Posts Tagged ‘Dictionary.com’

My Phone Dictionary

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Apr 23 2012

Had a busy weekend and as always Monday is one of my more involved days–so it’ll be another easy My Phone Monday.

This week I present the free “Dictionary.com-Dictionary & Thesaurus” app. I’ve used Dictionary.com from time to time as a handy tool as a writer–but generally if I’m on my computer it’s just as easy to use the Office dictionary, only if that fails do I do an internet search at which point Dictionary.com is one of the top places to return the meaning of the word that stumped Office.

But I do believe that the apps you have on your phone say a lot about who you are–so I definitely didn’t want all of my apps to be games, a few had to be tools, a few conversation starters and a few just personal statements. Dictonary.com falls into the tool category and is probably one of the best apps on my phone.

With over 2 million words, with definitions in the dictionary and synonyms/antonyms in the thesaurus, it makes for a very comprehensive tool and I now occasionally consult my phone instead of the Office dictionary even when I’m actively working in Word. This is by no means a bare-bones app, it gives you the full dictionary run-down of word pronunciation and origin.

The part that amuses me the most is definitely the Word of the Day. Seriously, what better way is there to flex your vocabulary than with a word-of-the-day that pops up on your phone from a database of over 2 million words? Plus you don’t even need to have an internet connection, most of the dictionary is right there on your phone (even handier than the website!) and you can get it to say words out loud for you.

Granted the app isn’t perfect, there can be some clunky-ness to the interface that generally isn’t a problem–but is still there. The only one I even feel is worth calling attention to is the voice search. Supposedly you can speak the word you want Dictionary.com to look up and it’ll find it for you. This feature sounds cool, but has a few critical issues.

First issue: You only get 5 free searches before you have to pay $0.99 to fully unlock the feature. This isn’t a major issue since the voice search isn’t critical to operation, and if it weren’t for the second issue would fall under my category of “chance to give money to people who deserve it for their cool free app”.

Second issue: This one’s a deal breaker on the voice recognition, and that is that said voice recognition doesn’t work. I exhausted my 5 free uses (before knowing I only got 5, otherwise maybe I wouldn’t have used them at all) without having it return the word I was looking for even once. In fact, it didn’t tend to be particularly close. So as near as I can tell the voice-recognition for Dictionary.com is as poor as you can get and still pretend it recognizes voices. No other voice recognition interface I’ve encountered (including others on my phone) has had the 0% success rate of Dictionary.com, and I don’t think more chances would have helped the average.

Thing is, I still love the app. I don’t use the voice recognition–not even allowed to any more–and it isn’t an avenue I’d want to contribute money through, but the core app is still amazing. If the app itself cost $0.99 I’d ding my rating of it for the atrocious voice recognition, but for a free app I’m giving Dictionary.com a full 5 of 5 stars. If you enjoy words at all there is no reason not to have this app on your smart-phone.

Oh… A little note. I was just prompted to upgrade to the ad-free version of Dictionary.com for $2.99. I might do that, because that does fall under my category of “chance to give money to people who deserve it”–but honestly the ads are very unobtrusive, tiny little banners at the bottom of the screen. I forget they’re there 90% of the time and they wouldn’t have even come up in this review if my phone hadn’t kindly reminded me just now.