I’ve been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for several years, and it’s a product that I simply couldn’t do without.
Had I developed my RSI problems a few years earlier, I’d probably be on disability. True, I can’t be a developer anymore, but because Dragon has made it so easy to create documents and collaborate online, I’m quite happy with my new career in product management.
My company paid for me to upgrade to Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 last year, and I thought it was a great upgrade. I couldn’t say for sure whether the accuracy increased, but I felt like it did. And it had basically the same feature set as Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.
So I was very excited when I saw the announcement for Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 – a whole version number increase.
According to Nuance Here’s what one can expect as far as improvements:
- More accurate – Up to 20%?
- Smart format rules
- Bluetooth support
- Improved text-to-speech
- Gmail support
- Faster corrections
It looks like a good list; I’m always for faster and more accurate. Honestly, I didn’t plan on using any of the new features except the new Gmail support. Maybe someday I’ll get a Bluetooth microphone, but I’m actually way too happy with my Sennheiser ME 3-EW headset microphone and AND-C1-1016600-4 Andrea USB adapter.
I ended up buying Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 12 for no other reason that I use it about six hours per day and I wanted to make sure that any feature that I needed was there
Installation went pretty smoothly, if a little nerve-racking. For some reason, my old version 11.5 had become a little unstable, and it was crashing when I tried to make a backup. Thankfully, there’s also an “export” function (what’s the difference?). Apparently nothing. Another slightly annoying thing: I’ve been using Dragon for so long my export was 1.2 GB.
The actual installation was uneventful, but it took almost 30 minutes to import my exported profile. There were a couple of times where I was very afraid it might have frozen. Thankfully, everything went through just fine.
I’m going to start off by saying that everything that I wrote in my Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 review, except for the new features, still applies to 12. I highly recommend you skip over there to get details on how it works and for a video demonstration.
Well, it certainly seems faster than 11.5. I’m running on a mobile core i7, so any new processor features would probably apply to me.
I also really wanted to feel like accuracy had improved, but it seems about the same as 11.5. That being said, 11.5 is so good that I’m not sure they have a whole lot of room to improve. These days, the only trouble that I have is with homonyms like they’re, there, and their, but since half of the human population has the same trouble I’m not sure I can get all that worked up over it.
The feature list said improved correction, but I actually can’t notice very many differences. I don’t have to correct things all that much, and the correction dialogue is good enough that I don’t really notice it. It’s not a pain point.
Gmail support is a big plus, but I had trouble getting it working and had to call support. They had me toggle a checkbox in my chrome browser extensions and it suddenly started working. It does what you would expect it to do – make Gmail act like a fully supported program. However, the extension is a little buggy, and it will crash a couple times a month (you just have to restart your browser). I was also very disappointed that the support doesn’t extend to Google apps, which I spend about 90% of my time on.
It’s actually not that big of a deal, because I was using Dragon 11.5 in unsupported mode just fine. The only annoying thing about using unsupported applications to me is sometimes corrections leave a stray character that I have to go back and delete. It doesn’t happen all the time, and I haven’t figured out what causes it.
I don’t use text-to-speech on a regular basis, but I did play around with it for a few minutes. It gets the job done, but the voice still sounds a little robotic – not quite Stephen Hawking robotic though.
I’m a little conflicted on this version. I had high expectations, and Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 failed to live up to them. On the other hand, even with the downsides, I still think it’s a tad better than 11.5. I certainly won’t be returning it and using the old version