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3.8 out of 5 stars96
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 17 December 2012
I really struggled with this when I first bought it; it was deathly slow, woefully inaccurate and wasted hours of my time. I eventually spoke to a Nuance representative who went over my system with me and we identified (a) that I use the supplied headset with two mini jack plugs and (b) that my Acer laptop has a Realtek sound card. He admitted that 'in around 50% of cases' Dragon NS conflicts with Realtek sound cards. The answer is to use a headset with a USB connector rather than one with two mini-jacks. Apparently this bypasses the sound card. Those with a 2-mini-jack headset don't have to buy a replacement headset; just get a cheap jacks-to-USB adaptor. I'm only now starting to use the software but even if turns out to be brilliant it's only getting three stars from me because of the hassle it's caused. Oh, and it still freezes my Hotmail, but maybe that's something that will eventually be sorted too. Incidentally, I don't know whether this conflict with Realtek arises with all versions of Dragon NS or just this one.
UPDATE - I've used it for some time now and it's really very good. If I hadn't had all that trouble at the start I'd have given it four or five stars.
44 comments53 of 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 November 2012
I have been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for a few years now and this latest version 12 is a definite improvement on previous editions.

For a start, I notice that its accuracy is significantly better.

Second - and this is very important to me - I no longer find when dictating in Microsoft Word that Word freezes (crashes), which is something that happened at least once a session every time I used versions 10 & 11.

If you are wondering whether it's worth upgrading to v12, I would say definitely yes, for the two reasons I've given above. It isn't perfect, it still makes mistakes (but that's often because I have spoken too quickly or indistinctly), but it's a fantastic productivity aid and the fact that it has stopped crashing has taken away my old frustration with it.

I do recommend it. However, make sure your computer can cope with the processing power demanded by Dragon 12. I'd also suggest you invest in a really good quality noise-cancelling microphone to get the most benefit from it.
66 comments67 of 68 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 October 2012
I bought Dragon v12 a couple of months ago having used Dragon v11.5 intermittently for two months before that and whilst I cant really testify to the "superiority" of the newer version, it is nevertheless simply brilliant. For me there were no installation issues, nor any start-up issues although I quickly decided to buy a decent microphone which certainly made a huge difference. I am a School Administrator and I am now able to assess all of my students' work "verbally" and seamlessly in Word, Excel or Powerpoint, speak answers to endless emails in a much more timely fashion, speak speeches, Assembly notes and so forth, as well as do almost all of my own letters to stakeholders within the School and Community of which I am a part - any time and anywhere. Students seem to be immensely appreciative of the comprehensive comments I now give on their work and parents and others are surprised and enthusiastic about the speed of my replies and the comprehensive nature of my responses to them.
All this has been possible thanks to Nuance Dragon software which simply saves me every day! Out of the box, the software was about 95% accurate but its rate of "learning" is amazing - it sorted through my emails and documents looking for names and writing idiosyncrasies which it could, in future, recognise, and it has since appropriated these into its own dictionaries thereby making even fewer errors. I have to "try" quite hard to fool it now - it is gold for me and my work.
It is NOT perfect but it is SO good that any complaints are, in my view, churlish - it's a business lifesaver - buy it! I did and I am delighted!
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on 20 August 2013
Opted for this instead of the physical shipment both for the instant download option as well as the reasonable price tag. Had some worries about compatibility with Microsoft Surface Pro machine especially as the product comes with a no returns policy - it is the customer's responsibility to determine compatibility issues before purchasing, says the website (Nuance offer the 30-day money back guarantee if you buy it from them!). However, it was a smooth experience from downloading to installation and the application is working as expected. Of course, I had to spend another £30 to buy a decent headset (which is included if you buy the physical shipment for £100+).
The option of being able to download from your online software library in the future is an added bonus (Nuance charge you an extra £5 for this option).
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on 27 January 2014
Works well, almost straight out of the box.

Had experience of much earlier versions using Windows 98 - that was a long time ago I know. Win 98 program, was easy enough to use - it just wasn't able to understand me unless I tried to speak with an "american" accent an even, at that, it struggled - it made for some interesting word choices based on my dictation!

Using DNS Premium 12.5 since November 2013. It understands at least one Scottish accent - a broad Lanarkshire one - without any real difficulty. So, no need to re-learn to speak to accomodate the software. The initial user profile was complete in about ten minutes and it could understand me pretty perfectly even when talking at a reasonable speed - west of Scotland folk often talk very fast!

I recommend it to everyone who has difficulties with the keyboard e.g. problems with manual dexterity or conditions making it too painful to type for prolonged periods. I know various educational insitutions are reccommending its use for students with problems reading and writing e.g. people who have dyslexia.

It can be used for voice-control of your computer and once your microphone is "active" there isn't much need for any other input.

Only drawback is: there are a lot of commands to learn to get complete use out of it. But, even with just a few basics memorised, you'll soon be up and running - learn the rest as you need them!

Hope this is helpful.
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on 3 January 2014
This is about as good as this kind of software gets at this price. A doddle to set up, the training and introduction package works well (including for a 10-year old dyslexic), and the more you use it, the better it gets. To get the best from it you do need to devote some time to learn the various commands, but the card that comes with it is a useful prompter. I am using it to write this piece of feedback, and so far I have not had to make more than a couple of corrections to the words that it has put on the screen. One thing to be aware of that isn't explained anywhere on the packing or indeed on the website, is that this includes a licence for up to 5 devices, so that you pay under £100 for something that you can then use for pretty much all the family desktops, laptops, and tablets. As each device can have multiple profiles stored, it is no problem for different users to share accounts, or of course for each user to have their own account on a device with Dragon set up for each account.

Another useful trick is to save each user profile on something like Google drive or in dropbox, so that whenever you update it on one device the updated profile is available to all your devices as long as they have access to your cloud computing drives. This is easiest if done on setup but can always be done afterwards if you want.

All told, this is probably the best value software I have bought for sometime, and for anybody who is dyslexic it is a fantastic tool, especially for children because they will pick up how to use Dragon very quickly, and they get instant feedback and success from it, so find it quite rewarding to use.

This version comes with an automatic upgrade to version 12.5, and includes a perfectly good twin Jack headset microphone; not the most expensive in the world but simple to set up and very easy-to-use.
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on 20 May 2014
I specifically bought the download version so that I could use it immediately. The installation then told me there was a 12.5 update and recommended I installed it. The catch: my code doesn't work. I called Nuance UK and 24 hours later am still waiting for a code. I can only use the software twice more before it locks me out. This is precisely why people dislike product activation - shame on this company for taking so long to give me a code that I've already paid for. Shocking.
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on 5 June 2014
I have been using this for a few weeks and it just keeps getting worse. Initially, it was quite good for dictation, and I made sure it was trained regularly. But as the weeks have passed it has become slow and very very annoying - effectively negating any benefit this is supposed to have.I seem to be spending more time correcting the software's mistakes and closing the annoying pop-up 'DragonPad' than being productive. A time saver this certainly is not. Add to that the effect it has on my very powerful computer and this is beign deleted - a total waste of money.

If you have WIndows 7 or 8 you can have much better functionality and experience for FREE! With the addition of the free Vocola programming interface, Windows voice recognition becomes much more useful than the over-inflated Dragon software.

If I could give this minus stars I would. Awful software.
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VINE VOICEon 27 February 2013
I have been a user of Dragon since Dragon 6. I use it extensively and it has made a big difference to my fluency, speed and in interesting ways to my style of writing. Over the years the basic quality of identification and recognition has improved, but only marginally each time. Remember that back then it already claimed 98-99% accuracy. All improvements are therefore based against the decreasingly small inaccuracies - that still remain despite training. At a certain point, other than new words, I think it makes sense to switch off training as it takes more time to correct the system (train) than it does to correct the words.

The biggest problem with Dragon - and one they really need to get to grips with - is not recognition accuracy (yes, it will matter for voice based interaction with intelligent devices, like Watson) but NOT CRASHING APPLICATIONS. I am prompted to write this when Dragon has again crashed my Word doc losing what I have done, and crashed Outlook at the same time. If I get by two hours without a crash I think I am VERY LUCKY! And it is still dodgy with Powerpoint.

That's why I would give it 5* for speech and 2* for robustness with the apps it wants to integrate with.
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on 15 November 2013
I have used DNS 9 for many years, and finally upgraded to v12 this year. The product remains very good, and I will not elaborate here since many other reviewers have covered it sufficiently. My purpose is to highlight compatibility issues with Windows 7 for potential buyers.

Although DNS 12 is compatible with Windows 7, visiting the Nuance website ([...] shows that it is not one of the products that is "fully supported" on Windows 7. This is not mentioned in the product description, which is either careless or cynical - you can decide which.

In practice the limited support means that the core function of DNS works - you can dictate to the computer in MS word etc, but in some MS Office programmes such as Word, many of the commands cannot be used (EG "undo that", "press CTRL+S" etc). This severely limits the utility of the programme, and quickly becomes frustrating. You can still use the keyboard and mouse to carry out these commands, but the reason you are buying the product is probably so that you can avoid having to do that.

If you want FULL functionality of the programme, and you're using Windows 7, consider if earlier versions would better suit your needs.
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