Nuance Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac review
The newest version of Nuance's Dragon Dictate voice recognition software for Mac is finally available. Is it a second-class port of a Windows app or a real boon to productivity? Julian Prokaza dons a headset and clears his throat to find out.
That said, the option to create custom commands for anything from web bookmarks and menu selections, to text macros and AppleScripts, makes setting up a highly personalised voice-activated Mac OS X environment relatively straightforward although it requires no small amount of time and effort. Fortunately, there is a shortcut to this learning curve for voice-activated computer control voice-activated mouse control. Simply speaking "move mouse left, faster, stop, double-click" is as easy as it gets, but there's also the option to quickly select anything on any part of the screen using a pop-up grid overlay.
Dragon Dictate 2.0 is an impressive speech-recognition application that offers a prodigious amount of functionality for anyone who wants dictate text rather than type it, or use voice control rather than more traditional input methods. Its performance with minimal training is impressive too, but the best results are achieved after spending time and effort to master its intricacies which means it's no quick fix for anyone who hasn't the time or patience to master a mouse or keyboard.
The only real grumble is the price and Mac users are required to pay appreciably more for essentially the same software as Windows users. So, while Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium for Windows is available online for around 70 + VAT, the best online price for Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac OS X is around 109 + VAT. This is at least partially due to the fact that Dragon Dictate can't be bought (inexpensively) without a headset, something that is possible with NaturallySpeaking.
Impressive recognition performance and a vast array of features make Dragon Dictate 2.0 a flexible and highly capable speech recognition application for Mac users, but it’s a shame about the Mac OS price premium.
Processor: Intel processor
Operating system: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later
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Nuance-approved USB microphone for Macintosh (included with boxed software).