Hands-On with Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home 13.0

I’ve always wanted to try the Dragon NaturallyRecognition software, but never had the extra money to invest in the software. I caught the home version on sale for $35 (a normally $99 purchase), so I decided to test out the program. I type really slow and way more dyslexic than I would like, so I thought the software would help me get novels finished faster.

I had the choice of buying the download or having a physical CD shipped to me. I chose the CD option because it came bundled with a headset to use, and I knew the software might not be compatible with my mic. Once the package arrived, I eagerly installed the Dragon program with the simple step by step instructions.

I knew I would have to train the software, and it wouldn’t be perfect and ready to use right away. I prepared myself for that fact. What I wasn’t prepared for was the hours spent raging at my PC while I tried to sync the headset. That’s right, I couldn’t get the program to sync with the headset that came bundled with the software. I spent hours trying to get any mic to sync up with the program, even though the software said that it works with the bundled headset as well as most built in PC mics and many USB connected headsets.

I checked the website for support, but found a forum with lots of similar issues that seemed to be unresolved. Headsets worked with my laptop, but wouldn’t sync with the software. I finally got a gaming headset to work via USB and mix-amp, but then I couldn’t be mobile with my laptop.

I used some time to try out the program, and I attempted to train the software to my voice. The tutorial was pretty in-depth as they walk you through most of the features. Dragon allows voice recognition to turn the mic off, navigate web browsers, and of course creating and formatting documents in word processors. It accepted my voice commands well, but some words it refused to understand even if I spelled them out verbally. However, you could type out and say the words to help the program recognize those words in the future.

In addition to the mic issue, I also experienced a bad lag issue. My laptop was close to Dragon’s minimum requirements, but there was a huge typing delay. I don’t experience any lag with bigger programs like Photoshop, but had major lag with Dragon.

Now I’ve spoken to several authors who tried Dragon, and the census seems to be pretty split. Some swear the program has done wonders for their daily word count and very convenient, and others complain of issues with the software similar to my experience. I returned my copy because the issues kept the program from being convenient for me. My recommendation? If you are still interested in trying the software in hopes of a better experience than I had, I would recommend getting the physical copy instead of the digital download.

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