Dork Review: Vlingo voice-to-text service

vllingoVoice activated functions on mobile phones are by no means a new development, and on my phone they tend to be sorely under-used.

In all honesty, I’m far too self-concious to sit on a train and shout “call home” into my phone. Almost as bad as those people that insist on using their wireless bluetooth headset at all times, even outside the privacy of their car.

Could Vlingo be the application to change my habits?

Vlingo is an application designed to give you voice activated access to various phone functions. To activate it, you hold down the touch screen button and give your first request

So I tested out the texting function. Speaking clearly into the phone, I dictated my message and Vlingo translates it in a matter of seconds. Brill.

Except the translation wasn’t quite to the letter. The results seem to have 75% success, and at times I felt a bit like I was talking into an automated cinema listings hotline.

The same went for the browsing function. Searching for Dork Adore kept bringing up a duck appreciation site.

After a bit more testing, I came up with the pros and cons:

Gains points for:

  • When it works, it’s great for texting. Very RSI friendly
  • Much easier to find sites rather than typing in the entire web address
  • Translation is quick – much faster than it was previously.

Loses points for:

:( The translation. It’s not 100% and it winds me up having to go back and change all the words that they’ve got wrong

:( Location. The application sits in the application section, instead of a simple one click access from the home page.

:( Cost. You have to be online at all times to use it, and if you wish to use the text function regularly you’ll need to fork out the £12.99 annual fee.


Depending on your level of laziness, this will either save you a ton of time or seem like a waste of it. Had the translation worked perfectly, I’d have fallen in the former group, but as it is I think this will only be a gimmick for the pub. Or a tool to help me text after the pub.

Update: You can now get Vlingo on the iPhone in UK English.

Emma Cossey

Emma is our resident fashion and social media specialist, having worked as a blogger, editor and writer on a number of fashion and beauty websites. She writes regularly for The Bag Lady, and has previously written for The Times Online, Shoewawa and Jorg & Olif among others.

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  1. Ben Rose says

    Google Voice search on Android offers much of this functionality for free, I believe it’s also been ported to iPhone now.

    In my case, being able to say “John Lewis Kingston” into the phone and then see phone number and a map is pretty awesome. Need to book my car in for a service, I just said “Lexus Guildford” and pressed dial. Combined with the power of a fully integrated Google search and GPS location aware it’s been near perfect for me, but limited for dictating text.

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