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on 9 August 2014
Never got to grips with it but it probably deserves more than three stars if you do. My typing speed is 100+ words per minute but for a time was having problems with my wrists so after a lot of consideration bought it. Notice there are constant upgrades - is that good thing when you have paid out quite a hefty sum.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 September 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been suffering from a condition called strabismus for a number of years. This condition has made it increasingly difficult to use a computer for long periods of time due to eyestrain. This has become much worse in recent years following various bouts of surgery.

I have in the past, quite some time ago, tried voice recognition technology but at the time found it to be fairly inaccurate. Since then though my eyes become a lot weaker and I have been seriously considering finding a good voice recognition package.

I was therefore very interested to receive and try this package to see if the technology was now mature and could help make life easier for my eyes.

Firstly I'm pleased to say this was very easy to install to Windows 7 and I've had no stability issues. I'm very impressed with how well it integrates into Windows and just how easy it is to use. When you run the program it comes with a bar across the top of the screen which allows you to easily find and activate various functions. It also comes with a sidebar which assists greatly in helping you get the best out of the product and everything it can do.

The product can be used for voice recognition but also has text to voice to read text back to you and on top of that it can translate voice files to text and this premium edition of the product comes with a very handy digital voice recorder that can be used to record files whilst out and about that can then be translated by Dragon into text on your computer.

When first using the product it goes through a training process to help you understand your voice and help ensure that it is as accurate as possible in understanding and translating what you say. This initial training process only took about 15 min.

Following this I have found the product to be surprisingly accurate and very easy to use. Where it does get words wrong you can very easily tell it to "corect that" and tell it what the word should have been. This allows you to gradually train it to a very high degree of accuracy.

Alongside this accuracy it works impressively quickly and I'm finding that within a few hours of using it i'm able to speak at a quite natural pace and the technology can keep up with me, can translate fairly accurately and works very well indeed.

The files produced by the digital reader are not quite as accurate and I find a little more work is needed going through them and correcting them but it still reasonably accurate and very helpful to someone like me who can now use this rather than taking notes in various meetings and it will greatly speed up transcribing those notes following a meeting.

On top of everything I've said Dragon can also be used to control your computer to run programs to launch web browsers to kick-off searches for certain information all of this is in addition to its primary function as a voice to text product.

I'm pleased to say this is a highly featured very functional and impressive piece of software and as a sufferer of eye problems for a long time I will be getting extensive use of it and am very pleased to have it. This is definitely something that I would buy in future.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 September 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've not used any speech recognition software for approximately 5 years. I have to say that the progress that has been made over that time now makes me realise that I have been missing out on something that could improve my productivity substantially.

Presumably it is a combination of better processing power for laptops combined with software improvements. The claimed 99% recognition more or less straight out of the box is not an exaggeration. My reaction to seeing the level of accuracy was one of amazement. There is no doubt that this is now a piece of software that everybody should seriously consider owning.

If you have come this far, you have no doubt noted that version 11 of the software comes in four different packages. There is a more basic home edition, which is a very reasonable price, but offers a more limited command set. However, if you want to simply dictate into word or e-mails and so forth, it will certainly do everything that you require of it.

Going up the product range, there is the premium edition, which carries the complete command set which can be used for a variety of ways of controlling your computer. Basically, with a little practice, you can effectively use a computer without touching it with your hands. This of course has enormous potential for people with restricted mobility. For those who have more money to spend there are basically two options. The first of which is to include a Bluetooth headset / microphone. This does have considerable advantage because it means that you can move around more freely, without the wires. The alternative is this one that you are looking at now, which includes the Phillips dictation machine. The machine included was much better than the one advertised - details are:

Model Philips Voice Tracer LFH0662
Memory: 2GB
Capacity 4 folders with 99 files in each
Recording time: 23.5 hours at SHQ (best for transcribing in Voice recognition)
Power 2 x AAA (rechargeable via machine on USB)

With the philips machine there is the option of using the onboard mic / speaker or you can attach the mic headphone set which is provided with the Dragon software or you can use the lapel mic provided by Philips. The machine is very light, easy to use and can be used as USB storage for transporting files, as well dictating on the go.

Dragon transcription is very straight forward. You simply click into transcribe mode, select the file (having attached the Philips via USB) and as if by magic the word start to appear on the `dragon pad' or direct into a document if you prefer. Unless you are very practiced at dictation you will probably need to edit it a bit, but again the results are very impressive.

So - this is a glowing review. The software installs easily, the help is helpful, and I found that I quickly became competent to use most of the basic features for dictating. There is no doubt that I am in the first flush of enthusiasm, but given that the programme gets increased accuracy the more you use it, I see no reason for my enthusiasm to get less. For computer users with specific difficulties such as dyslexia or RSI this could be an essential purchase.

Oh - and this is my first dictated review - it took a few minutes!

Highly recommended. Very definite 5 stars!
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on 6 October 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Much improved from previous versions, worth a look if you are a slow typer, have many words to dictate and get through, or have other issues with typing. Generally day to day use offers less compelling benefits.

I tried version 8 of this software and with some training it was OK, still had a few errors per page (I write a lot of dialogue, when on a large project) and was useful as I was transcribing from other sources from which it was easier to speak from, but in the end the lower real world accuracy rate and hassle kept me from using it again or in day to day use.

This version is better. It is better out of the box and it is better with training. It still does best with phrases and with "good grammar / sense" in what you are writing. Corrections and training are still a little on the laborious side but if you don't use anything too difficult or unusual then it should not be too bad.

I'm not sure there are large efficiency gains for day to day use, say, in emails or short passages of writing - unless you have some physical concern. However, once you get to writing, say, over 500 words then I think you can start to be become 20 to 40% quicker but still at the cost of a typo every 200 words or so, and some nonsensical but correct word in place every 400 words or so.

Definitely worth considering for longer writing projects. Less compelling for day to day use.
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VINE VOICEon 27 September 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Let me start by saying that this review is being typed (or should I say dictated) using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 premium Mobile edition. This is just one day after receiving the product through the post. As you can see it is very simple to use, even by someone (me) who has not used Dragon speech recognition software before.

The software installation was quite painful, mainly because it required a C++ runtime which failed to install properly first time, so I had to uninstall the Dragon software and start again from scratch. Even then it took 2 restarts to get the software working. The minimum PC requirements are for XP SP - 3, but Windows Vista or Windows 7 with 2 GB of memory would be preferable minimum. Searching the Internet I have found other people had experienced this issue also.

But, OMG, the software is absolutely incredible, and it definitely makes up for the painful installation. As you can see it is typing every word I say almost without error. Okay, I have to admit that I didn't work out how to type the "++", and I manually corrected some formatting, but you can see that this is a very powerful software. It took around 10 min to train the software with predefined text that you read aloud, then after that, utilising the Dragon sidebar, it is very easy to start dictating whatever you want. You do need to learn the Dragon commands, and also how to dictate to include punctuation for example, but the software comes with a quick guide, plus Dragon sidebar shows relevant help for the software that you are using. For example," open mail" will open your e-mail software;" save" will save your document/e-mail;" switch to dictation mode" will allow you to say words that Dragon would otherwise recognised as commands, e.g. "help.

My dictation, at this point in time, will leave a lot to be desired but given a couple of weeks practice I can see that I will be creating e-mails and documents as quickly as I can type them. Over time you can also train the software to recognise more words some of the words that perhaps it doesn't understand but so far for me I haven't had to do this very often. You can also create different user profiles so that it can recognise different people's pronunciations.

Alongside the provided dedicated headphones and microphone set, it also included with the software is a digital dictation device, made by Philips. Slightly smaller than a mobile phone it is very simple to use; I did not even have had to use the manual to work out how it works; the help pamphlet is quite comprehensive though. you can then connect the device to your PC via a standard USB cable and download the recorded speech which you can then transcribe into text. I found the transcription prone to a few more errors though, I suppose this was because it had recorded background noise as well, something that a dedicated headset would help reduce.

I'm still absolutely flabbergasted (yes it recognised this word without me having to spell it), but it recognises so many words without me having to train and re-key words. The main difficulty I had so far is just working out some of the minor formatting issues, and moving around between different software such as Firefox, Windows Explorer and Outlook express, and then navigating their file menus.

I cannot recommend this software highly enough; absolutely amazing!
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 October 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I first attempted to use voice dictation over a decade ago but at that time software had to be reduced down in size to fit on the hard drives of yesteryear (which compromised quality) and processors tended to make heavy weather of dictation. I was only tempted back in about 2005 when a client mentioned that they typed everything using Dragon.

I'm not sure what incarnation of Dragon that was but I quickly took to it and it became a huge timesaver. A couple of years later someone mentioned that to get the best out of the software, it was important to purchase the most expensive microphone one could afford and I bought a Sennheiser, which cost about twice the price of the program. Accuracy was very good and the only drawback was that I found it tiresome being chained to the PC by the microphone lead.

When I moved on to Dragon 10.1 Preferred, I graduated to Bluetooth (pairing the Dragon with a Blue Parrot VXi Xpressway headset). At this point, the whole setup really came into its own. Freed from my chair, I could walk up and down the room waving my arms and dictating away, whilst Dragon faithfully recorded my words.

I couldn't see that Dragon 11 could improve much on the status quo but it does so in all those little ways that make software an almost aesthetic experience. For those of you new to Dragon, I won't bore you with a list but I can assure existing Dragon aficionados that version 11 is worth the money. The key issue is that in all ways it seems faster, more accurate and with little touches that show the designers have been listening.

This review has been dictated and I've only had to make three very minor corrections (hands free) where I was starting to gabble. As with previous editions, version 11 scans the PC's document library and managed to type `Sennheiser' without so much as a stutter (it is quite fun testing it - Tyrannosaurus Rex? No problem! Transmogrified? First time! Discombobulated? Spot on!!).

Dragon is very forgiving and can cope with me however fast I talk but if I run my words together it can sometimes get confused. Watching the words appear on screen helps me to realise if I am starting to run my words together and pulls me back slightly. Don't get me wrong, you don't have to speak Received English and having tried to force Dragon to fall over in this paragraph, it matches me word for word effortlessly.

I am so used to watching the words appear as I type that I have to force myself to practice using the handheld digital dictation unit. I am sure it will be of use when I am out and about but it is really an add-on for those who love Dragon but are away from their PCs and want to be able to dictate `on the fly'. For those new to Dragon, the mainstream product is the best way to realise just how fast and accurate the software is. I am using the premium edition which supports Bluetooth microphones and strongly recommend a Bluetooth microphone for the ergonomic benefits (if you buy `Home' check it supports Bluetooth).

Dragon works fine with Windows 7 and I really would budget to purchase a good quality Bluetooth microphone because the bundled microphone looks fairly basic (although I am sure it will get you by). If you are on Vista, you may have to be careful which Bluetooth dongle you buy but this is not a function of Dragon but rather the compatibility between Vista and Bluetooth chipsets. Incidentally, if you are on Vista and wonder what Windows 7 is like, they are different planets. My affection for Windows 7 is a magnitude greater than my dislike of Vista - but that's another story.
If you are an existing user and upgrading, I wouldn't bother keeping your existing data files. Dragon 11 is very fast learning your voice (less than 5 minutes dictation) and giving it a `clean start' serves to spring clean data files that have probably developed a few dodgy (ahh! First major mistake in this review `feud dodgy' - me gabbling) pronunciations.

If you are worried that your vocabulary is non-standard, my work involves plenty of words that are non-mainstream and if Dragon has difficulty with a word, you simply select the word, say `train' and it will match how you pronounce the word with the correct spelling.

For anyone who does a lot of typing of reports, Dragon `frees the mind'. I tend to draft reports running to about 20 pages and an exhausting part of the exercise was often that my typing could not keep up with my thinking. In addition, I used to get seriously worried about repetitive strain syndrome. As I conclude this review, I am reclined on my chair watching the words magically appear and will now try to spell check, name and save the document without so much as moving my hands from behind my head. If you're reading this, you know I was successful!

Dragon, you have always been a little beauty and saved me a huge amount of time but in your latest incarnation you are an absolute gem.
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VINE VOICEon 27 September 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have RSI.
I am an author of a series of astrology books and cannot type very fast. When the opportunity arose to trial this software... I jumped.

Now I can sit here at my computer looking at my screen, and write as quickly as I can think....

This has opened a completely new world for me. I no longer am suffering with painful fingers and thumbs, or complaining about how my fingers hurt.

No, instead I am writing what I need to write without pain.

Unfortunately my computer crashed on the day the software arrived.

I didn't have enough memory to cope with dragon NaturallySpeaking on my hard drive, so it involved me getting a new computer. It took 20 min of dictating a series of passages before the software understood my voice and phrasing.

10 years ago I tried this product and was not impressed. Now I am.

It comes with a voice recorder (digital) headphones and microphone set and all in all took about an hour for me to get hang of it... And I'm a blonde!

If I hadn't tried it I never would have believed it was possible to see what I'm thinking and saying appear seconds after I think and say it.

Great product. Would suit anyone who is useless at typing. Anyone who is suffering from repetitive stress disorder, carpal tunnel syndrome, or who cannot use a keyboard.
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Dragon Dictation is really very accurate and performs very well. I was expecting a good piece of software, with the inevitable spelling mistaks (see what I did there). However it works very well.

The install was fine for me, lengthy but nothing I've never dealt with before. Setting up the dictaphone (headset if you have one) was very easy and I was up and running in an average amount of time.

There are tweeks you will need to perform on the software to get it working right for you (which can be annoying) but if you spend the time with it Dragon Dictation can save you a lot of time and effort.

I use it mainly for ideas, so I'm not too concerned about getting spelling and grammar entirely correct. It's recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 premium promises dictate anywhere functionality. The package includes not only the excellent software but also a Philips voice tracer pocket Digital voice recorder. This allows for the user to be open to dictate content while they're out and about. This is then connected to the home computer by USB cable and the software will transcribe the file which is recorded in MP3 format to text. The hardest practice with using dictation equipment and software, whichever you choose, is in getting used to using the recorder and thinking on your feet. Most writers will be used to using either a pen or a keyboard which encourages you to stop when you require to think. When using dictation, this is a difficult thing to achieve as you are very aware that the paper is moving in front of you. Once you get used to being able to dictate, then this is not too bad of a situation.
DragonDictate is extremely easy-to-use simple to install and reasonably accurate. Accuracy does improve and the more time you commit to going through some of the standard text files which are included with the package, the better your chances of achieving higher degrees of accuracy. I do a lot of writing as part of my work; blogs, e-mail, articles, technical work and books. Dictation would be an ideal medium to me to use to get more content onto paper. To illustrate a point within a short while of having installed Dragon NaturallySpeaking on my laptop in my hotel room I was able to transcribe the recording made on the Philips recorder to a text file and include this as the review of this product.

Overall, an excellent software package once you get used to using it and also once it has been trained. Highly recommended to people who wish to do writing with limited time, or to feel to commit many ideas to paper for later editing.

The overall content of this had a few edits, mainly down to inexperience on editing on the fly. Accuracy was pretty much all but a couple of mistaken words. Not bad for day one.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 15 October 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have previously reviewed the designer edition of Dragon as a niche too far. This version is spot on.

A mark off because it doesn't run native mac, but apart from that the install was very straight forward.

In the box is a reasonable quality Philips Digital Voice Recorder ... with 2 Gb of memory. If my memory is correct, that is something like 280+ hours of dictation. The unit is about the size and weight of a Mars Bar and easily fits into a shirt or suit pocket.

The rechargeable batteries are a great idea and so far so good, I haven't experienced any drain despite a fair amount over the last 2 weeks.

Setup was pretty easy once I had man-handled the square yard of instructions and operation and playback quality is absolutely fine.

You can if you want to download music on to it and use it as an MP3 ... yes it works, but you have zero control really unless you remember what is track 1, 2, 27 etc ... so would forget this function

There are also extras like alarms and countdown timers etc, useful, but the stuff on my phone is easier to set up and use.

The interface between recorder and PC is a doddle ... just plug in the usb and you are away.

This latest version of Dragon (11) is by far the best, at last, the product is really easy to use, accurate, and reliable.

There is a learning curve, and the more effort you put in up front, the greater the dividend in productivity you will reap.

All in all, I'm impressed and would recommend ... esp to non mac friends.
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