There’s no shortage of smartphone apps that can automatically convert your speech into text, making it easy to transcribe your spoken thoughts into the written word. They’re really good, too, with the better ones posting accuracy rates of over 90 percent. If you do a lot of dictation, though, you can probably benefit from a dedicated device that does just that, instead of having to do it on a smartphone on top of everything else. That, we’re guessing, is the main selling point behind the Mobvoi AI Recorder.
A standalone device for speech-to-text transcription, it gives you a dedicated tool for the job, so you can record interviews, meetings, and dictations in a readable format without having to drain your phone. Basically, it’s like one of those dedicated voice recorders. Instead of storing large audio recordings, however, it feeds the speech audio to an AI system that transcribes into written text.
The Mobvoi AI Recorder consists of a small device that looks like a standard thumb drive. You know, the kind you’ll use to move files from your work PC to your home PC and back. Or the kind you use to store your Bitcoin credentials. As such, it’s small enough to fit in the coin pocket of a standard pair of jeans, making it easy to bring along anywhere you’re going. Despite the small size, it comes with all the hardware necessary to record your dictation and automatically transcribe it into readable text using the outfit’s Neural Machine Translation (NMT) system, which boasts a 94 percent accuracy rate.
According to the outfit, it won’t simply transcribe your dictation into large blocks of continuous text, it can actually break it up with proper punctuation and paragraphs, too. Granted, you will still likely find a good load of mistakes, especially with punctuations, although that 94 percent accuracy rate means there will be a whole lot less manual cleanup necessary.
The Mobvoi AI Recorder uses dual mics with noise cancellation and automatic gain control, allowing it to get a clear recording of dictations to help ensure a more accurate transcription. From what we can tell, though, it doesn’t do the transcription locally. Instead, it requires an internet connection to its servers where the actual transcription happens, allowing you to access transcribed files either from the device’s 16GB of onboard storage or the Mobvoi servers. During transcription, it automatically generates a summary and keyword list, too, so you can log in to your account and perform searches immediately. You can also edit the transcriptions via the online interface, as well as get access to the audio recordings in either OGG or MP3 format.
Want to immediately transfer the transcribed files to your phone or PC? That’s available, with a one hour recording able to transfer over Wi-Fi in just one minute (or 30 minutes over Bluetooth). According to the outfit, the onboard battery can keep it running for up to 10 hours of voice recordings, while the onboard storage should hold up to 500 hours’ worth of transcribed audio.
The Mobvoi AI Recorder is available now for $99.99. It comes with 200 hours’ worth of cloud storage and 12 months free access to the transcription service. The subscription costs $69.99 per year after that.