Reviewers say that Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium is the best voice recognition software, with the potential for 99 percent accuracy -- though most say 98 percent is probably more realistic after extensive training. The Premium version adds support for most Windows and Microsoft Office applications, as well as basic macro commands, which lets you complete several actions at once. It can also be used with a compatible portable digital voice recorder as well as with a microphone (Bluetooth or wired). A major gripe in user reviews is the poor quality of telephone and email tech support, though the number of dissatisfied consumers is relatively small. If you have or plan to buy a computer with the Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating system, it's worth trying out Windows Speech Recognition first. Experts say that while Windows Speech Recognition falls a little short of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium, it is included free with Vista and Windows 7 and might be sufficient for many typical users.
We found the best coverage of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 in The New York Times, TechWorld.com and ZDNet.co.uk. Although it provides a less detailed analysis of the NaturallySpeaking program itself, TopTenReviews.com offers the strongest comparative assessment, rating Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium against its nearest standalone competitors, though not Windows Speech Recognition. Several other sites, such as ExpertReviews.co.uk and PCMag.com, offer standalone reviews of the product. Amazon.com is a good place to go for user opinions.
1. ZDNet UK
ZDNet U.K.'s Sandra Vogel looks at Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 from setup to final save. She's impressed by the simplicity of the program's setup and calls this version "startlingly accurate," although she notes a few errors in transcription. Overall, Vogel calls NaturallySpeaking 11 "a significant improvement" over NaturallySpeaking 10, but she says the new Dragon Sidebar needs tweaking.
Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium, Sandra Vogel, Aug. 2010
2. The New York Times
After skipping any training whatsoever, Pogue reports the software translated one of his 1,300-word columns with 100 percent accuracy. The program's enhanced formatting options and beefed-up search functions are singled out for particular praise, although he notes a few minor quibbles, such as the poor performance of the punctuation insertion tool. Pogue can't recommend that owners of versions 9 or 10 upgrade to Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, although he says everyone else will "be amazed at how far the technology has come."
Review: Reliable Dictation, Down to a 'T', David Pogue, July 2010
Reviewer Sean Carroll calls NaturallySpeaking 11 "scarily accurate," faster and more intuitive than the previous versions, and raves about the software's new Dragon Sidebar and command tools. The program's a memory hog, he notes, and costs a lot more than the free Windows Speech Recognition tool built into Windows. In the end, Carroll awards Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 with the Editors' Choice designation and points power users in its direction.
Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, Sean Carroll, Oct. 2010
Veteran Dragon NaturallySpeaking user Aoife M. McEvoy runs Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 through several accuracy tests: without any training, she reports 96.3 percent accuracy from the software. Completing the initial training results in 97.8 percent accuracy after her first few thousand words, and the number jumps to 98.3 percent accuracy after further dictation and training. The program's quickness and ability to handle fast talking are also appreciated by McEvoy. Fixing transcription errors takes too long for her tastes, however.
Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Professional Review, Aoife M. McEvoy, July 2010
More than 100 NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium owners have submitted their experiences to Amazon's user review page, giving the product an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5. While most say that Dragon's voice recognition technology works well, there is a consistent pattern of complaints regarding installation, compatibility issues and miserable technical support experience from Nuance.
Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 11, Contributors to Amazon.com