No matter how good a reviewer is, having a phone around to play with for just a few days will never be adequate to discover

Speech recognition on Windows Phone is superb! Or perhaps I just have a great voice

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No matter how good a reviewer is, having a phone around to play with for just a few days will never be adequate to discover all the good stuff on the phone. As such, standard reviews will always come short. It is why I am glad that often, I use my devices for extended periods, allowing me to discover more in-depth stuff – good, bad or ugly – about those devices. I have had the Lumia 610 since November last year, and since the departure of Pretty, it has been my primary phone for voice calls.

I also own two bluetooth headsets, both of which have been very dormant for many months until recently when I picked up my Bluedio piece and got to using it again. Paired with the Lumia 610, it works like a champ, and I am able to take some calls that I would otherwise not have been able to take. Anyway, I was surprised while one day, an SMS arrived while I had it the headset paired, and heard an audio prompt:

“Message from [insert name of sender here] You can say Read It or Ignore.”

So, I said, “Read it”, and the contents of the message was read out to me. When done, the audio prompt then said:

“You can say Reply, Call, or I’m done”

I said, “Reply” and the voice prompt responded:

“Say your message.”

I dictated my message, and somehow, the software correctly unscrambled my horrible voice accurately and typed out the text for me to see, and then read it out to me. Then another audio prompt:

“You can say Send or Try again”

Since the message was accurately transcribed, I said, “Send”, and the phone sent it off like a good assistant. I was so amazed at how well the speech recognition system worked that I went about exploring it some more.

Speech recognition is a feature that is built into Windows Phone OS. You can press and hold the Start button to use Speech to initiate web searches or compose text messages. You can also configure the system to read out your incoming text messages always, only when you have a Bluetooth headset paired, or only when you have a wired headset plugged in.

I find myself using this again and again, and I can see the future in this. Yes; there have been a few times that I ended up with scrambled eggs… Sorry, I mean scrambled text messages, when dictating. However, it has worked well for the most part. Of course, if you are at a noisy venue, you can forget about this being of any good. Ditto if you have a voice that is more horrible than mine. I am surprised that the Lumia 610 recognises my voice at all. Perhaps I do not have such a horrible voice after all. Perhaps I really do have a great voice.


  1. ….lol

    // Speech recognition is a feature that is built into
    Windows Phone OS//

    so ubiquitous on Android it is an embarrassment.

    the battery consumptive implication is what has, and will from voice activated functions on phones.

  2. Voice recognition on Windows phone is decent but it’s nothing compared to Android. It’s scary how accurate voice to text input is on Jelly Bean. You can open apps, send emails and set calendar appointments by voice only. What’s even more amazing is that it’s translated in real time unlike the horrible/annoying wait just to translate a single word on my Windows Phone. Haven’t noticed any battery drain though.

  3. I am of the opinion that, building functionalities like this specific voice messaging facility is better left to third party apps. they do a better and more comprehensive job.

    An example of excellent use of voice API on Android is found with…

    SpeakOut Assistant for android

    The list of the Assistant’s
    skills is too large to fit here,
    you can find them in the
    application under the little
    light bulb next to the
    microphone. Some of them
    are: talk, call numbers and
    contacts, send and receive
    texts messages and email, set
    alarms, search websites, get
    answers from encyclopedias,
    find places, read news, get
    weather forecasts, do basic
    math, updates Facebook
    statuses, tweet, organize
    calendar, tasks and notes,
    play music and videos, open
    sites and applications,
    translate, navigate, check in
    on Foursquare, remind, learn
    from you new commands and
    much more.

  4. Thanks for the link. However, you’ll notice that that post was dated way back 2011 and a lot has happened since then. The leap from Gingerbread to Jelly Bean is shocking and I believe that such features have been optimized to work almost flawlessly on recent devices. I still have not noticed any battery strain or drain by using voice to text functions.

  5. Infact,this singular feature on WP made me rolled over hills for my sister’s nokia 610 the very day stumbled up the feature.The function is not knew on phones but the manner with which the phone read the MTN message i commanded it to read flawlessly made me fell in love with it right there and then.When i tried to explore it even more,i discovered everything in the phone is voice enabled.Infact,if nokia can pack in all the symbian goodies into WP ,it may regain its lost glories.

  6. This is very interesting. Never gave it a chance on my lumia 720. Those review sites always scored the WP voice assistant low compared to siri and Google now. I guess I will have to try it tonight then. Thanks Mr Mo for this review.

  7. *Passes Cyril a Tom Tom*

    Never bother with speech recognition on any device – it doesn’t compel me enough to try it out.

  8. Google Now on Jellybeans goes beyond voice recognition. It gives you information before you need it. You can even say stuff like ‘remind me to call Ann when I get home’ and it will set a reminder to remind you the moment your phone is geolocated at/near your home coordinates.
    It can do calculations. Just try ‘what is the natural logarithm of 10’ and it tells you the answer and displays it with a calculator for other calculations.

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