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Showing 1-10 of 471 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 633 reviews
on March 8, 2013
If you skip all of the promotional and advertising copy and search the very fine print (it should be more prominently displayed), you will find out that Dragon Naturally Speaking v.12 is not compatible with electronic medical records (EMR). Nuance wants to force those in healthcare to pay up to $2000 for the so-called medical version. If you purchase Dragon v.12 and try to use it with an EMR, the Dragon program will eventually detect that you are using an EMR and will cease working. This is a deliberate incompatibility that was engineered into the program. Nuance designed Dragon to actively look for an EMR, and to disable the Dragon program if an EMR is detected. This is discrimination, pure and simple. It also raises the question of whether the Dragon program violates the privacy of the owner of the computer on which it has been installed.
I believe that this policy of crippling the software will end up hurting Nuance in the long run. If so, the company would deserve it.
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on November 25, 2013
User beware indeed.
upside: it learns quickly and is easy to use - and surprisingly accurate a large part of the time.
BUT
it is slow to load and unload - tiresome but livable, given there's no better option.
HOWEVER
if you have two large documents open, or a word file and a pdf open, IT WILL CRASH to a bluescreen.
I've had to restore my computer twice, and repair the startup load as well since installing this software. As a handicapped person (I'm typing this with my only hand), I NEED reliable voice software. This isn't it.
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on April 9, 2014
I've been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking since version 3. Many people try this program and almost immediately stop using it. when I first began using it years ago I did the same thing. I would put it on my computer system, go through a lengthy "training" process to teach it how I speak. The training process teaches it how you pronounce different words and it used to take about an hour. While there is still a training period it now takes roughly 5 min. in the past even after training the program to recognize your voice through that hour-long process it would still make many mistakes. And like most people I just got frustrated and uninstalled it.

If I gave this five stars you know there has to be a bright side coming. :-)

One day, back in version 3, I decided I was going to use it no matter what. And I'm glad I did. What frustrates people the most about using voice dictation software is that it's not 100% correct all the time. Now a big "however". However, when the program makes a mistake (and it holds true right up to the newest version) instead of getting frustrated all you have to do is correct the mistake. Teach the program what you wanted it to type as opposed to what it did. Once you do that it usually doesn't make the same mistake again. As an example, I have a medical condition called Ménière's disease. I guarantee you the word Ménière's is not in any standard dictionary that computer uses. So the very first time I was dictating a letter and said the word Ménière's the computer typed the words "many ears". Coincidently, Ménière's disease does happen to be a problem with the inner ear but the term many ears isn't certainly what I was looking for.

To correct the error went like this: say to the computer "select many ears", then say "spell that" and a dialog box pops up and all you do is speak into the microphone and spell the word correctly. In my case it was to say "cap m e n i e r e ' s", say the words "click train" and the computer automatically clicks a button labeled train and then you speak the word that you just spelled and it enters it into its dictionary. And it will then replace the incorrect spelling with the correct one automatically and you can continue dictating.

When people read this in the manual that is usually what deters them from using the program. I like everyone else thought I was going to be spending all my time saying that entire paragraph to correct a word. Also like everyone else I thought I didn't have the time. The thing is, to actually perform the actions that I described in the previous paragraph actually takes less than 15 seconds and once you do but you don't have to do it ever again.

I have created a website dedicated to information on Ménière's disease so the term Ménière's came up constantly. After the first time it made the mistake of spelling Ménière's as many ears it never made the mistake again. Being a website dedicated to a rare medical condition I used the term Ménière's probably 100 to 120 times. Like I said, after correcting it the first time it never made the mistake of misspelling Ménière's again. In this review alone I've used the word Ménière's at least 6 to 8 times. This review is being dictated through Dragon NaturallySpeaking. If you do see a mistake in any of the words in this review it's due to my laziness, not the program. I say that because besides just speaking into a microphone and watching the words appear on screen you can even use the program in another way to check what you've written (or what it's written).

Both the premium and the home versions of this program have the ability to read what has been typed out loud. The only reason I'm not doing it is because I'm starting to run late for an appointment and lost track of time. So there isn't time to have it read the entire review back to me and listen for errors. But once more, if you read this back to me and there was an error all he would have to do is go back and correct it and it wouldn't happen again.

When I started using this program it was for work purposes but I didn't think much of it when I stopped using it because I typed 111 words per minute accurately. What can I say, I did a lot of typing so my speed just naturally built up. Another however coming. However, now I have osteoarthritis and not only do I type very slowly but it's very painful. Using NaturallySpeaking once I start the program I don't have to touch the keyboard. It even has an entire set of commands for several of the most common web browsers so you can use it to surf the Internet as well. And that is also in either the Home or Premium versions of this program. As of today (April 9, 2014) Amazon is selling the previous version (11) for an extremely reduced price. While I purchased the Premium 12 version for a few extra features I found I really don't use them so I went back and purchased two copies of version 11 (I have multiple computers). As THE final note, which ever version of the program you by, it also comes with a plug-in headset. I didn't feel like sitting a few feet from my computer – which is the length of the cable to the headset – so I simply purchased a wireless one for $20. But you do have everything you need to get started right out of the box.

Would I recommend it? I own four copies… you guess…
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on October 18, 2012
I purchased DragonSpeak for the sole reason that it advertised v12 as Bluetooth compatible. I wear a bluetooth headset many hours a day and find it a comfortable way to communicate. I do not find the wired headsets similarly innocuous. Can't stand them.

After setting up DragonSpeak imagine my dismay when, after 45 minutes on the phone with customer service, I learned there is ONLY ONE commercially available bluetooth headset that is compatible with DragonSpeak. That ONE headset is the Plantronics Calisto. The USB dongle from Plantronics, it turns out, is required, too. A generic bluetooth dongle will not be recognized by DragonSpeak, making this $130 item an undisclosed necessary purchase to bring about the advertised capability of "bluetooth compatible".

Obviously, this is a blatantly deceptive claim.
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on September 24, 2013
Started using Dragon over 10 years ago when as a court stenographer I needed a method to help with my typing. It took time to train the software and it worked pretty good. Over the years I upgraded to Dragon Level 10 and it had improved significantly. I bought the 12 Premium and it was not an improvement in my view, and recently purchased the 12 Professional and it still does not meet my standards. Simple words continue to be a problem when you dictate an, you get and, dictate on and you one, and on and on and on. I wonder how it operates with those who are neither as articulate nor enunciate clearly? Dragon gets away with it madness because it's the only "club" in town, but its customer service really suffers because there is none and companies that depend upon computers to interact with human beings as their only line of resolving problems with their product will eventually fail. Dragon sucks every penny it can from its consumers by charging outrageous fees for live tech help when the "free" time ends (and that's when the system fails due to some software problem). Those who are physically challenged cannot find an alternative source, and I pray one will arise soon.
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on November 25, 2013
I did not realize how much faster modern transcription is than typing. I previously had used a prior version of Dragon (v7, I think) on a slower machine (1.5 GHz processor with 2 GB RAM) with poor results, as Dragon had trouble keeping up with my dictation, leading to multiple dropped words and transcription errors. But when I updated to Dragon 12 with a faster computer (2.5 GHz with 4 GB), the results were far superior. After a few training sessions, Dragon 12 is clearly faster even than my good typing (I type 70-75 words per minute).

The headset that is included is decent and worked better than my bluetooth headset, but I would recommend the KOSS CS-100 headset for greater accuracy.

Also, I am using Dragon 12 to dictate medical files and have only infrequently had to spell or edit terms. The native dictionary includes an impressive medical vocabulary including terms like "pheochromocytoma" and "metanephrines." I was afraid I would have to consider the Dragon Medical app (which is WAY more expensive) but clearly will not need to do so now.

I am VERY HAPPY with this purchase!
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on July 3, 2014
Summary: Great recognition accuracy if you get past the installation troubles, find a headset that works and train the software well. It is very good when you need a lot of technical or custom vocabulary. The software itself is horribly unstable and clunky, crashes too often. For casual texts such as regular emails or office text, the voice recognition that comes inbuilt with Android smartphones is way superior for the English language - it comes free (look for the microphone symbol on your onscreen keyboard), doesn't require training and is amazingly accurate for standard texts without special vocabulary. I use that for emails.

In Detail:

I am using the software on windows 7 (64 bit). After putting in some effort into the initial training, the voice recognition engine works very well and I'm very happy with and positively surprised about the accuracy. The premium version has the advantage that custom words can be imported, which is convenient if you have a lot of custom vocabulary such as field names in a database.

In regards to the recognition quality a couple of things turned out to be helpful: I tried a Logitech USB headset as well as a Plantronics 300 desktop microphone which Dragon both declined to use (insufficient voice quality). Finally I had more luck using a Plantronics Bluetooth headset with noise cancellation that I usually use with my cell phone.

When I created my first user profile and started dictating, Dragon would not understand some common commands however hard I tried, which was very frustrating at first. At some point I simply deleted the profile and started from scratch, this time spending more time training the software to my voice. Besides the quick start training I read out an additional half hour of training text and also let it learn my writing style and vocabulary from my sent emails. After this it became very usable and the recognition accuracy now is great.

However, the software has major drawbacks: the installation is a pain and during use Dragon is unstable and tends to crash occasionally. The usability in this regard is horrible and if I had found any feasible competitor for a Windows system, I would not be using Dragon. It is really that annoying.

Installation: the installation process crashed, until I found the reasons by lenghty googling. Firstly, Data Execution Prevention had to be disabled for Dragon and its installer. Having Windows 7 on the market for so many years and this still being an issue for Dragon is surprising to me. Secondly, I had to disable User Account Control completely for the installation to succeed, afterwards I could re-enable it. Seriously?

Training: the Dragon Dictation explicitly says it supports Windows Live Mail to train a user profile with one's sent emails, so I downloaded all my email via IMAP from the server into the current version of WLM. However no matter what I tried,Dragon crashed during the training process without giving any error or reason.Subsequently I tried it with Outlook 2010, which is supposedly supported by Dragon as well. It crashed here too !! Maybe it couldn't handle the fact that I was using three different email accounts, who knows. I resolved that after several hours of trying by copying my email from the three different (completely downloaded) sent folders in my IMAP accounts over into the one main Sent folder Outlooks has locally. It seems the software can only handle use scenarios from 1995.

Daily use: while it is possible to directly dictate into Microsoft Word, with any other unsupported software a pop-up window comes up into which the text is dictated first (Dragon's "dictation box"). Only when the transfer button is clicked, the text gets inserted into the current cursor position. Most software I'm using is unsupported, so I have to deal with this dictation box most of the time.

The dictation box is unstable and crashes too frequently for my liking. After having dictated a couple of paragraphs it occasionally crashes and with this it loses any dictated work that had not been transferred to the application. So I am trying to remember to transfer my dictated text every one or two paragraphs. These crashes are a big issue for me.

After installation the default setting is that text will not be kept in the clipboard when one clicks the "Transfer" button. If the insertion process in the the application of use fails, the dictated text is lost as well. At least this can be prevented by selecting an option to keep transferred text in the clipboard after the dictation box is closed, But I only found out after googling around for a while.

To sum it up: With some effort into the training, the voice recognition is superb. The software itself is buggy, sluggish, and loses dictated work in its regular crashes. The installation process requires sophisticated IT skills and plenty of googling to succeed. If I could avoid the software, I definitely would.

For casual use such as emailing or writing simple text, the voice-recognition inbuilt into Android phones is much easier to use, doesn't crash, comes free and works very very well - without training. If you need a lot of custom vocabulary or deal with technical texts on Windows, I - unfortunately - haven't found any alternative to Dragon.
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on January 5, 2013
I received this as a Christmas gift and installed it the next day. I was not able to get the mike and headset to work and kept receiving error messages of incompatability with my computer. I have Windows 7 and have had no other compatability issues with other software. After multiple calls to Tech Support, they were never able to resove this. I was told they were aware of incompatability issues with some sound cards. Over all,I spent about 6 hours on the phone with them. Although I was told a supervisor would review all my calls to make appropriate recomendations to resolve this, it was never done. I was told I would receive a new headphone/mike set in 3 to 4 days but that never happend. As a result I returnd this product.

FYI, as a further insult, althougth they have a toll free number for Customer Support, the Tech Support line is not toll free. Also, Tech Support is only free for 90 days. If you call the Customer Support line and ask to be connected to Tech Support , some of the time they will, but at others they will tell you they do not have the ability to do so. Very poor cumstomer relations. I would never recomend this product or company.
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on August 24, 2013
I have been reading about Dragon Naturally Speaking software for some years now, but have been reluctant to take the plunge primarily because of the seemingly large number of negative reviews surrounding it. I recently convinced myself, however, to just go ahead and try it out and see what MY opinion of it would be.

It's been kind of a complicated road but, in the end, has finally worked out well. First, I made the mistake of ordering the software directly off of the Nuance site since it appeared that I would be saving $30 by doing so. From the description on the Nuance site, it appeared that there would be a headset included with the purchase. Not being a terribly bright fellow, I bought it only to discover that (1) it was for a download only and that (2) no mic-headset was included. It took quite a while to initially download the program and there was a lot of futzing about getting it installed; not very smooth at all. But eventually, I got it to work. Since I didn't have a headset-mic or even a stand-alone mic to use, I simply used my webcam mic. That worked okay, but while the results were very surprisingly good, there were a number of mistakes which was well short of the advertised 99% accuracy mark. I accepted this since I was using a mic that was not really intended for this kind of situation. Now here's the level of my stupidity: I kept thinking that the headset (which, as previously mentioned was described as being included) would be shipped to me. I saw nothing to indicate that this was indeed the case so I emailed Nuance customer support for the answer to which they responded back to me in about 2 days. A number to call was provided to me to call. I was told by Nuance CS that no headset was in fact included. I asked for a refund, deciding to re-order using Amazon instead. This is what I should have done in the first place. Getting the refund has been a far more lengthy wait than seems necessary. When I ordered DNS through Amazon. I also ordered the Andrew NC-181VM USB mic-headset since these received generally high praise from a number of reviewers for use with DNS (see my separate review on these).

Now, after that lengthy spiel, on to Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 12: In a word, Amazing! This is the stuff of sci-fi made real. Coupled with the Andrea headset, and after doing only the preliminary training, DNS worked almost flawlessly right out of the box. I haven't yet (and probably never will) "scientifically" assessed the actual accuracy of DNS, but if it isn't the advertised 99%, it's pretty darn close. That's been my experience so far, at least. I still have a lot to learn and remember about some of the voice commands that you can use, and especially some it's more esoteric abilities as far as controlling programs and such, but so far I'm completely impressed with what DNS can do. I was concerned because of the several negative reviews about Premium 12 being less than some previous version or another. I honestly can't address that and, quite frankly, it's now become completely irrelevant to me since Premium 12 has met and exceeded any expectations I had of it. It just flat works and it works amazingly well. If some previous version somehow worked better for some other person for whatever reason, more power to them. My only objection to some of those opinions is when they attempt to prevent the purchase of Premium 12 based on their objections. I think it is perfectly acceptable to state one's own experiences and biases about a product, but quite another to block the purchase of that product or tool that I believe many others if not most would find perfectly acceptable and useful without having to resort to some outdated and perhaps less supported version of the product. I'm all for fair and reasonable criticism of a product, but some sense of reality needs to enter into our opinions.

Which brings me to my criticisms of Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 12. DNS is not without it's flaws. The installation process, even with the CD was somewhat on the kludgy side. First, it was on the lengthy side, but that is okay with me, except that during this lengthy installation process I received at some point mid-way through installation some kind of error message that I didn't understand that seemed to indicate there was some kind of installation failure and told me something had not completed successfully. I thought "Oh, great....Now I've got either buggy software or I'm going to have to try to start over again". But once I clicked the error message off, installation proceeded on happily and finally finished. And then, of course there was the whole registration process to go through (actually, I had to enter the same information--serial #, etc--at least twice) before I could actually start using it and tackle the preliminary voice training sessions. Since there was that installation hiccup along the way, I thought that something was surely going to prevent the program from running or cause some other bump along the road, but it hasn't happened yet, so I guess all is well in spite of the nagging feeling that something might be "missing" that needs to be there. In spite of the lengthy and somewhat convoluted installation process, I can still easily justify the 5 Stars I have given it. In the big picture of the world of software, this has to be one of the giants along with being, perhaps, even a potentially life-changing tool for many people for many reasons.

All I really know and really care about now, however, that DNS Premium 12 is running and seems to be running flawlessly. The amazing thing about this incredible tool is that it "tracks" very rapidly. I'm a pretty fast typist and I initially thought that I could probably type faster than what DNS could keep up with. Not so. I can start blabbering at a pretty good clip and DNS seems to hang right in there with me, even though I have to pause my flow to insert the punctuation, etc as I rattle on. The main "catch" here is that you have to have your thoughts pretty much under your belt already before speaking. If you are halting and stopping and kind of fumbling around as you speak, DNS doesn't handle that all that well. That is one advantage of typing; you can pause and think about what you want to say at any point in the flow without everything getting all hung up and bumfuzzled. With DNS, you will find yourself doing more corrections if that is the case.

I really don't know how many people out there might actually "need" Dragon Naturally Speaking. I think if you are a troubled or slow typist, this would be an absolute boon to you. If you are a lousy speller, DNS handles spelling corrections extremely well, usually on the fly. I am neither of these things; I am both a fast typist and a pretty good speller most of the time. Nevertheless, I still find DNS an incredible tool. I must say that it may take me a while to find ways for me to use it and truly justify it's purchase. But being the geek that I am, I will do my best to find a way to put it to good use. So, for right now, I stand extremely impressed with what I regard as among the more useful innovations in the software realm. Just as an aside: before investing in DNS, I did try out the built-in Speech Recognition feature of Windows 7. It works fairly well and is impressive to a degree in it's own right. In my opinion, however, it doesn't hold a candle to DNS and quite frankly, suffers from too many weaknesses that would render it too frustrating for me to use for most purposes. It just doesn't offer nearly the accuracy or sophistication of DNS.

In conclusion, I can highly recommend Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 12 to anyone seriously interested in getting their feet wet using speech to text translation. I hope you will find it as amazing as I have.
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on April 25, 2013
I Like the product ...BUT...couldn't update the software from version 11.5 to 12. After many tries and many hours of frustration I contacted Nuance's so called Technical Support to solve my problem. The support I received from one of their technicans was for me to troubleshoot it myself following their on-line "Do it yourself" trouble shooting links. This might have been OK for a computer wiz...BUT...I am not one. I spent 4 hours trying to fix using serveral different links but had no sucess. In frustration, I decided to keep using the software version I have and return the Premium 12 software to Amazon. I immediatly apprised Nuance of what I did and 2 days later I received the following message "Since you already returned the solfware, we will not be able to continue to trouble shoot this error. In this case, we will close this incident" The bottom line, if you plan to update and aren't a computer wiz...DON'T until Nuance implements a first class support agency with a live person directing you what to do on your computer screen or to take over your screen to troubleshoot and fix your problem.
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