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Customer Review

75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GOOD AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN AND GETTING BETTER, 26 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac (Mac) (DVD-ROM)
UPDATED REVIEW (08-JUNE-2011): NUANCE RELEASED ITS THIRD UPDATE TO DRAGON DICTATE A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO. IN CASE YOU DON'T HAVE IT, IT IS VERSION 2.0.3. I'M HAPPY TO REPORT THAT IT'S NOW MUCH BETTER!!! NUANCE HAS FIXED A NUMBER OF ANNOYING ISSUES INCLUDING THE TRANSPOSITION OF CHARACTERS THAT SOMETIMES OCCURRED AT THE END OF SENTENCES AND PROCESSOR OVERLOAD WITH CERTAIN PROGRAMS. OVERALL, DD IS SIGNIFICANTLY MORE STABLE AND RELIABLE THAN IT WAS, ALTHOUGH I STILL GET OCCASIONAL CRASHES. OVERALL, I WOULD SAY ITS STAR RATING HAS GONE UP FROM 3 TO 3 1/2 STARS. I UNDERSTAND THAT NUANCE IS WORKING ON A MORE COMPREHENSIVE FIX AS WELL AS A RANGE OF IMPROVED CAPABILITIES. DD WILL ONLY GET BETTER. AS THINGS STAND, DD IS NOW AN ENTIRELY USABLE AND ADVANTAGEOUS PROGRAM. YOU CAN BUY WITH CONFIDENCE.

I dictated this review using Dragon Dictate and then edited by hand. Doing so was much much quicker than if I'd typed it by hand. Period.

As someone familiar with both the advantages and disadvantages of speech recognition software, I'd like to try and balance some of the negative reviews here. Let me make a few important points to begin with:

- Dragon Dictate 2.0 isn't perfect, but Nuance is the leading company in this field and this is the best system of its type presently available
- Don't buy this unless you have an Intel Mac with at least a Core2 Duo processor and running Leopard (OSX 10.5) or Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6).
- Ensure that you have at least 4 Gb of RAM
- Read the instructions before you starting to use it
- Invest the time required to train the system around your voice
- Don't use it with TV or music playing in the background

The important point underlying the above comments is that speech recognition software remains at the bleeding edge of computer technology. In short, it is as good as it can be at this time. Speech recognition is incredibly processor intensive because the software uses algorithms to make educated guesses about what you're saying. A very clever phonetics conversion system translates sounds into written words. It also matches spoken words with other words already converted to identify context and thus improve accuracy. To do these things it needs to perform an unbelievable number of calculations every second. To be perfect, speech recognition software requires immensely powerful systems. We're still two or three chip generations from ideal processors let alone perfect software. IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ISSUES SUCH AS SLOW OR UNRESPONSIVE PERFORMANCE, IT IS ALMOST CERTAINLY BECAUSE YOUR SYSTEM PROCESSOR HAS INSUFFICIENT POWER OR INSUFFICIENT MEMORY (RAM).

As someone who bought Nuance's older version of Dragon for use on Windows, I have to say that this new Mac Version is a genuine leap forward in terms of functionality, interface, ease of use and productivity. However, Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac does contain a number of annoying issues that it should have addressed prior to launching the product. These include compatibility and stability when used with non-core mac software programs, such as Adobe Creative Suite. Worse still, some of the bug fixes have introduced further bugs making things worse not better. Nuance has also been unforgivably slow to fix these issues.

Some people have even said that previous versions of the product are better than this one. This is incorrect. Dragon Dictate 2.0 uses a new engine that delivers a fundamentally improved set of recognition capabilities. Most of the reported problems are basic programming/ compatibility issues to do with testing and elimination of routine software code bugs. In time, there should be no doubt that Nuance will fix Dragon Dictate 2.0 so that it performs not merely as well it should, but brilliantly. For these reasons, for the time being at least, I give it only three stars. Above all, my advice is to wait 6 months (i.e. until June/ July 2011). By then, the next generation of vastly more powerful Intel Nehalem (Sandy Bridge) processors will be available. More important, Nuance should be on top of all bugs by then.

Finally, using speech recognition software is different. You not only have to train the software, you also have to train yourself. Strong regional accents can confuse the system. (e,g. Cake and Coke, Air Fridge and Average, Lake and Like). A by-product of using Dragon Dictate regularly is that you tend to speak much more clearly in general conversation! Overall, once you have installed this software and trained it, neither of which are particularly onerous processes, you'll be inputting words verbally faster than you can type them.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Jun 2011 18:22:30 BDT
An excellent review giving a valuable insight into this software. Will hold off from buying this software until Nuance have fixed the bugs.
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