For the last four or five months, I have been on the hunt for the best voice to text transcription tool. This is a really important part of my workflow and helps me to be able to work while I am walking or driving. (I use the Yealink BH71 Pro headset, which has amazing noise cancelling (for the microphone) and is still small enough to wear while active.)

In my quest for the perfect transcription tool, I’ve tried and tested numerous options. Here, I present a detailed comparison of three of the many tools I’ve explored: Otter, WhisperBoard, and HappyScribe:


  • Has a nice mobile app
  • Provides rough transcription on the fly
  • Refines transcription when you have a connection
  • Free plan is fairly generous, you can use it to get in the habit.
  • Cheapest subscription is $16.99/month


  • Completely free and open source
  • Runs locally on your phone for maximum privacy
  • Can choose from various accuracy levels, but the bigger/more accurate models are slow
  • Sometimes gets stuck repeating phrases
  • Not updated frequently, seems to be a hobby project


  • Not optimized for mobile
  • Highest accuracy transcription I’ve seen
  • Can add custom vocabulary to improve accuracy
  • Took longest to find (no mobile app)
  • User interface designed for desktop
  • Only 10 minutes free transcription for testing
  • Cheapest subscription is $17/month

In summary, Otter is best for quick rough transcription on mobile, WhisperBoard is best for full privacy but you get what you pay for it, and HappyScribe has the highest accuracy but is designed for desktop. The price difference between HappyScribe and Otter is only $0.01/month. They each have tradeoffs between accuracy, mobility, privacy and cost.

Feature Otter WhisperBoard HappyScribe
Mobile App ✅ Nice native app ✅ Runs on phone ❌ Only browser
Transcription Quality ❌ Meh ⚖️ Varies by model ✅ Highest accuracy
Privacy ❌ Uses cloud ✅ Runs locally ❌ Uses cloud
Cost ✅ Free & $16.99/mo ✅ Completely free ❌ $17/mo minimum
Customization ❌ None ❌ None ✅ Custom vocab
Testing Options ✅ Free is generous ✅ Completely free ❌ Only 10 mins free

Right now I’m still in the final phases of what will likely be a decision to go all-in on HappyScribe. I’m recording in Otter, then exporting the audio, re-importing to HappyScribe, and comparing the difference. If I were working at Otter, I would put some focus and attention on transcription accuracy. If I were working at HappyScribe, I would build a mobile app.

Honorable mention goes to the built-in iOS voice-to-text, which was used to dictate much of this post. (And in case you are curious, here was my process of dictating to Claude-instant-100k, to get most of this post written without using my hands => )