Lately, I’ve been really into listening to as much content as possible. In addition to podcasts, web pages, and audiobooks, I started listening to PDF documents these days.

iOS native text-to-speech (TTS) feature is fine for a short text but isn’t great for PDFs. So I started searching for an app that suits my need.

Trying Out Four Apps

At first, Capti Voice app seemed to be very promising. But after I used it for a few days, I found the rich text mode (free version) to be buggy with PDF documents. I tried the original layout mode with a free upgrade trial and it worked okay.

Then I tried NaturalReader. I didn’t have much to complain about this one, but I wasn’t convinced enough to upgrade to the paid version.

The next one was vBookz PDF Voice Reader. Similar to NaturalReader, this is also a solid app with basic features for reading PDF files. If you like following the text while it’s being read, this app has a nice text mode that makes it easy.

Then finally, I read several good reviews about Voice Dream Reader and decided to purchase it.

Winner: Voice Dream Reader

I immediately liked Voice Dream Reader. Things I liked:

  • The navigation control is much easier than other apps
  • Lots of shortcut gestures
  • You can add custom pronunciation of words/phrases via the dictionary feature
  • In addition to iOS system voices, you can add one of the voices provided by Acapela/Ivona/ NeoSpeech comes with the app for free
  • The app is stable; no annoying issues like skipping to random locations

I wish it had a free trial version, but other than that I have no complaints.

For Free: Capti Voice

Even though I wasn’t happy at all with the unsteadiness of the app’s rich text mode, I think it’s an okay solution for someone who is looking for a free PDF reading app.

Demo Videos

Voice Dream Reader (English/Spanish/Japanese) – my own demo!

Capti Voice (official video)

NaturalReader (user video from 2016)

vBookz PDF Voice Reader (official video)

Comparison Table

The table below is best viewed on a wide screen.

Voice Dream Reader Capti Voice NaturalReader vBookz PDF
Free Version n/a
Price $13.99 $1.99/month, $9.99/6 months, $17.99/year $9.99 $4.99 (per language)
Voice upgrade 1 free credit, additional voices are $1.99-$4.99 each $1.99-$4.99 each n/a n/a
Text search Upgrade plan only n/a n/a
Bookmark Upgrade plan only
Pronunciation Dictionary n/a n/a n/a
Fine speed control (WPM) n/a
Visual book cover n/a
Table of contents n/a Partial support n/a
Other versions Android Desktop browser, Chrome extension Android, desktop browser, desktop app n/a
Pros Stable, feature-rich, easy navigation Free version & upgrade trial, OCR option Relatively easy-to-navigate, stable Relatively cheap, wide font selection for text mode, stable
Cons No free trial Rich text mode (free version) is unstable, navigation is awkward, sync with desktop is very slow Limited free version Very limited free version
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