TechTool review of SoundGecko by 121cast on iOS, Android and Windows
SoundGecko allows you listen to articles, posts and documents. It literally reads posts/documents out loud so you can listen to them in the car or on your way to work. If you’re not getting enough time to read all the FOAM content you want – SoundGecko can help you out.
Design and User Interface
SoundGecko can be used on your mobile or your desktop, and the design is clear and nicely branded. There are no crashes and it’s pretty easy to get around the app.
This app has different options for allowing you to listen to online content.
- Create a station – you can put together a stream from a list of predetermined websites. These are mostly news sites, but you can pick specifically health, science or technology streams.
- Create a custom station – you can add your own RSS feed as a station. For example, I’ve added the FOAMEM feed as a station so can now automatically listen to any FOAM posts from there.
- Add individual posts – when browsing on your phone or computer you just copy a url to your clipboard and then when you open SoundGecko and press to ‘add an article’ it will load that url and add it to your custom list (it takes less than 3 mins for the post to be converted to audio). There is also a Chrome extension to make this easier on your desktop.
- Your feeds and articles can be synced with iTunes for easy access and you can also link with Dropbox/Google Drive so that all the mp3 files are stored in the cloud.
- For those who have WordPress accounts, SoundGecko has a WordPress plugin which will add a ‘listen’ button to each post so that users can listen easily rather than read.
It is available on iOS, Android and Windows. The app is free to download and there is a free option, which allows limited use (30 articles per day, 1 custom station, 4000 word limit).
For the full version (which includes PDFs, emails, more custom stations and an increased work limit) it’s $2.99 per month.
I think this is a reasonable price.
Room for Improvement
- The audio is somewhat monotonous. It’s a computer-generated voice so it’s not exactly inspiring but it does the job.
- Some of the pronunciation is a bit bizarre. Impetigo was pronounced ‘imtigo’ and given that impetigo was the topic of the post it did become rather annoying.
- Journal articles in pdf format do not work with this app. I have contacted SoundGecko support about this and am waiting to hear back.
This is a really innovative app and its integration with Dropbox, iTunes, WordPress, Chrome and mobile devices makes it convenient and easy to use.
The voice is a bit boring and not being able to listen to journal articles is a limitation. But on the other hand, the app is best suited to listening to online posts rather than full articles.
A great addition for FOAM blogs and for reading FOAM content.