Otter app review – Pros, cons and full overview

Otter is a free application, which converts vocal recordings into text. You can add members to the recording, or share it with them afterwards. Otter is a useful note-taking app for time-sensitive occasions, such as business meetings, interviews, or just personal thoughts whilst you’re busy multi-tasking. You can also just use it as a quicker method of taking down notes.

Otter app review

Whilst Otter seems to be a useful tool for note-taking, it does have its limitations and drawbacks. We’ll be going through both pros and cons of the app in this review.

Free To Use

Otter is free to download and use. There are various features that are available to free users, such as the note-taking and note-editing features.

However, there are still some features that are locked for free users. Such features include connecting to cloud storage, and showing speaker talk times. They require a subscription to access. This makes it difficult to full test the app out before deciding to purchase the pro version.

There are also quite severe limitations on certain features for free users. For example, there’s a limit to the amount of imports you can do.

otter-import-limit

However, some features have limitations regardless of whether you have a subscription. For instance, there’s a limit to the amount of total minutes you can record for. The amount of minutes differ depending on whether you’re using the pro version or the free version. Subscribing to the pro version gives you more minutes per month.

Free users only get 600 minutes per month. The app tells you how many minutes you have left in the month, and when they reset, on the home page.

otter-minute-limit

It‘s easy to access information about the subscription on the app. There are several instances where the app links to the subscription page. Clicking on the links don’t take you out of the app either. This makes it convenient to access.

otter-subscription-page-1

The subscription page gives you the details about what upgrading to pro can give you, as well as the prices. There are two options to choose from. You can either pay monthly, or pay yearly.

The yearly option offers a discount in price. However, it does require a greater level of commitment. Paying yearly means that you must pay a larger sum up-front, and you won’t get that money back if you happen to change your mind before the year is over. It’s good that they offer a discount for long term users, but it’s still a daunting commitment to new users.

Paying monthly is less of a commitment as it means that, if you change your mind and wish to cancel the subscription, you can cancel near the end of the month and not have to pay the next month’s fee. You won’t be wasting a lot of money as you’ll be paying in much smaller sums.

The subscription page claims that you can manage your subscriptions from within the app, which is reassuring to know. This means that cancelling a subscription should be easy to do.

otter-subscription-details

There are a few pop ups that appear as you use the app, which all prompt you to upgrade to the pro version. This can make the user experience quite disruptive. Luckily, the pop-ups can be easily closed.

Shallow Learning Curve

The app has quite a shallow learning curve.

The UI is very simple, and easy to learn and understand. There are few settings, and most options are simply named.

otter-UI

The UI layout is also quite minimalistic, which makes it easy to navigate.

The app offers three basic tutorials. They’re short and simple, so they’re easy to complete.

However, they’re not very comprehensive. For example, none of them go over the highlight feature and how it works. Each of them only cover one or two features.

AI Quality

The AI is quick at converting voice recordings to text. It accounts for pauses in the recording, and adds commas or full-stops according to the length of the pause. It also starts a new line if the pause is long enough. This makes the formatting of your notes much neater and easier to comprehend, as it accounts for punctuation.

otter-modified-notes

However, it can get the punctuation and spacing wrong. If the pause is not long enough, it won’t separate pieces of text. It doesn’t seem to account for differences between people’s voices either. This means that, even if two people speak, their speeches may end up as part of one paragraph.

The app can also inaccurately document the words themselves. Thus, you must be careful in how you speak. This can be unfortunate as this app should allow you to multi-task whilst making notes. This means your main focus won’t be your notes, or how clear your voice is. You can’t always monitor your notes to ensure that it’s recognising your words well. It may also get certain parts so wrong, that it’s difficult to remember what the correct documentation should’ve been.

Fortunately, the app also records and saves the audio recording. You can play it back to see what parts the AI got wrong.

otter-play-back-feature

The app also lets you edit the notes afterwards, in case you wish to remedy any inaccuracies.

otter-edit-notes-option

Furthermore, whilst the app can struggle to accurately document vocal recordings, it does modify its notes during the process.

Additionally, you can help the AI learn unique words or phrases that often appear in your conversations. The app has a vocabulary feature, where you can add unique words. This will make the AI aware of these words, and more likely to recognise them in the future.

However, there’s no option for teaching the AI how the words sound. It can only assume how they sound based on their spelling. This means that it’s not guaranteed that the AI will recognise the words in the future.

Limited Editing Features

The app offers a few editing features in regards to your conversation notes.

For example, you can highlight parts of your notes during the recording process.

otter-highlight-icon

However, you can only highlight the last two sentences when you press the highlight icon.

Fortunately, you can also highlight notes by manually selecting parts, and pressing either the highlight option or the highlight icon.

otter-highlight-option-during-recording-1

You can also un-highlight notes by pressing highlighted parts, and pressing the unhighlight option.

otter-unhighlight-during-recording

However, you can only select whole sentences at a time during the recording process. This greatly limits your highlighting capabilities.

If a word alone is its own sentence, then you can select a lone word. Otherwise, you cannot select words within a sentence without selecting the whole sentence.

otter-select-lone-word-option

Fortunately, you can highlight and un-highlight whatever words you wish in the editing process. You can edit notes after a recording ends. The app automatically saves the notes when you stop a recording.

However, the note takes time to process. You can easily see whether a recording is processing by going on the home tab. You can see a list of your recent notes there.

otter-note-statuses

Next to each note will be a status. The status will either be ‘processing’ or ‘ready’. Notes usually don’t take too long to process, but it can take a number or seconds depending on the length. You can still access notes when they’re processing, but you can’t make changes to them. An error will pop up if you attempt to do so. the error is not very clear in its meaning, so it can be hard to understand at first.

otter-error-notice

The app allows you to play back audio recordings to see if the notes are accurate. You can simply press the play button, and skip forward or backwards 5 seconds if you so wish. Or, you can press certain words in the notes to skip to that section of the recording. This makes it easy to navigate the recordings, and edit specific parts in a swift manner.

otter-play-back-feature-1

You can also add pictures during the recording process if necessary. There’s an option to open the camera and take a picture, or to choose a picture from your photo albums. The pictures will be cropped to certain dimensions in the notes, so it’s likely a large portion of it will be cropped out.

Fortunately, you can always press on a picture to view it in its entirety.

otter-image-expanded

You can also add pictures post-recording. However, you can only do this by selecting words in the note, and pressing the ‘add photo’ option.

otter-add-photo-post-recording

Overall, there aren’t many editing features on the app. You can only edit the words, highlight words, and add images.

Good Organisational Features

Otter has quite a few organisational features, which make it easy to order and navigate your notes.

When viewing notes, there’s an option to search through them using common words that appear throughout it. These keywords appear near the top of the page. You can simply press one of them to be taken to the first instance the word appears at, and go through each appearance by pressing the arrows. This makes it easy to find notes on certain topics.

There’s also an option to view all the highlighted sections in notes.

otter-highlight-sections

You can view all your recordings on the conversations tab. Your notes are all listed in a neat manner. You can easily select them by pressing the note icon, and move them to different folders in the options.

The side tab gives you the option to create folders. You can start recordings in specific folders, which saves you the trouble of organising them afterwards.

You can also create groups, and invite members to it.

This makes it easy to give recordings access to different groups. You can simply start a recording in a group of your choosing, and it will be accessible to those members. This saves you from having to manually add members to certain notes each time.

otter-add-notes-to-groups-option

There’s also a tab for viewing notes that have been shared with you.

otter-shared-with-me-section

You can import your own files there as well.

otter-import-limit-1

However, the basic plan only allows for three imports. Nevertheless, it does allow you to test the feature out.

You can also export notes as TXT, DOCX, PDF, or SRT files.

otter-export-formats

This allows for some freedom and versatility in regards to the notes’ formatting. However, free users can only export notes as TXT files.

Pros

  • Free to use.
  • Quick note-taking.
  • You can edit notes post-recording.
  • You can highlight sentences during recordings.
  • You can freely highlight words in the notes post-recording.
  • Can add images to the notes during the recording process.
  • Can lock the app with a Touch ID for better security.
  • Can add multiple calendars from different platforms.
  • Can easily share notes with others.

Cons

  • Requires a subscription to use certain features.
  • Not the most accurate note-taking.
  • There is a limit to the amount of minutes you can record per month.
  • Free users can only export notes as TXT files.
  • You can only highlight whole sentences during recordings.
  • Can’t add images to the notes post-recording.
  • Limited customisation options.
  • Requires an account to use the app.

Common Questions

What is the Otter app?

The Otter app is a note-taking app, which converts audio recordings into text using an AI. It’s a good way of making quick notes when you’re not free to leisurely take them by hand.

Is the Otter app free?

Yes, the app is free to download and use.

However, the app does have the option to upgrade to a pro version. It is a subscription service. You can either pay £12.99 monthly, or pay £90.99 yearly.

How do I contact Otter’s developers with an issue?

You can submit a request form detailing your issue. Go to: https://help.otter.ai/hc/en-us/requests/new and fill in the form.

Conclusion

The Otter app is a useful tool for note-taking when you’re multi-tasking, and unable to leisurely take notes by hand. It’s also a quicker way of making notes, as it doesn’t require you to type or write down words. Instead, an AI does the documenting, whilst you’re free to speak your thoughts.

However, the AI is not the most reliable note-taker. It can mishear things or fail to recognise certain words. It can also get the punctuation and spacing wrong, and doesn’t account for different voices.

Nonetheless, the app does save the recordings and offer you the option to edit the notes afterwards. This gives you the chance to remedy any mistakes the AI made.

Overall, Otter is still a good app for quick note-taking. Just be aware that the AI can make inaccuracies quite often. You must also be cautious about the limited amount of minutes you can record per month, regardless of whether you’re a paying user.

Apps UK
International House
12 Constance Street
London, E16 2DQ