, the iOS built-in ones are not too bad!
I was hesitant to purchase this app because there are workarounds.
- I could generate MP3s and build a personal podcast out of my Instapaper cue on my Mac. This would have required additional work. I don’t like additional work.
- There’s a relatively new competitor on the iOS App Store that looks much much better than Voice Dream Reader, named NaturalReader. NaturalReader has a desktop background. They’ve got a free NaturalReader app to convert text to MP3 files. They sell a desktop version of NaturalReader in Personal, Professional, and Ultimate tiers. NaturalReader is free on iOS, which almost sold me on the product, but it doesn’t sync. To get books synced across devices, they sell NaturalReader Cloud. An inexpensive $100/year purchase. 100 bucks for a cloud? Don’t get me wrong, you get a ton of stuff with NaturalReader Cloud. Some of their non-free offline voices, OCR function… but 100 dollar is a hefty price point for “sync”. NaturalReader also doesn’t integrate with Instapaper or Pocket.
On the other end there’s Voice Dream Reader, made by an individual and independent developer. It may not be as shiny as NaturalReader, but the app is longer on the store, it has never even once been replaced by an entirely new app one have to purchase again, the developer is open for discussion, etc. That’s the kind of stuff that gets me sold on an app. Not a shiny interface (though that would be nice too).
Check out Voice Dream Reader.
I hope I got the price tiers right. ↩