Some Android users truly consider their devices to be their complete portable office, and having the right tools for the job can make the difference between success and failure. One area a lot of users neglect is dictation. Sure, Android has a decent voice recorder built-in, but that recorder is certainly not meant for dictation. Fortunately, for users who depend upon dictation (lawyers, doctors, etc.), there are apps that do a superb job of filling that niche.
One such tool is Dictadroid Voice Recorder. With Dictadroid, your Android device becomes a professional-quality dictation machine to help you with the task of recording dictation, notes, meetings, and even music (if you're an aspiring musician, looking for a cheap jam session recorder). Dictadroid is inexpensive — $2.99 (USD) — and has all of the features most users need for dictation, including:
- Pause/Resume (while recording or playing)
- Insert/Overwrite modes
- Automatic Voice Activity Detection
- Uninterrupted recording
- Set default file name title
- Auto add date/time in filename
- Audio gain control
- Record/Play in background or while screen is off
- Audio files saved in WAV format
- Share via email, MMS, FTP, Box, Google Drive, or Dropbox
- Volume buttons rewind/forward/record/play
- Assign photo to a recording
- 8.0 kHz sampling rate
- Optimized for both smartphones and tablets
Dictadroid has little to no learning curve, so nearly any level of user can install and be up and running within minutes. Let's walk through the installation and usage.
There are two versions of Dictadroid:
- Dictadroid Lite Voice Recorder: Limited to five-minute recording sessions and no FTP, Box, or Dropbox support
- Dictadroid Voice Recorder: Unlimited recording times
Installing Dictadroid is simple. Just follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store
- Search for "dictadroid" (no quotes)
- Tap Buy (if you plan on purchasing the full version) or Install (if you plan on installing the Lite version)
- Tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Once it's installed, you'll find the launcher for Dictadroid in your application drawer. Open the drawer and tap the launcher to fire up Dictadroid.
What's really great about Dictadroid is that, out-of-the-box, it's ready to go. When you launch the app, you'll be greeted by a very clean main window (Figure A). From there, tap the plus sign [+] to open up a recording session.
Dictadroid running on a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto X.
Although you can immediately tap the record button (Figure B), I highly recommend you first name your session. To do this, long-press Untitled, type a new name, and tap Save.
The recording session window, ready to record.
With the session named, tap record and start dictating. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Dictadroid:
- The yellow button in the recording session is the Overwrite toggle. If you enable this, you will record over your current file. To append to the current file, make sure this is not enabled.
- If you aren't getting enough volume in your recordings, up the gain. To do this, slide the gray bar (bottom of recording session) upward and adjust the gain (Figure C).
Adjust both gain and output here.
- You can lock a recording to prevent changes. To do this, tap the lock icon in the recording session window.
- To find a specific location in a recording, use the Seek buttons (blue buttons).
- Limit the recording capacity (if you're concerned about space), from within the Settings window (Figure D).
The Dictadroid Settings window.
- To share files, you need to configure the Share Settings (email, default phone number, FTP). For FTP sharing, you'll need Type, Host/IP address, Port, Username, Password, and Remote Directory.
- For hands-off recording, turn on the Voice Activity Detection from within Settings.
If you're looking for an inexpensive dictation software for your Android device, you can't go wrong with Dictadroid. The recording quality is as solid as you'll get on a smartphone or tablet, and the extra features should appeal to anyone who's looking for such a tool on a budget. It's not recording studio quality, but no mobile device of this nature will get you studio quality recordings. Dictadroid has become my dictation software of choice. I'm confident, after you give it a go, it'll become yours as well.
Do you use Dictadroid or other dictation software on your Android device? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.