When it comes to speech recognition software, Dragon is pretty much the only game in town. Ever since Dragon Naturally Speaking version 9, the accuracy of voice recognition has been very good.
The upgrade from Dragon Naturally Speaking version 9 to 10 improved the accuracy of voice recognition perceptibly; and even version 11 improved the voice recognition noticeably. But Nuance disabled the use of Dragon Naturally Speaking version 11 in Electronic Medical Record programs. They want to sell, Nuance Dragon Medical Practice Edition 1 or 2, several times more expensive to the healthcare market. And the irony of all this is that despite costing several times more, Dragon Medical 11 (Dragon Medical Practice 1) does not work any better for electronic medical records than Dragon Medical 10. You just feel being ripped off!
Having used Dragon Naturally Speaking version 12 for 4 weeks now, I think version 12 is actually a DOWNGRADE and not an upgrade because of following reasons.
1. SLOWER: I have been spending a lot of time watching the spinning dragon in the correction window on Intel i3 processor 10 Gb RAM computer. Sometimes 6 seconds for a correction.
2. BUGGY: The Dictation Box keeps popping up in a variety of programs even when you are directly dictating into the program and do not want it. For example, you are dictating a document in Microsoft Word and suddenly the Dictation Box pops up and all dictation starts going to the box instead of Microsoft Word document.
3. Many of the old formatting commands do not work, and you have to learn a whole set of formatting commands all over again. Nuance is claiming lot of new formatting commands but so far I have seen very few new usable commands.
4. It does not work for Electronic Medical Record programs. And also functions poorly in browser and Citrix based programs. That is where Dictation Box is useful.
5. It does not work on Remote Desktop programs like RDC, Logmein, RDW, JumpDesktop etc.
6. Keeps crashing in Windows 8 and does not close, when you exit the program. Releasing a program in late 2012, tailgated by Windows 8 release, that does not work well with Windows 8. UPGRADE? Huh?
But version 12 has a few practical advantages.
1. The repertoire of recording devices has increased.
2. You can add multiple audio sources to your profile, instead of having to create multiple profiles.
3. Tutorial is nice, as of now only text, and no videos.
According to Nuance, the accuracy has improved by 20% but the improvement is hard to perceive in day to day use because Version 12 is slower. Slight improvement in accuracy for a slower program is not a trade off to call an upgrade. Version 12 is supposed to have social media commands, but I have not used those.
Based on my personal experience with microphones and recording devices over 15 years on Dragon Naturally Speaking version 3 to 12, I found the following.
A. USB MICROPHONES: give the best voice recognition. Andrea NC-181 VM USB High Fidelity Monaural USB Computer Headset (P-C1-1022300-1) is good value for money. And if you are dictating long documents or do dictation stop-n-go piecemeal then connection between microphone and computer is solid. Dragon or Plantronics USB headsets that come bundled with this program also give good (but not the best) accuracy, but lack mute and volume controls.
B. Bluetooth Microphones: Work fairly well, but not as good as USB microphones. PLANTRONIC Calisto Headset with USB Dongle - 81493-02 is very good. The biggest handicap with wireless microphones is that connection between the microphone and the computer keeps breaking and they do not work well for piecemeal stop-n-go and dictation. Every-time you start dictating after a long pause, you have to reestablish the connection.
C. Recording Devices: Sony ICD-MX20DR9 32MB Flash-Based Digital Voice Recorder & Sony ICD-SX712 Digital Flash Voice Recorder give excellent accuracy. For dictation on-the-go, and later transcription on Dragon, these are the way to go.
D. Smartphones: I have not had good experience with iOS devices like iPhone or iPod touch and the main problem is that their connection with computer keeps breaking off, in middle of dictation, which is very disruptive when you are dictating a long document or pause for 15-30 minutes. Getting a phone call or text in middle of dictation can be troublesome. iOS devices are probably OK for short snippets for Facebook posting, as shown in Demo, but not long document dictation. it is supposed to work with Android devices too, but I have not used it personally.
If you do a lot of dictation, particularly stop-n-go, like I do, for an hour or more every day, then consider hand-held and table USB microphones. Time wasted in putting a microphone on and off the ear and turning it on and off can add up. Instead of turning microphone on and off use "go to sleep" and "wake up" commands - much quicker.
1). TABLE MICROPHONES: SpeechWare's TableMike's 3-in-1, 6-in-1 and 9-in-1 TableMikes are absolutely phenomenal. SpeechWare 3-in1 TableMike is what I use every day and I have not had used a microphone with better speech recognition accuracy than this. For me, working handsfree increases the productivity. But you are better off buying that directly from Knowbrainer, and owner Lunis is very knowledgeable about the microphones and will guide you well and provide technical support for 30 days.
2). HANDHELD MICROPHONES: Like Philips LFH3500 SpeechMike Premium with Precision Microphone and Push Button Operations and Dictaphone PowerMic II Handheld USB Dictation Microphone (Without Scanner) have good speech recognition accuracy and the advantage of adding programmable buttons for activities that you do repetitively in your work day. Philips LFH3500 SpeechMike Premium has a better speech recognition accuracy, motion sensor that mutes the microphone when you lay it flat, a trackball and the buttons can be programmed to work in multiple applications - like Excel, Quickbooks, etc. but Philips software is very buggy. PowerMic II Microphone is made by Nuance, works only with Dragon Medical, has a trackpoint (like ThinkPad), cannot be used in any other application other than Dragon Medical but needs no extra software, comes with software built-into Dagon Medical. SpeechMike LFH3500 is the other microphone I use every day.
If you are already using Dragon version 10 or 11, then stick with it because you will lose a lot of functionality in version 12 without gaining much in accuracy.
If this is the first time you are buying Dragon and you do not plan to use voice recognition for electronic medical records directly in the EMR program or on remote desktop (like LogMeIn, RDC etc.) then go for version 12. Otherwise, stick with version 10 or 11 or grab Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 11, [Old Version] at a much lesser price. Version 11 has excellent accuracy, is fairly fast, and is not buggy but does not work with Electronic Medical Records.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Preferred - Medium Box works in most electronic medical record programs and on less powerful computers but is less accurate than version 11. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 Preferred [OLD VERSION] works in all electronic medical record programs that I know off. If not at Amazon, you can find older versions at off the beaten path retailers online, very cheaply. But if you work with electronic health record on a Windows 7 or 8 computer, you have no other option but to buy Dragon Medical Practice 1 or 2. The whole point of Dragon 12 upgrade is really to choke off the use of regular Dragon in electronic medical programs.