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Gadget of the fortnight: Voice recognition

Ian McKenna looks at voice recognition available through any iPhone or iPad

ipad

The gadget I want to look at this week is not an app that you need to buy or even download; it is automatically installed as part of the iOS7 operating system. Voice recognition has been built into iOS since version 5 but it is easy to forget it is there and until recently I had not realised how much it has improved and what a great time saver it can be.

Just to the left of the space bar on any iPhone or iPad you will see a small microphone icon. Pressing this icon allows you to dictate brief bursts of speech which are transcribed online and returned in seconds as text.

In the early days I found this function limited unless you had a really good Wifi signal. Having returned to test it again when I bought an iPad Air I have been amazed by the quality of transcription that can now be achieved even with a limited 3G signal. With 4G, it absolutely flies.

To optimise this feature for UK use you need to go to the general tab in settings, select Siri and then set your language and gender. It is really easy to dictate brief emails in seconds or much longer documents. If you haven’t used this feature before, it is well worth a try.

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