For many years I’ve heard friends and colleagues in the Mac community talk in wonder about how far along speech recognition software has come on the Mac. It was years ago since I last tried it and after spending hours of training the software to recognize my voice, it still did a fair job at best. But when I was approached by Nuance software and asked to do a sponsored review of their Dragon Dictate 2.5 for Mac, I decided it was time to give speech recognition software another try.
I’ve been using Nuance’s great iOS apps, Dragon Dictation and Dragon Go! on my iPhone and loved them, so it was not surprising to me that Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.5 was amazingly simple to install, setup and begin using.
We all know how speech recognition software works, but Dragon Dictate 2.5 had a few tricks up it’s sleeve. First, I found that it came with a USB headset that made it fast and simple to begin using the software, but then I found that Nuance had free iPhone and iPad software that allowed you to dictate into your iOS device instead of being tethered to you Mac. You can also use any Bluetooth wireless mics that you can pair to your Mac. This made the dictation much more natural and convenient to use.
Needless to say, Dragon Dictate impressed me with it’s fast learning curve and besides the voice training, they also allowed me to enter in many of the text documents I’ve authored over the years so that it could learn my vocabulary along with my voice. Very smart. This combination of understanding your voice along with you vocabulary made Dragon Dictate almost perfect with my dictation tests, a huge leap over the last time I tried speech recognition software.
I’ve only played with Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.5 for a few days, but I am already shocked at the number of commands that this software understands. When you go into command mode, you can open applications on your Mac and work right off their menus to create, save and edit documents. You can use commands to press buttons that appear on your screen, and you can use commands to format you documents. It will take me weeks in order to fully realize the power behind the command mode.
Nuance has a Numbers mode built into Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.5 also. Entering long strings of numbers, such as inputting figures or product codes into a database can be accomplished more efficiently and more accurately using Numbers Mode. In this recognition mode, Dragon interprets your voice only as numbers or commands. I also have yet to try the Facebook and Twitter commands. This allows you to post status updates to Facebook or Twitter with a simple voice command, no matter what application is currently active on your screen.
There is just a lot to love about this new version of Dragon Dictate for Mac from Nuance. For owners of version 2.0, the update to 2.5 is free. There are also inexpensive update prices from older versions. The retail price of the full package including USB headset is $199, but Nuance is having a fall sale that cuts the price to $149. Between the integration with the iOS devices and the high-end output I’m seeing on my Mac, I can really recommend this software to anyone.
This post was sponsored by Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.5.