VoiceDial – Review

On August 26, 2008

App Type: Uncategorized

VoiceDial – Review

Our rating:

By: Vincent Verweij

Version #: 1.0

Date Released: 2008-07-28


Price: 14.99

User Rating:

Before I get into the review I need to get this off my chest-

The fact that the iPhone did not originally ship with any form of built-in voice dialing is hard to understand.

The fact that the iPhone 3G still does not ship with voice dialing is ridiculous.

As we increasingly understand the dangers of using a phone while driving, not having voice dialing makes no sense.

And, as an increasing number of states pass laws requiring the use of a hands-free device, the inability to dial by voice is just plain dumb.

Okay, I feel better now.

The fact that I have to pay more to add voice dialing to my iPhone does not make me happy in the least. Moreover, the fact that the free SpeechCloud Voice Dialer app didn’t work for me and the $10 VoiceThis Dialer was even worse, makes me more than a bit frustrated. It was, therefore, with a bit of trepidation, and the suspicion that I would be throwing good money after bad, that I downloaded Makayama’s $14.99 VoiceDial. I did it because I think we need a decent iPhone voice dialer and I was hoping beyond hope that I could recommend this app to you. Can I? Read on…

VoiceDial requires training. Plain and simple. It finds and dials based on voice tags the user creates so it takes time to set up. And not a little time, mind you. Each number can have up to three voice tags attached and since multiple tags increase the likelihood that the proper number will be accessed it is worth the time to train it properly.

While the need to create voice tags can be a bit of a pain it does come with two advantages. First, it means you can attach any name, nickname or term to any given number. Have a pet name for your spouse? You can use it as the tag. Have a nickname for your boss (either good or bad) you can attach it to his or her number. Second, it means you only need to train those names you call most. The positive impact on the accuracy of not having EVERY name in your address book included cannot be underestimate. With 1800 contacts (and many having multiple numbers) I cannot imagine any app being able to accurately access and return one number out of them all, so being able to record my top few dozen is a huge advantage.

I recorded ten numbers and attached three tags to each of them. Unfortunately my experience with the accuracy of the app returning the correct name while okay, was not great. I suspect, however, that if I used the app for a while and did a bit of tweaking of the names that were consistently wrong I would get much better results quickly. I won’t be using it, however, but not because the app is flawed. It isn’t. I won’t be using the app because of the limitations with the iPhone.

Here’s the problem-

To use the app you need to press the app’s icon on your home screen. That means you need to (a) bring the iPhone out of sleep, (b)slide your finger over the screen to unlock it, (c) press the icon and then, once the app says "Speak Now" you can say the name of the number you want to dial. Then, if you are lucky, it will dial the number.

Now you tell me, how does that make dialing a number easy? How does that make dialing a number safer? It doesn’t.

My recommendation is this-
The iPhone gives you eight opportunities to add Favorites to the iPhone phone app (more if you are willing to scroll down)- use them.
In addition there are a number of$.99 apps that allow you to attach a single number to them and, when pressed, immediately dial that number- buy them.

It will give you immediate access to a few key numbers and almost immediate access to eight more. You’ll save significant time not having to train tags and you’ll save significant dollars not buying the voice dial apps.

If/when real voice dialing comes to the iPhone you better believe I’ll be getting it and encouraging you to do the same. Until then, though, this is the method I will be using. 

Quick Take

Value:  Low       
Would I Buy Again: No. Largely because of the iPhone’s setup more than the app but still, No.
Learning Curve: Media- not difficult, but time-consuming
Who is it for:  Someone who is in need of voice dialing
What I like: Voice tags and the confirmations are highly customizable. Good documentation.
What I Don’t: Almost easier and faster to dial the number manually 

Final Statement: I really wanted to like this app. Given the restrictions of the iPhone itself they seem to have done a good job with app. Unfortunately, it is not good enough for me to use… or recommend.  

Read the Developer's Notes:
Speech recognition for your iPhone: dial numbers without looking at the screen. Just speak to call the number. Accurate, fast and much safer in the car.

It works with all languages and does not depend on a dictionary, but it stores your speech samples and links them to your contacts. When you're on the go, VoiceDial lets you keep in touch even when your hands are full. Too many reviewers complained about the initial price, so we lowered it to $14.99.O U R   T A K E . . .

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