Seeing AI vs Envision AI vs KNFB reader

iOS & iPadOS

hello. i am considering whether to pay for envision ai or knfb reader or to stick with seeing ai. i am not very experienced with these apps so i can't foresee what i may need them for.
how would you describe the comparative advantages of these apps?



Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, January 6, 2020

I think there are podcast on each in the applevis. I have Seeing AI and it good. Also because it is from Microsoft, I know it will not just disappear one day. The only issue is that the app affects the battery.

Submitted by Remy on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

I've used all three quite a bit. Seeing AI is free, and pretty robust in what it can do. KNFB reader is great if you're reading paper documents, but only that really. It's fast and you can do Offline OCR so it's a bit more secure. Beyond that though it's not at all worth the money I feel. It's outdated and these days, a bit cumbersome to use. ENvision is my favorite. I find it's a bit more accurate than Seeing AI, even though the two apps have similar capabilities. Envision's also nice in that it recognizes print and handwriting without switching to a separate area of the app. If you care, Envision also has a magnifier. I'd try a trial run of Envision and see what you think. I'd avoid KNFB reader though. Even if you scan multi-page documents, there are apps that are way, way cheeper which work better even for that. I've heard good things about Voice Dream Scanner for instance.

Submitted by Tyler on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In general, I don't do a whole lot of document scanning, but when I do, the only advantage I've found to KNFB Reader over Seeing AI is PDF extraction. I don't believe Seeing AI can extract text from image based PDF documents.

Other apps might do this better and/or cheeper, but like I said, I only do PDF image scanning occasionally. For other purposes, Seeing AI suits my needs quite well.

Submitted by Khushi on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

I wanted to experiment with Seeing AI and downloaded it few days ago.
I found the app great but somehow, the battery drain is really quick in it.
I remember using it at around 90% battery power but when I closed the app it dropped to around 50.
I could never understand why so I deleted the app.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

I use Seeing AI quite often. However, if I want to scan a document that I may wish to potentially keep I use Voice Dream Scanner. It is so much cheaper than KNFB Reader and seems to work much better. Also, if you have other Voice Dream products, the voices you have can be used with all of their products and, IMHO, are much better and more pleasant to listen to. This is not a knock on KNFB Reader, but I have had much better luck with Voice Dream.

Submitted by Remy on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

It's definetly best to stick with monthly at first. ALso, they had an amazing summer sale last year, so if you do decide you like the app and want to get lifetime, and they do another one, then, it'll be quite a bit cheaper. I have no idea if they will actually do that again though.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Hey. I've used Seeing Ai. and I love it! Because it's free, and it's more descriptive with images & text in images.
Also, you can browse your photo library right from the app! Which means photos can be analyzed & you can share them & then delete them if you wish. You can create a siri shortcut to browse photos, or just open the app, go to the menu & double-tap on browse photos. Also, if I do need to scan a doc, you'll get guidance as you scan. Go with Seeing Ai. & fohget the other ones. I think they're overpriced. But that's just the cheap skate in me talking. Seriously though, I think for a free app, you get a ton of features! I will say this though. While I have Seeing Ai. as my primary use app, I do have other Ocr. apps on my ipad. And I think every app has it's strong & weak points. Plus if 1 app isn't working, then you have another 1 or 2 or more as your fallback options. But if you want my opinion, go with Seeing Ai. & you will not regret it. Hope this helps. And sorry if this seems long-winded.

Submitted by CuriousNetEntity on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

I use both Seeing AI and VoiceDream Scanner heavily. Seeing AI is great for many tasks but it is neither private enough or quite good enough for some document scanning. VoiceDream Scanner is great for document capture and also for those extremely sensitive things like identifying a certain credit card. KNFB Reader might as well be dead, because it's expensive and I don't know of a single job it has done better than VoiceDream Scanner. I've tested because I bought it when it first came out. Seeing AI's short text reading captures all kinds of things that don't work well with document scanners, and I love the convenience of the Siri integration.. Of these 2 apps I really can't say which I love more, so it's good we don't have to choose only one tool.

Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, January 10, 2020

First off, let me say that Seeing AI and Soundscape are currently the only scanning apps on my phone. I don't currently have enough on my iTunes gift card to get any of the commercial apps, but my birthday is coming up later this month so hopefully that will change. I've heard and read good things about all these apps, and wish to try others out. I read a little while back that the next version of KNFB Reader was in beta, and that it would be made a part of their Newsline app. Does anyone know if this is still the case and if so, will the expanded app still be free? I've got the Newsline app and really like it. Haven't used it much though yet. But back to Seeing AI. I have it and love it. I'm a bit confused though by the lighting as it relates to the various channels excepting of course the Light channel itself. That one plays a tone, so I find that kinda nice. I've scanned several things by myself and with the help of sighted people, and the app seems very impressive. I was talking with one of my tutors this morning about the app. She is fully sighted and recently took it for a spin, and she's very impressed as well. She took a picture of another staff member who works here.

Submitted by Matt on Friday, January 10, 2020

The NFB newsline app is still in beta with the KNFB reader integrated into it. I personally don’t use the KNFB reader part of the app because I find seeing AI, voice dream scanner, and the app simply called Voice, to be faster, easier to use, and yield better results.

Submitted by Taeshim on Saturday, February 1, 2020

I regret purchasing KN F reader and wish I knew about seeing AI before having purchased it or about voice dream scanner... KNFB reader was so expensive and I've maybe used it twice and did not like the results. Feel like I just threw away money I could've spent on something more useful...

Submitted by Gary c on Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Can anyone compare voice Dream scanner and Voice? I understand that KNFB reader can recognize when you turn the page when scanning multiple pages. Can either voice Dream scanner or Voice do this? Can either scan two facing pages of a book?

Submitted by Troy on Thursday, June 11, 2020

I don't know what ms did to the seeing AI app but it went from very good to really bad in just a matter of a few updates. I'm doing the free trial of Invision AI and it has much better camera detection. With seeing AI it seems like you have to turn a light on and be directly under the light for it to work. I don't notice this issue with invision AI, in fact I can hold the camera of my phone pretty far away and it will pick up the text very well. I have even left my lights in my home on by accident because I needed them do to the bad camera detection. Yesterday I was using the seeing AI app and it refered to one of my frozen dinners as a tanktop and another dinner as baseball cards. It has refered to other frozen foods as brake pads, etc. I don't need to deal with inaccurate crap like that to help with my independence. I can no longer recommend this app.

Submitted by peter on Thursday, June 11, 2020

Just a note, that if you want to try out the KNFB Reader, the NFB Newsline app that has the KNFB Reader built into it is free. If you are certifiably blind in the U.S. you can sign up for the NFB Newsline beta app. I think the main reason it is still in beta is because of some licensing issues but otherwise it works very well.

Just a note, the KNFB Reader app that comes with the NFB Newsline app is missing some of the freatures of the full KNFB Reader app but I think these limitations are few.

Yes, the full NFB Reader app is expensive, but remember that this was one of the first really good OCR apps that came to smart phones. Back in the day, the original Kurzweil reading machines were upwards of $30,000! We've come a long way and now OCR apps in smart phones are ubiquitous as technology marches on and becomes ever less expensive.