Windows 7 Features: Speech Recognition VS. Dragon Naturally Speaking
UPDATE: Head on over to Part 2 of this epic battle!
Over the weekend I had an opportunity to perform a Windows 7 Upgrade on my Vista Home Premium 64 bit laptop; which was a longtime coming! I had had my fill of "Blue Screens" and finally decided to do something about it. While I was updating drivers and settings I came across the "Speech Recognition" configuration. I had just bought and installed a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking, version 10 Standard a few days prior to performing the Windows 7 Upgrade. So, I decided to install and go through the "Speech Recognition" tutorial that is built into Windows 7 and compare the two.
Setup - Tutorial
The profile setup/tutorial took about the same amount of time to perform in each software; about 20-30 minutes. The key difference between the two was that in Dragon Speak you created a profile and had to read specific passages and phrases to help train it to your voice. The Windows 7 application does not have this feature, but it is profile based upon the current user logged onto the PC. The tutorials in each application were good with showing sample commands and exercises that helped to train you to the basics.
Tool Bar - Ease of Use
The Windows 7 application automatically launches upon logging in and the toolbar remains in the top center of the screen whereas the Dragon toolbar has to be launched from a shortcut or program files from the start menu. The basic commands are very similar and both programs allow you the ability to run your PC by voice command. You can open applications, browse and open files, surf the web and dictate into Microsoft Word, WordPad or notepad as well as other Microsoft Office applications (Excel, Outlook, Access, etc)
Windows 7 Speech Recognition is included in all versions of Windows 7 and is definitely worth setting up and using if you have a need for a speech to text software. I would have to say though that Dragon does a better job at interpreting what is being said into dictation and that would have to be due to the additional steps taken for the software to learn your speaking voice when setting up the profile for the application, but considering that Speech Recognition is now built into the operating system you really can't go wrong! I am still in my early testing of both of these applications and will report further findings once I have had more time to use them.
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