Voice. Ah, my true love: the Recorder app. Hit record, and in
real-time it instantly transcribes what’s being said. Unlike with
many competing dictation apps that require connection to the
cloud, this process happens entirely on the Pixel device. Even
when you cut the Wi-Fi and cellular connections, it works — and
works super well, as you can see in the video.
I recruited people with different voices, including one of the
world’s fastest talkers. It struggled when transcribing
Shakespeare, and stumbled on an Irish accent, but it held its own,
especially on speed, against a court stenographer. None of the
recordings or transcripts are shared with Google; no other apps
have access to the recordings, unless you explicitly choose to
Truly seems like an amazing feature — especially so that it’s entirely on-device. This puts iOS’s transcription to shame.
The battery life is unforgivingly so-so. In my testing of the
Pixel 4 XL, I was often in the red by 9 p.m. — substantially
earlier than with the new iPhones. On the days I tested the
Recorder app, I had to charge around 5 p.m. (Google warns that
transcription and captioning can tax the battery.) The
regular-size Pixel 4 has an even smaller battery, rated for even
shorter battery life.