iSpeedReader – Review

On May 28, 2009

When I was in fourth or fifth grade school offered me a rather unusual course once a week. For an hour at a time I would sit in front of the small machine with a screen and it would display some sort of text, a story or news article either word by word or sentence by sentence. After seeing the entire piece I would be asked a series of questions about what I just read. The key was that over time the speed with which the words or sentences were displayed was increased and as it did my ability to comprehend text more and more rapidly grew. The result of that course was that I’m now able to read very quickly with relatively high comprehension of what I’ve read. It came in handy in school and means that, when on vacation, I go through at least a book a day.

This application takes that same concept and puts it on the iPhone.

It’s a nice piece of software with a clean interface that is immediately familiar to anyone who has ever listened to music on a portable device. On the bottom of the screen that there are four buttons and a slider. There’s a button to play or pause the text, a jump forward and a jump backward button. The slider allows you to select any speed from 60 words per minute all the way to 300 words per minute.

The text that’s displayed is shown in white in the center of the screen against a dark backdrop. This makes it rather easy to see.

In all, it works quite well.

There are, however, two significant limitations with the software as it currently stands.

First, it only displays text in portrait mode. It’s not a huge deal but it would be nice if you had the choice to use the iPhone in either portrait or landscape.

The second issue is a little bit bigger in my opinion. You can change the text that is displayed in one of two ways. First you can tap the settings button in input additional text right into the window that states "enter text to read below."

Fair enough but you actually have to take in the entire text by hand. Fortunately, you can also put the text in light choosing the URL. Unfortunately, however, this has to be done letter by letter and if you’re looking to input a long URL is absolutely annoying. This makes using the application more than a bit unpleasant, at least on this level.

Is enough reason not to use the application? It depends on your perspective. I personally find it to be problematic enough that I will wait for an update before seriously trying to use.



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Quick Take

Value: Nice software for $.99
Would I Buy Again: Not until adding/changing text becomes easier
Learning Curve: Low. Well designed!
Who Is It For: People who want to increase speed and comprehension when reading
What I Like: Easy to use. Works well
What I Don’t: No landscape. Adding text is a pain

Final Statement: Great potential. Just okay as it currently stands.


You can get it HERE for $.99.