Comparison of iPhone PDF Voice (Speech) readers 2013


To get the pdf files on to my iPhone I find the best way is to keep them all in a dropbox folder and use the dropbox app to open each pdf with the application of your choice.

Voice Dream Reader (Just not for me)


Good Points

  • Landscape mode (+1)
  • Very Good selection of quality voices (+3)

Bad Points

  • Doesn’t have easy page navigation (-2)
  • Pages are all bundled together, with only the text from the pages displayed, so no layout of the pdf :( (-5)

Overall Score: -3 (I just don’t like how its just the text from the pdf without any layout information, this may be ok for some people however) Shame because the voices are the best I have heard and a huge number of choices!

Claro PDF (Highly Recommended!)

Good Points

  • A good number of different voices (with different accents) to buy, Scottish, Irish, Australian (+2)
  • Really like the word trail highlight, which highlights the current word being read and all the previous ones that were read in that sentence (+2)
  • Easy page flipping and horizontal scrolling of pages (+1)
  • Landscape reading (+1)
  • Tap to read (very handy to select where you want to read from) (+1)
  • Great navigation (can easily go to a chapter etc) (+1)
  • Can great and save annotations/notes directly to the pdf then you can use “save as..” to save back to dropbox! (+2)

Bad Points

  • Doesn’t pause the reading when you go to create a note (-1)
  • You can’t pause, its either play or stop (stop goes to the start of the page) (-1)
  • Downloading seems to continuously get interrupted if your phone goes to sleep or you change app (-1)

Overall Score: 6 Highly Recommended!

Natural Reader (Could have been good!)

Good Points

  • CC mode is a really good idea, it shows just the sentence that is being read out (+1)
  • Button to go back the the previous sentence/fragment read! (very useful when you miss-understand something!) (+2)
  • The interface is attractive and easy to use, easy to go to a specific page number (+2)
  • Horizontal scrolling and nice page flip effect! (+1)
  • Fairly good quality voices and a good amount of choice (+1)

Bad Points

  • Just seems to read letters rather than words for certain pdfs (using the same pdf tested with the rest of the apps! Unfortunately this makes it pretty useless for those books (-2)
  • No landscape mode (-1)
  • Interface bugs: play button doesn’t change into pause button when you switch page and it starts reading. (-1)
  • Doesn’t save position when changing pdf and coming back to it, pretty annoying (-2)
  • You can’t take notes while reading, annoying for reading technical books where you want to save notes then export them later (-2)

Overall Score: -2 This would have been a really good app if it supported taking notes and if it managed to read all the pdfs I tested with

PDF Connoisseur (Annoying)

Good Points

  • Free voices for a number of languages (but limited choice in total) (+1)
  • Really easy to take a note while listening (tap the pencil then the speech bubble), the voice will stop while you write the note and continue when you click done (+2)
  • landscape mode for reading while listening (+1)
  • Horizontal scroll mode (I personally prefer scrolling the pages horizontally (+1)

Bad Points

  • Limited choice of Voices (2 for each language, male/female) (-1)
  • The voices can be quite bad at saying very common words, would have been nice to download a higher quality voice as a in-app purchase (-2)
  • Annoying pause after each line, would be better if the pause was after a sentence, really interrupts the reading flow (-2)
  • Can’t easily just go back to the last sentence if you want to repeat what was just said, it repeats the whole page instead (-2)

Overall Score: -3 (The limited voices and the quality of the voices really lets this app down, the annoying pauses and the lack of effective navigation features further reduce the score.

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