Competitive review of talking email apps

  • A quick comparison of other apps you might think would read your email out loud in a driving safe manner:

    • iPhone Mail (does not speak)
    • Siri (only reads 25 subjects and senders, or your first email, no facility to interact)
    • Gmail (does not speak)
    • OK Google (does not read email)
    • Inbox by Gmail (does not speak)
    • Voice Brief (hasn't been updated in 4 years, does not work with Gmail due to authorisation bug, does not work with Exchange)
    • Speak It (does not work with Gmail due to authorisation bug)
    • SpeakMail (only reads out attachments, not emails)
    • Listen’N’Drive (only reads out new emails)
    • (no iPhone version, Android and Blackberry only)
    • Read My Email Pro (no iPhone version, Android only)
    • Out Loud app (speaks only the notification, not the full email content)
    • Talk Mail Pro (no longer works, removed from app store)
    • Reader+ for Gmail (not as fully featured, does not have driving-safe gesture controls or continuous playing)
    • Talkler (gesture recognition not as good, does not skip signatures, only displays text, full version more expensive - see * below)
    • Voice Dream Email (does not skip signatures, does not display emails, full version more expensive, does not support Exchange - see ** below)

    * Talker was the only other app in the app store that did the same thing when we launched Speaking Email, and we think Speaking Email is better because:

    • Speaking Email reads HTML email whereas Talker reads plain text versions only (and some emails have no plain version)

    • Talker attempts to use voice recognition and this is hard to get perfect - it often hears itself or interprets noises like moving the phone as commands

    • Talker keeps listening in the background after you switch away from it

    • Speaking Email has fewer commands so is easier to use without looking

    • Speaking Email's gesture recognition is more reliable (eg swipe to next works better)

    ** Voice Dream Mail was new in 2015, and it provides a similar feature set to Speaking Email, but it has some shortcomings including no Exchange support, no email display and no signature detection. As with every other app here you will spend more time listening to email signatures and disclaimers than content.

    But don’t take our word for it, you should try Talker and Voice Dream Mail as well and see which you prefer. They all have free versions to try.

Speaking Email partners:

University of South Carolina

Speaking Email users include:

Massey University
The Metropolitan Museum
University of Auckland
University of Sydney