Most of the reviews of BlackBerry related products and services that we have done over the years here on RIMarkable are little more than a paragraph or two on what the product is, what it does, and link where you can download it and try it out for yourself. This is not the case when it comes to our review of SimulSays, a visual voicemail application for the BlackBerry from SimulScribe. We have totally put SimulSays through the paces and I have to report that I am thoroughly impressed.
What is SimulSays?
SimulSays is a visual voicemail application molded in the same vein as what you may have heard about the iPhone’s visual voicemail. Normally, when someone leaves a voicemail on your BlackBerry, you get a voicemail indicator icon that lets you know that there is new message waiting for you to listen to. SimulSays takes this a step farther by transcribing the voicemail message and sending it back to your BlackBerry as an email message. The SimulSays application running on your Blackberry recognizes the transcribed emails sent back to your device and allows you to scroll through and manage your transcribed messages in any order that you like.
What is really cool is that if SimulSays, via caller ID, can match the number of the person leaving a voicemail to a contact in your address book, you can easily reply to that contacts transcribed voicemail simply by hitting reply.
With SimulSays you still have all the regular voicemail features that you are used to. You can call into your voicemail as well as listen to and manage your messages. Additionally, you can listen to your voicemail via the web, as well as view the transcribed text of the message. You also have the ability to download a .wav file of each of your voice mail messages.
Installation and Configuration
The setup of SimulSays is pretty straight forward. Sign up for an account where you will be asked for your email address, a pin number, and your wireless carrier. Download and install the SimulSays BlackBerry client. Then forward your voicemail to the SimulSays servers using a code provided based on your wireless carrier. You can easily turn SimulSays off by entering in a code on your device that will revert back to your carriers voicemail system.
Once the your account is created and the SimulSays BlackBerry client is installed, open the client, enter in your email address and PIN, and you are good to go. (Note: This is not your BlackBerry PIN but the PIN you created when you set up your account.)
My take on SimulSays
SimulSays notifies you when a new voicemail message has come in almost immediately and transcription takes about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the length and clarity of the voicemail message being transcribed.
I’ve been playing around with SimulScribe for around three weeks or so. It, honestly, has become one of the most used third party apps on my BlackBerry, just this passed week I really got to put the service though the paces as I was in conference that lasted 2 days. Being towards the end of Q1, many, many voicemails came in, 80% of which I was able to reply back to with a simple email to the person that left the voicemail without ever having to get up and walk out of the meeting.
You even get a number that you can give out that will send people who call it directly to your SimulSays voicemail.
To say that SimulSays truly impressed me would be an understatement.
How much does SimulSays cost?
There are three different plans for SimulSays. SimulUnlimted, as the name implies gives your unlimited voicemail transcription for $29.95 per month. Simul40 gives your 40 transcriptions for $9.95 per month. SimulPerMessage doesn’t require a monthly fee and costs $0.35 per transcribed message.
As I said before, I am thoroughly impressed with SimulSays. The pricing initially seems a bit steep, however, is actually quite comparable, if not a bargain, to other services with similar features. I’ve noticed that the SimulSays client doesn’t parse incoming emails immediately, however, I believe this is because the client would drain your battery if it constantly polled incoming messages. You never notice it unless you see the SimulSays message come in and if you do, you can can simply hit the Reconnect Now button.
I would like to see a future update of the BlackBerry client with configurable tone and vibrating alerts. I carry my BlackBerry in my pocket so, I don’t know that I have voicemails until I either see the red light blinking or look at the today screen.
All in all, SimulSays is one BlackBerry application that I would actually pay for myself. If you want to try it out, there is a 7-day free trial that you can access directly from the SimulSays.com website, however, we have set up a free 30-day trial for RIMarkable readers.
Give SimulSays a try, and, as always, come back and tell us what you think via the comments.