Dragon 5

Fuss-free speech recog­ni­tion

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

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£139.99 De­vel­oper Nu­ance, nu­ance.com

Re­quires OS X 10.9 or higher, 2.4GHz In­tel Core 2 Duo or bet­ter

Dic­ta­tion is built into OS X and iOS, so why would you want to buy a third-party app on top? If you spend at least a lit­tle time each day dic­tat­ing, the con­ve­nience of hav­ing al­most com­plete vo­cal con­trol over your Mac – not just dic­ta­tion – makes Dragon well worth the money. It’s not sim­ply a tran­scrip­tion de­vice; it can launch and close apps, move the pointer, and in­ter­act with OS X it­self. Just about any­thing you can do with your hands on the key­board and mouse can be done just as eas­ily by sit­ting back in your chair and talk­ing.

Dragon is like a text ex­pander on steroids, which adapts as you use it, so the longer you work with it, the more ac­cu­rate it will get. It can also insert stan­dard blocks of text with a sin­gle com­mand, much like man­agers of old signed off dic­ta­tion to their sec­re­tary with “yours etc etc”.

Tra­di­tion dic­tates that if you’re re­view­ing voice recog­ni­tion soft­ware you ought to use it to write the re­view, which is ex­actly what we did. We wrote our re­view us­ing Dragon, then made amend­ments by is­su­ing spo­ken com­mands to tell Dragon how to go back and make changes.

Up­grad­ing from version 4 is pain­less: the train­ing you have given the pre­vi­ous version is re­worked, so your ad­di­tions to the dictionary are mi­grated. The in­stal­la­tion process warns that this could take up to 20 min­utes, but on our Mac mini it took just six. It also claimed that it would make the dic­ta­tion process more re­spon­sive, and our tests cer­tainly bear that out, with very lit­tle de­lay be­tween say­ing a word and it ap­pear­ing on the screen.

The in­ter­face has been rethought too, with a new Dragon menu bar item keep­ing the app close at hand. There’s also a less gar­ish dic­ta­tion win­dow, which keeps the most com­mon func­tions in view and dy­nam­i­cally switches to cor­rec­tion mode when you ver­bally se­lect a word or range of words. Not that you’ll need to do that very of­ten: so far, we’ve only cor­rected one word

Dragon 5 is like a text ex­pander on steroids – the longer you work with it, the more ac­cu­rate it will get

in this doc­u­ment de­spite dic­tat­ing at close to reg­u­lar talk­ing speed.

As well as dic­tat­ing live, you can use it to tran­scribe voice files. An iOS and An­droid app is to be im­mi­nently re­leased in the UK (it is al­ready out in the US and Canada), which will let you work on the move. This will sync with the Mac edi­tion upon pay­ment of a sub­scrip­tion.

Dragon is flex­i­ble and very fast to work with, but there’s no deny­ing that at £139.99 it’s ex­pen­sive. At that price it’s not an im­pulse pur­chase, but once you get used to talk­ing to your Mac you really won’t want to go back; typ­ing feels slow and, in our ex­pe­ri­ence, dic­ta­tion helps us stay fo­cussed on the job at hand, so that in­vest­ment re­pays it­self fairly quickly.

(If you’re won­der­ing, the fi­nal tally of er­rors we cor­rected while writ­ing this was just two.) Nik Rawl­in­son Forget about controlling your Mac with Magic Mouse and Magic Key­board – Dragon is Magic Mic.

Easy, swift up­grade

Smooth, fast recog­ni­tion

Re­tooled and im­proved in­ter­face

Jus­ti­fies the high price

The muted in­ter­face is an im­prove­ment. Its con­tents change to re­flect your se­lec­tion.

It’s easy to switch be­tween user pro­files us­ing Dragon’s new menu bar item.

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