Dragon Dictation for iPhone review
At a recent press bash, Macworld was on hand to witness a Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 demo, which frankly almost had us switching sides, such was the range of voice controlled commands available to PC users. Well almost. That same technology from Nuance now powers the recently improved Dragon Dictate for Mac, and on the iPhone Dragon Dictation.
Nuance bills the iPhone version as an easy-to-use voice recognition application that allows users to speak and instantly see your voiced words turned into text. It's hard not to disagree, Dragon Dictation is simple and effective, a joy to use. You simply tap the screen to dictate and wait a few seconds for the text to appear, which can used as an email, text message, Twitter update and the like.
Unlike the desktop versions for Mac and PC, it works out the box without the need to spend time teaching the app how you speak. During our tests results were consistent with only one or two words garbled. Nuance claims Dragon Dictation is up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard, and it certainly feels a lot easier than using the rather modest iPhone and iPod touch screen.
Dragon Dictation isn't perfect, with users noting that the app sometimes simply quits, which can be frustrating if you are in the middle of a lengthy dictation. An auto save function would clearly be useful here. iTunes App Store reviews also suggest if you have a strong accent or use profanities the app struggles to make sense of your musings. It's also worth noting that if you have an older iPod touch, you will need an external microphone to make use of Dragon Dictation. Currently available from the UK, US, Canada, French, German and Italian iTunes App Stores, those outside those countries will have to chose between UK and US spellings. Dragon Dictation requires network connectivity.
Nuance charges a premium for their desktop speech recognition software, so it's good to see the iPhone version being offered free. As long you speak clearly and don't have too strong an accent it works well. If you spend any time sending emails, texts or making notes, Dragon Dictation is a must have app.