The best smart speakers
More and more people are listening to their text rather than reading it on their devices. Academics and book lovers especially enjoy having text documents read out loud, so they can time and increase productivity. People of all walks of life can take advantage of text-to-speech tools to hear their documents, web pages, and more read aloud.
Intelligent Speaker is one such popular text-to-speech browser extension. It speaks in a human-like voice with real-life emotions. It speaks 20 languages and is compatible with the most common document file formats. The synthesized audio can be downloaded to listen to offline at the speed range of your choice.
With it, you can multitask by listening to books or documents while cooking or working out. Intelligent Speaker helps you work more efficiently—but it does have its issues.
Users complain about being charged after canceling, tech support emails have bounced with “email inbox is full” responses, and you can’t select specific text to read by the plunging. The plugin also takes time to start reading, and there is a delay before it begins reading out loud.
Still, let’s look at this popular solution and its alternatives.
Functionality and voice assistance
Intelligent Speaker is a popular choice for TTS because of its functionality. Its features include:
Reads in a human-like voice with emotional inflection
Automatically detects text on a web page or local HTML file
Speaks in 20 different languages
Works on PDFs, DOCX, TXT, and Google Docs
Downloadable synthesized audio
Listen offline if desired
Reading speed choices
People often ask for alternatives to Intelligent Speaker. Let’s look at some of the best!
Speechify is the #1 text-to-speech reader and a competitor of Intelligent Speaker. In addition to being free, it reads through docs, articles, PDFs, and email. Don’t have time to read your social media? Speechify will read it for you.
Speechify works in your browser as a free Chrome extension and can read any text on your iOS and Android device. It will also read Safari text content. No matter where or how you use Speechify, it will greatly improve your reading comprehension. For example, you can focus while you breeze through content at 2-3x the average speed—or as fast as 9x. Speechify’s OCR capabilities also allow you to hear any book page. Simply can snap a pic of with your phone, and have it read the text out loud. Of course, Speechify also comes with exceptional product support and ease of use with many tutorials.
Students with learning challenges additionally find Speechify useful. Study easily even if you have ADHD, dyslexia, or any other neurodivergent trait. Now, anyone with learning disabilities or anyone with visual impairment can easily plow through large textbooks quickly while listening to natural-sounding, customizable voices.
Are you studying a foreign language? No worries—Speechify can speak dozens of languages, including Japanese!
2. Amazon Alexa
Alexa is an incredibly popular virtual assistant. It’s known for its wide range of capabilities. People enjoy streaming podcasts, placing Amazon orders, and playing Amazon Music. It provides real-time information such as weather, sports, and news. Alexa is integrated into Amazon Echo Dot, Amazon Echo Studio, and Alexa Speaker, one of the best-sounding home speakers. These devices make smart home automation easy.
Each of the Alexa-enabled devices is affordable. They integrate with Amazon services making it easy to order groceries.
Alexa-enabled devices accept voice commands. These powerful smart assistants make many people uncomfortable, as they constantly listen in on conversations. That’s why they may raise privacy concerns. These smart assistants also don’t have the text reading capabilities of Speechify.
3. Google Assistant
Part of the Google home suite, Google Assistant is packed with a wide range of features. Its smart home technology makes your Google Nest Audio and Google Nest Mini work. The system can control your Bose speakers, which provide exceptional sound quality. It has an acceptable audio quality for a smart home device. It reads text aloud, integrating with Chromecast. But text-to-speech like Speechify is nonexistent.
Like Apple’s Siri, it accepts voice commands. It plays back on your home speakers. The Google Assitant has limited ordering functionality and can’t compete with Alexa.
4. Apple HomePod
As your HomeKit hub, HomePod and Apple Homepod Mini work with your iPhone and iPad via Apple Airplay 2. Essential to smart home integration, it integrates with all Apple devices. From the 4th gen, it can play any of your playlists. Apple’s Siri powers its voice control. It integrates with Dolby Atmos or your favorite portable speakers. Listen to your favorite Apple Music anyplace in the house. Use it to set reminders, get news, or do other common digital assistant tasks.
It can play Pandora on your surround sound system. HomePod lacks the power of Speechify as a text-to-speech reader.
Need to order groceries? The HomePod is probably not for you. Its integration with Amazon is nowhere near that of its rival, Alexa.
5. Sonos One
Sonos speakers are expensive wireless speakers known for multi-room audio with great sound. These Bluetooth speakers have great sound and are one of the best-selling home speaker systems. Sonos speakers are compatible with the Amazon or Apple sound ecosystems. They also work over wi-fi. Sonos One may be purchased at Best Buy.
However, Sonos has little or no text-to-speech offerings. Although considered a smart home device, Sonos has no ability to read text on a smart display.
6. Samsung Bixby Voice Speaker
Galaxy Home is required to use the smart home assistant Bixby. Use it to listen to your favorite streaming services like Spotify or Pandora. This mid-range speaker lacks the sound quality of many home audio ecosystems. It is not a soundbar, and its tweeter range is limited. It has almost no text-to-speech functionality. Speechify is still a superior alternative.
7. Harman Kardon Invoke
Microsoft’s voice-based assistant, Cortana, powers this popular gadget. Cortana is comparable to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. As your smart home hub, it answers commonly asked questions. It also plays music, makes hands-free calls, and helps you stay on top of what’s hot. However, its text-to-speech capabilities are limited. It may be purchased at Best Buy.
Speechify remains the gold standard of natural-sounding AI voices. Here are some reasons it’s popular:
Free browser extension that reads any web page
Easy to use and compatible with any text format, including OCR
The perfect assistant for learning for people who are dyslexic or visually impaired
Real people provide customer support. Never be frustrated with tech support again
Can speak in exclusive languages like Japanese
Speaks in several languages, including Portuguese, Vietnamese, Swedish, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, and English
Conclusion – Speechify is the best Intelligent Speaker alternative
Speechify’s functionality makes it the best alternative to Intelligent Speaker.
Its free plugin reads at 220 WPM(1.1x), and speaks in a standard voice, scanning and listening to any printed text. It saves your content across your iOS and Android devices.
Unlike Intelligent Speaker, you get a full feature set for a nominal yearly fee:
Priority support – Get VIP support and connect to a real person on the Speechify team when needed
Speed reader – Reads up to 900 WPM
Speaks in Natural voices to make your listening more enjoyable
Premium text extraction using cutting-edge OCR technology augmented by AI deep learning
It has comprehensive note-taking tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of an intelligent speaker alternative?
Intelligent speakers have several advantages over normal communication methods.
Emergency Assistance – This is useful for the elderly if they fall and can’t move. If they can talk, the intelligent speaker will respond and call 911.
Virtual companionship – Lonely and want to have a conversation with someone? Ask Alexa or Siri to talk with you.
Reach loved ones – Send a message to loved ones, no matter where they are in the house.
Reminders are automatically spoken – These virtual assistants will notify you of any reminders as long as you are in range.
Easy to find entertainment – We’ve gone over the best smart speakers. Want to listen to your favorite playlist or watch your favorite show? Just say the magic words, and your intelligent speaker will do the rest.
Assisting with common computer tasks – Need to place an order for groceries or turn down the thermostat? Intelligent speakers are always listening and waiting to carry out your orders.
What is the main problem with current speakers?
The sound quality may lack in many intelligent speakers. They may be subject to common speaker problems. People often complain of audio distortion, popping sounds, and (poor bass or treble).
Fixing these problems is easy if you adjust the output channels and lower the volume. Be careful, though. If you start playing at high volume, it may instantly blow out your speakers.
What are some of the benefits of intelligent speakers?
There are numerous benefits of intelligent speakers. They make the common household tasks you perform daily much more convenient. Say goodbye to family arguments at the dinner table. Just ask Alexa, and you’ll get the right answer immediately.
The Alexa-enabled ecosystem has good compatibility with many devices. HomePod is an Apple product but hasn’t found the wide user base of Amazon products, even though it is compatible with iPhones. Google Assistant is also popular and will make a good addition to your home ecosystem of smart home devices.
Are your hands full? They’ll make a call for you or schedule an appointment as per your instructions. Undoubtedly, these modern assistants are a valuable part of daily life.