High-quality text-to-speech app for Android?
March 27, 2019 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to start with long readings in a variety of formats (PDF, docs, websites) and have my phone read the main text bits aloud with minimal fussing on my part. Currently I use the irritatingly buggy @VoiceAloud Reader for this. What better options are out there?

I'm aware that the phone itself will do text-to-speech, but I do like some of the higher-level app features like the ability to save your place, to strip out extraneous menu/sidebar text from websites, to crop PDFs before reading, to set a sleep timer, to raise/lower tempo and pitch, to save a reading list, etc.

@VoiceAloud is super well-reviewed and I like it in theory, but on my phone it seems to be prone to mysterious malfunctions that I can't reliably fix (like randomly deciding that formerly text-having documents are now empty of text, pausing unpredictably, crashing, losing playlists, etc.) Obviously the web runneth over with top-10 lists for apps of all flavors, but I'm hoping someone can give a firsthand testimonial-- does anyone use an analogous app that runs like a dream and accomplishes most of the same stuff? (I'm willing to pay up to ~$10 for this-- currently I'm using the free @Voice, but only because it seems unlikely the paid version would be any better.)

posted by Bardolph to Technology (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Moon+reader is really good for text to speech of documents, but it doesn't do websites.
posted by lollusc at 2:01 PM on March 27

Not an answer, but just a caveat about managing expectations around anything running "like a dream": the barriers any text-to-voice application, whether it's TalkBack (Android's native screen reader) or something else, will encounter is bad/inaccessible markup and design - whether in pdfs or web pages.

For example, "extraneous menu/sidebar text from websites" will be a problem if the site markup is poor and inaccessible. Badly-structured/marked up pdfs will have problems (e.g., in a two-column pdf, continuous reading across both columns before moving to the next line). A great deal of web content is laughably out of step with even the most basic web accessibility standards, so that's going to be your main obstacle to lack of fussiness/seamless performance regardless of the app you're using.

Basically: garbage in, garbage out.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:28 PM on March 27

Pocket's read aloud feature has been surprisingly great, in my experience.
posted by Jairus at 3:40 PM on March 27

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