The Best Speech-to-Text Software for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android

Edited by Ben Jacklin

September 30, 2021

With the best voice-to-text software, you can make a voice record of a meeting and then create text notes. This means no more missing information because you couldn’t write it all down. We’ve gathered some of the best speech-to-text software on the market for you to compare.

Program

OS

Best for

Price

Windows 10 Speech RecognitionWindows 10Voice commands and dictating documentsFree
Dragon HomeWindows 7, 8.1, 10Those who need an accurate speech-to-text$200
SpeechnotesGoogle Chrome browserQuickly jotting down voice memosFree / $9
GboardAndroidMaking quick notes on the goFree
Apple DictationiOS, macOSControlling Mac and transcribing text using speechFree
Voice FingerWindows 10Hands-free computer useFree
IBM Watson Speech to TextRequires APIHigh volume, single voice transcriptionsFree / $0.01 per minute
BrainaWindows XP to 10, the app works on Android and iOSPeople who need multi-language supportFree / $79 per year
Otter.aiAndroid, iOS, Chrome, Safari, FirefoxTranscribing multiple voicesFree
TranscribeGoogle Chrome on Windows, macOS, and LinuxProfessional users, like journalists or podcastersFree trial / $20 per year
Amazon TranscribeMeant for developers using AWSDevelopers who need speech-to-text in their appsFree trial / $0.0240 per second
VerbitRequires APIHighly accurate transcriptionsUpon request
SpeechmaticsWindowsBusinesses requiring transcriptionUpon request
Google Docs Voice TypingGoogle Chrome browserCreating text documents using your voiceFree
SpeechTexterGoogle Chrome browserHands-free typing of various documentsFree
TemiChrome, SafariAmerican English users who don’t need high accuracyFree trial / $0.25 per minute
Just Press RecordiOSiPhone users seeking a simple recorderFree
SpeechTexterAndroidFans of the desktop version who need a mobile solutionFree
Voice notesAndroidMaking short notes on the goFree
ListNote Speech-to-Text NotesAndroidQuick notes and to-do listsFree

Speech-to-text software: free options

You shouldn’t have to pay for convenience. That’s why developers have created speech-to-text software for free so these programs are accessible to anyone. You will still want to make sure to choose the best option that will meet your needs in dictatings and automatically transcribing your audio.

Here is some free talk-to-text software for your consideration.

OS: Windows 10

Price: free

Best for: Controlling your Windows computer with voice commands and dictating documents

Windows 10 Speech Recognition makes it easy to use voice-to-text in Windows 10 and works anywhere as long as there is a text input field. In addition to converting spoken words to written words, the software can also control various functions. For example, you can use a voice command to control the cursor within a document and select a particular word or phrase.

Microsoft makes it easy to get started with your audio recording and text documentation, as they have a useful tutorial page on their website, making this program suitable for beginners. Being built into the Windows 10 software, this is a great option when you can’t or don’t want to type.

Features

  • Works in any text input field
  • Honors voice commands
  • Comes preinstalled on Windows 10 computers or tablets

Pros

  • Able to transcribe speech-to-text in several languages
  • Suitable for beginners

Cons

  • Limited functionality
  • Requires “training” the software to improve accuracy

OS: iOS, macOS

Price: free

Best for: Controlling your Mac computer and transcribing short text using speech

For Mac users looking for a way to control their computer with voice commands rather than needing to use a mouse or keyboard, Apple Dictation is the way to go. It is built into the OS, making it easy to get started. This Apple software tends to be reasonably accurate and is based on the same technology powering Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled digital assistant. Meant more for controlling functions and taking short notes. It isn’t capable of capturing longer dictation tasks as an entire document.

Features

  • Supports controlling functions
  • Involves grid numbering of desktop layout
  • Is based on the technology behind Siri

Pros

  • Built into Apple’s OS ready for immediate use
  • Available customizable vocabulary and commands to allow the program to understand what you’re saying and asking it to do

Cons

  • Doesn’t handle longer dictation
  • Available for U.S. English only

OS: Android, iOS, Chrome, Safari, Firefox

Price: free

Best for: Transcribing multiple voices

G2 rating: 4.5 out of 5

Otter offers a real-time transcription service that uses AI to create accurate transcriptions of meetings or interviews quickly. It can recognize different voices, which is useful when recording a session. The company aims to be an enterprise-ready solution, and while it’s a decent option, the limitations make it better suited to non-critical tasks. The company offers both free and paid plans, with the free version being limited to 600 minutes of transcription time per month.

Features

  • Is powered by a constantly learning AI
  • Integrates with Zoom to transcribe video meetings

Pros

  • Recognizes multiple speakers
  • High accuracy levels
  • Real-time transcriptions

Cons

  • Takes some time for the final text from audio recording to be completed
  • Time limitations for monthly usage (maximum 600 minutes of audio recording)

Get Otter.ai

OS: Windows 10

Price: free

Best for: Hands-free computer use

Voice Finger allows you to control your computer without touching the keyboard or mouse at all. This makes it a great solution for people with injuries or disabilities. This hands-free approach also makes it ideal for gamers who want to control their computer for a task but need their hands to control the game. The voice-activated mouse controls include controlling left, middle, and right mouse buttons. Although it excels at managing the computer through voice commands, this isn’t a transcription service, so you’ll need to find additional software to avoid typing documents like essays, school assignments, meeting minutes, and more.

Features

  • Complete hands-off mouse control
  • One-step commands

Pros

  • Useful for computer control for people with repetitive strain injury sufferers or physical disabilities
  • Allows shorter and quicker commands than the built-in Windows Speech Recognition controls

Cons

  • Windows only
  • Not intended for document transcription services

Get Voice Finger

Best voice-to-text software: paid options

With paid voice-to-text apps for PC and other platforms, you can expect more advanced features that enable you to fully control your computer without requiring additional software to be downloaded. You can dictate your long texts, control your mouse and keyboard as well as your computer settings. Paid options are more accessible and convenient. The one thing is that with their cost, you want a high reward.

Here are some program breakdowns so you can judge which paid speech-to-text software is worth the leap:

OS: Windows 7, 8.1, 10

Price: $200

Best for: People who need a full-featured and accurate speech-to-text app for PC

Dragon Home is, like the name suggests, meant for home users. The company also offers more advanced versions for lawyers, law enforcement, medical professionals, and the financial industry. Users of the home version benefit from the accuracy and reliability of professional-grade software without the higher cost.

Features

  • Custom phrases programming for often-used commands
  • Playback feature to review dictated text

Pros

  • Advanced versions for various professions
  • “Speed of Thought” transcription with high accuracy

Cons

  • Resource intensive - not a great option for underpowered computers
  • Requires practice to adjust to the command functioning and how to operate them
  • Limited to Windows PCs and tablets

Get Dragon Home

OS: requires API

Price: free / $0.01 per minute

Best for: High volume, single voice transcriptions

G2 rating: 4 out of 5 stars

IBM Watson might be best known as the AI software that once went head-to-head with Jeopardy champions in a battle of trivia. What you may not know is that this software is also very strong for helping people conduct menial tasks, like transcribing your audio and shaping it into text. Using AI and digital learning, this technology applies what it knows about the way people talk to create accurate text transcriptions. If you have hours of speech that need to be formed into text, the IBM Watson may be what you’re looking for. Note, however, that the price reflects the advanced software of this advanced speech-to-text program.

Features

  • Cloud-based software
  • Deployable from anywhere
  • Understands colloquial speech and more

Pros

  • Fast and very accurate transcription
  • Can be embedded into other applications through an API

Cons

  • Pricey when compared to other options
  • Struggles to distinguish voices or understand controls from multiple voices

Get IBM Watson Speech to Text

OS: Windows XP to 10, the app works on Android and iOS

Price: free / $79 per year

Best for: People who need multi-language support with a guarantee of accuracy

TechRadar rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Braina Pro is, like many voice recognition software solutions, powered by AI technology. This means that the software will only get better over time. Upon the first time using this program, you may notice the learning in action element involved in its functioning. However, what may seem to be inaccurate text when first dictating to the Braina Pro is afterwards automatically corrected as the software adjusts to the voice it’s transcribing. The digital brain behind Braina is smart enough to understand accents as well as multiple languages.

Features

  • Multi-purpose tool for computer control
  • Very accurate voice recognition

Pros

  • Flexible and very accurate
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Primarily task-oriented rather than a “chat-bot” used for finding quick answers or simple computer controls
  • Limited to Windows PCs and tablets

Get Braina

OS: Google Chrome on Windows, macOS, and Linux

Price: free trial / $20 per year

Best for: Professional users, such as journalists, lawyers, or podcasters

TechRadar rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Transcribe by Wreally is a web-based service, which means you don’t need to download or install any software onto your computer. However, it also means you need an internet connection to use it. While the interface and design layout are quite simplistic, Transcribe earns kudos from people who can rely on it even when they have a poor internet connection. The software offers the ability to transcribe existing recordings and live dictation. This means you can upload a recording you made in the past, which helps for attending meetings, lectures, interviews, or important speeches where you can’t also bring your computer.

Features

  • Accessible for all computers
  • Able to transcribe recordings

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Highly accurate software
  • Good multi-language support

Cons

  • Requires annual subscription or advanced subscriptions, which include annual plus hourly costs
  • Requires an internet connection to use

Get Transcribe

OS: Meant for developers using AWS

Price: free trial / $0.0240 per second

Best for: Developers who need to add speech-to-text to their apps

G2 rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Amazon Transcribe was made for app developers who wanted to incorporate the best speech-to-text software capabilities into their products. Amazon claims their transcription service is ideal for writing customer phone calls, creating automatic subtitles, and other uses that require turning spoken words into text. The service offers real-time transcription as well as the ability to transcribe pre-recorded audio.

Features

  • Recognizes multiple voices
  • Includes time stamps on recording texts

Pros

  • API means it can be integrated with custom apps
  • Ideal for writing down customer phone calls

Cons

  • Adding industry or task-related vocabulary is tedious
  • Requires careful proofreading after dictations

Get Amazon Transcribe

OS: Requires API

Price: upon request

Best for: People who need highly accurate transcriptions in professional or learning environments, but not immediately

G2 rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Verbit claims a more than 99% accuracy rate, making it ideal for those times when accuracy is critical or when you don’t want to comb through the text to fix mistakes after it’s been created. Real-time transcription services are available, along with proofing and editing options, although it will take a few hours for the final version to be delivered. The service is used by court-reporting agencies, which by necessity must be very accurate, meaning it will also be sufficient for plenty of other uses.

Features

  • Very high level of accuracy
  • Real-time transcription

Pros

  • Easy to operate
  • Cost-effective compared to other solutions
  • Good customer service

Cons

  • Delays in receiving final transcribed text with proofing
  • Proofing is not automated, which leaves room for human error and possible delays in delivery

Get Verbit

OS: Windows

Price: upon request

Best for: Businesses requiring transcription services

Capterra rating: 4.5 out of 5

Speechmatics is able to transcribe real-time or prerecorded audio and video files. It takes into account dialect and punctuation when transcribing and can handle multiple speakers and languages. The software was trained using speech from 40 countries. After processing tens of billions of words spoken in English from around the world, it is able to understand multiple accents. This makes it especially useful for international companies who need to transcribe meetings and have found other software unable to deal with the various accents.

Features

  • Understands numerous English dialects and accents
  • Enterprise-ready

Pros

  • Accuracy has been deemed among the best among the long line of voice-to-text products

Cons

  • Document outputs to a pdf, which can be difficult to edit or manage
  • Has trouble with mumbled speech, making this less effective for users with speech impediments

Get Speechmatics

Best online voice-to-text Windows 10 apps

Over 1 billion users rely on Windows 10 software on over 1 billion devices. With a high majority of computer users being registered with Windows, it’s important for these users to find the best audio-to-text programs that will help them control their computer functioning, use windows apps, and transcribe emails, documents, presentations, and more. These apps are useful for anyone. People with strains or disabilities, or who are often on the go, or regularly recording important sessions, meetings, and interviews rely heavily on these audio documentation programs on their Windows PCs and tablets. That’s why quality matters when finding the programs with speech-to-text for PCs.

Here are the top online voice-to-text Windows 10 applications:

OS: Google Chrome browser

Price: free / $9

Best for: Quickly jotting down voice memos

G2 rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Speechnotes is a browser-based app that works somewhat like a notepad. You just click the microphone icon, start talking, and your words appear as text in the browser window. It’s fairly accurate when you speak clearly at a moderate pace. Fast talkers will find it more error-prone, so speaking at a slower pace is best for this program to catch everything being said. This is a free, web-based tool ready to help you jot down your thoughts.

Features

  • Browser-based, requiring no installation
  • Very user-friendly

Pros

  • Easy to operate
  • Works well enough for home or casual usage

Cons

  • Functioning tends to be delayed and less helpful for fast-talkers
  • Requires an internet connection for use

Go to Speechnotes

OS: Google Chrome browser

Price: free

Best for: Creating text documents, like essays or blog posts, using your voice

Google Docs Voice Typing is a function within Google Docs, as opposed to being a standalone app. As such, it requires a Chrome browser on your Windows PC to be uploaded. The Google Docs Voice Typing works well and has the ability to decipher speech correctly when background noise is loud enough to require slightly raised voices. For slow typers who need to write an essay or web post, this service has the potential to be a real time-saver.

Features

  • Works well with distinguishing voices from background noise
  • Allows users to create long text documents without using the keyboard

Pros

  • Accurate and fast typing-to-audio speed

Cons

  • Only available in Chrome Browsers
  • Requires editing to add punctuation and formatting

Go to Google Docs Voice Typing

OS: Google Chrome browser

Price: free

Best for: Hands-free typing of various documents

Capterra rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

SpeechTexter is targeted at people who need to create documents but aren’t able to type or want to write texts without the delays or physical strains of excessive typing. This makes it ideal for people with hand trauma or those with dyslexia and other impairments that make typing difficult. Accuracy levels are claimed to be between 90 and 95% for American English users. The software also supports more than 60 other languages for recording and typing along to. Note that this is a browser-based program.

Features

  • Supports 60 languages
  • Very high accuracy for American English

Pros

  • Simple interface for easy operation
  • Quick and fairly accurate speech-to-text functioning

Cons

  • Only works in Chrome browsers
  • Punctuation will need editing

Go to SpeechTexter

OS: Chrome, Safari

Price: free trial / $0.25 per minute

Best for: American English users who don’t need a highly accurate transcription

TechRadar rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Temi works well when used in an environment free of background noise, and the person speaking has an American Accent. In other instances, such as noisy places with non-native English speakers, you may experience some roadblocks with the app. Designed for use with pre-recorded audio, the interface is easy to use if you have a meeting that you recorded and need transcribed, or a long interview that needs to be documented. Simply upload a file, check a few boxes about audio quality, and that’s it.

Features

  • Has a mobile app for audio transcription on the go
  • Works with pre-recorded audio

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Accepts multiple file types for uploading pre-recordings

Cons

  • Doesn’t work well with non-American English accents
  • Struggles to distinguish voices from background noise

Go to Temi

Talk-to-text apps for smartphones

OS: Android

Price: free

Best for: Making quick notes on the go

Google Play rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Gboard is a keyboard app for Android users that offers increased functionality when compared to a mobile device’s built-in touchscreen keyboard. Voice typing, as Google calls it, allows you to compose hands-free text messages or notes. The app also adds swipe functionality to the keyboard for ease of typing.

Features

  • Easily writes dictated texts and short messages
  • Includes a translate function

Pros

  • Allows convenient texting and note-taking without requiring touchscreen keyboard tapping, which can often be challenging for typing

Cons

  • Does not fully understand slang language or colloquialisms, which are often included in text messaging
  • Commonly experiences delays or lags in recording audio and writing the text

Get Gboard

OS: iOS

Price: free

Best for: iPhone users seeking a simple recorder

Apple App Store rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is a simple app that uses your phone’s built-in microphone to record audio. As the name says, it is easy to use as it just includes a record button that you tap to capture speech. The app then creates a text transcription of the dictation. The app also backs up files in iCloud.

Features

  • Works with Apple Watch
  • Can edit audio-to-text results in the app

Pros

  • Simple to operate
  • Creates iCloud backups

Cons

  • Not 100% accurate when recording audio and turning to text
  • Punctuation needs to be dictated, which adds more time to the process

Get Just Press Record

OS: Android

Price: free

Best for: Fans of the desktop version who need a mobile solution

Google Play rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars

Like the desktop version, the app is simple and easy to use. It tends to be fairly accurate, but the lack of punctuation means you’ll have to edit the transcribed text to make it grammatically correct. There may still be some flaws in the system, as users have reported a tendency for the app to crash and delete their files. When it works, however, it can help with accurately transcribing speech.

Features

  • Uses Google’s voice-to-text engine

Pros

  • Good for quick notes to yourself
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Tends to crash or delete files occasionally
  • Advertisements on the program can be intrusive

Get SpeechTexter

OS: Android

Price: free

Best for: Making short notes on the go

Google Play rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Voice Notes is meant for short recordings and is ideal for capturing ideas on the go. This makes it a good option for creatives who need to record thoughts on the go with their voice quickly but need the idea written down as well. The app also includes an option to set reminders, making it operate similarly to an alarm clock for meeting or event reminders. The app also has an option to share notes with people through social networks or email.

Features

  • Intuitive interface
  • Reminder options
  • Sharing notes via social media

Pros

  • Accurate speech recognition
  • Works well as a quick way to capture ideas and notes

Cons

  • Stops recording after a short pause in speaking
  • Can experience delays or lags in registering audio and turning to text

Get Voice notes

OS: Android

Price: free

Best for: Quick notes and to-do lists

Google Play rating: 4.1 out of 5

ListNote, like the name implies, works best for tasks such as list-making and jotting down quick ideas. The interface makes organizing or categorizing notes relatively easy, and notes can be color-coded to easily find them later. Because it’s made as a note-taking app and optimized for shorter text lengths, it’s not a good choice for dictating more extended texts.

Features

  • Password protection
  • Color-coding notes for better navigation

Pros

  • Easy to quickly make notes
  • Good speech recognition

Cons

  • Ads on the app can be distracting
  • Has a tendency to crash

Get ListNote Speech-to-Text Notes

Conclusion: what to look for in a speech-to-text app

We hope that this review has helped you find whatever fits your needs. In any case, here are some things to look for in a speech-to-text app:

Language support: the program must recognize the language and dialect of speakers to make the recording possible in the first place.

Usability: the app should be simple enough to control it without hindrances to a call or conference you are having.

Features: check the official app descriptions to see what extra functions it might have if you need any.

User reviews: user reviews may highlight some bugs or issues you might run into.

Support: it is good to be sure that the customer support team can help you. So take a look at what other customers tell about time and quality of responses.

Ben Jacklin

Ben is a writer from the UK with qualifications in Media and Music Technology, he specialises in software reviews and tutorials. Ben has been blogging about media and tech subjects since he was a teenager from his base in the East of England.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Movavi Screen Recorder does not allow capture of copy-protected video and audio streams. Learn more

Frequently asked questions

What is the best speech-to-text software?

Here are the top audio-recording transcription and voice control software options for you to consider:

Free options

  • Windows 10 Speech Recognition
  • Apple Dictation
  • Otter.ai

Paid options

  • Dragon Home
  • IBM Watson Speech to Text
  • Braina

Web-based options

  • Speechnotes
  • Google Docs Voice Typing
  • SpeechTexter

Smartphone options

  • Gboard
  • Just Press Record
  • Voice notes

What is the best free speech-to-text software?

These are the top choices for this software that won’t cost you a penny:

  • Windows 10 Speech Recognition
  • Apple Dictation
  • Otter.ai
  • Voice Finger

Does Windows 10 have a speech-to-text feature?

Yes. Windows 10 includes built-in speech recognition software that can be used to convert spoken words into text in any app with a text input field, such as word processing documents, web browsers, email software, and more. It can be used to control various functions, like moving the mouse around a document, or it can be used as a dictation device for writing emails, taking notes, or writing documents.