Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Premium Review

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.

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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%?
  • Faster
  • 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

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.

First impressions

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.

Conclusion

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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

 

 

 

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