Mon, 05 Mar 2012 Dragon Express review
An inexpensive way to discover speech recognition on your Mac
- Manufacturer: Nuance
- Pros: Affordable; works using internal mic
- Cons: No spelling mode; long process to train selections; needs better mic in noisy environment
- Price: £34.99
- Star rating:
If you’ve used Dragon Dictate to transform speech into text, you’ll be impressed with Dragon Express, a light version of the application.
Once you’ve spoken into the program, you can transfer the resulting text to an application of your choice by clicking one of the window’s icons, or using keyboard shortcuts or voice commands. This works with either the front-most program or with one of a number of preset applications, such as Mail, Facebook or Twitter. You can also send the text to Google in your web browser, Spotlight or the clipboard.
Unfortunately, there’s no option to spell out words when the app can’t recognise them. Dragon Express does, however, allow you to train words; you can select words in the input window, right-click, and choose Train Selection. This will help with words you dictate often, but you won’t want to do this for every mistake the program makes.
While it’s tempting to compare Dragon Express to the more expensive Dragon Dictate (£179.99), the two seem to have been designed for different uses. The latter is for people who dictate for long periods of time, or who dictate frequently to specific applications. Dragon Express is for those people who need to dictate only occasionally.
The two programs do share the same recognition engine, and the results are similar if you use the same mic. Dragon Express says you can use your Mac’s internal mic, and in quiet environments, we were surprised by the quality of the recognition using that mic. However, once you get into a noisy environment, you need a better microphone.