It was less than a month ago when I reviewed Verbally (1.1.1), a TTS (Text-to-Speech) app for the iPad. Then, I already explained that its developer, Intuary, was working on a paid version with some extra features. Well, that version has arrived, making Verbally an application that has nothing to envy to the best of the competition.
The current version, 2.1.2, is apparently very similar to the previous one, but includes an option to upgrade to Verbally Premium that costs $99.99. That is, the application is the same, but with the purchase some functions otherwise hidden are activated. In case of having more than one iPad with the same user account, you have to do the update operation but you are only charged the first time.
Three more voices
I will not repeat here all the explanations about the features of Verbally. To know them, I recommend reading first the review published less than a month ago. So I’ll focus on what Verbally Premium adds.
First of all, there are more 3 voices to choose from: male, female and child. These voices are natural, meaning they are generated from audio clips stored internally by the application, and not generated based on basic rules of pronunciation. This is, in fact, one of the main differences between “economic class” TTS applications and apps that costs about $100.
Natural voices have much higher quality. Intuary has added not only a male and a female voices, but also a child one, something that I think it’s great. As I mentioned last month, the size in MB of the application (a number that appears in iTunes) is a clear indication of the kind of voices included. Verbally used to occupy 27 MB, and now it takes 203 MB.
For these three new voices, you can also adjust the pitch, the rate (slower or faster) and the volume. When you play a phrase, Verbally takes into account the commas, questions, etc., so that the overall sensation is of a high quality speech.
Apart from the three new voices, Verbally Premium offers some extra gadgets. The “Phrases” tab, which included 16 common phrases, has been replaced by two news tabs: Favorites and History.
The History tab is really simple: it shows the history –a long history- of written phrases, grouped by date, so that you can select and play them again. A button next to each one allows you to delete concrete phrases.
Regarding the favorite phrases, Verbally Premium allows you to grouped them into categories, create new categories and reorder them, delete specific phrases, etc. through a truly comprehensive set of options supported by help messages that appear superimposed on the screen.
On the main screen two new buttons have appeared: a “+” button which allows you to add the current sentence to favorites, and a resend symbol that lets you send an email that contains the actual phrase within the body of the message.
Finally, the word prediction system has been improved and now “learns” new words that you use –as names- quickly.
I really liked Verbally 1.1 because it was well done and, of course, because it was free. Verbally Premium is not free, but provides 3 good voices and some additional features that has been developed to be very comprehensive. The overall feeling is that Verbally Premium has everything you could desire.
The beauty of this system is that users can test the application and, if it really fits their needs, consider buying the premium version, which is recommended if you will use on an ongoing basis because of its additional features and the much higher quality voices.