Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 - Performance and Issues

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly



  • Recommended by TR
Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12


Our Score:


Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Performance

Happily that is how it plays out in practice too. While a point iteration doesn't sound like much v11.5 made great strides with its accuracy, yet v12 manages to improve upon them further. Nuance quotes a 99 per cent accuracy rate much as it did in v11.5 (largely because 100% is impossible) yet we found that ultimately to be a conservative number. In our first day's use accuracy was roughly 97 per cent (we were finding approximately three incorrect words per 100 words), but as NaturallySpeaking is continually learning your voice pattern and even tonal fluctuations within 48 hours it was making less than one mistake every 200-300 words.

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Yes you can catch out v12 with uncommon words or names, but only the once as it will then learn the term the next time around. Furthermore, Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 isn't just about accuracy, but saving time and its ability to recognise your regular formatting preferences is uncanny (it now capitalises 'Windows' for me, by default). It also correctly formats geographical addresses and post codes depending on their destination. These tweaks and a faster reproduction of your words to text are neat visual aids that allow you to focus your thoughts more clearly, especially if you're a user who watches and waits for their text to appear onscreen.

As a Google Apps user, the sharper integration with Gmail was highly welcome too and while some language remains stilted ('tab' to switch input boxes, for example) it becomes second nature quickly. Posting to social media is a synch too, though I still found myself going to sites regularly if I wanted to add more than a simple status update.

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Interestingly I also saw no noticeable drop offs in accuracy when using the bundled Plantronics headset or the iPhone and Android apps, but there are noticeable usage differences. The apps communicate via your wireless network which makes them more of a faff on the move (unless you're using mobile Wi-Fi), but allows them to be used a long distance from your computer. In contrast, the Bluetooth headset makes it simple on the move, but it means you will need a computer with Bluetooth and you can't stray too far.

Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Issues

Of course there remains a reason why voice recognition has yet to take off like touchscreen phones and motion controlled gaming: it isn't uniformly better than a keyboard and mouse. Certainly error correction has improved and for those who live in Microsoft Office and email v12 is more seamless, but there are times when you simply need to return to your keyboard or mouse as it is the quicker option.

Vlad Papper

January 4, 2013, 2:44 am

Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 is a total disappointment. If you are not native American speaker, please stay away from this program. It simply doesn't do what it should do - it doesn't recognise my speech. I've trained it and updated accuracy for quite some time. I've tried to teach it recognising my pronunciation and my accent, but to no avail. Still, it doesn't recognise about 70-80% of the words in the sentence, in spite of the fact that I'm dictating the text with a normal pace. For example, instead of "further", it writes "the". There are many examples of the speech recognition that I can provide on request. I've reported these problems to the technical support, but in their reply, was advised to learn the basics of the dictation before using their software.

Matt Screeton

February 9, 2013, 1:03 am

Here is a brief video of it in action:


May 16, 2013, 9:36 pm

I am a lawyer and have tried numerous earlier versions of dragon dictate but have always had to give up either because of gross in accuracy or program hanging. Updated my computer and got top spec mike and wow, this is transformational. Accuracy is brilliant and it's highly useable. A real time saver for me. Just hope it doesn't deteriorate as I have been here before, great beginnings aren't always followed by great endings. However so far so good


August 3, 2013, 12:42 pm

It is not good for anybody who does not speak clearly or is bilingual or a foreigner, the accuracy drops to 1%.


October 15, 2013, 9:50 pm

Try better microphone, at least in category starting from 35 USD, cheap or internally built in laptops will not give any positive result.

Donna Hare

October 23, 2013, 12:07 am

I have never gotten my 60 rebate back as promised and I did all of the paper work correctly.. So don't believe you will get a rebate with this product because you won't.

Donna Hare

October 23, 2013, 12:07 am

You will not get your rebates as promised.. so don't expect it.


November 11, 2013, 5:55 pm

Spent about 5 hours setting up. Prog. disappears every so often with the loss of work. "Help" has no idea of that which they speak. Waste of money, went back to 11.5. The person who did the review is obviously employed by Nuance

Geoff Richards

November 11, 2013, 9:53 pm

Sadly, your comment is about as rational as me saying "Because you are criticising this review, you are obviously employed by one of our competitors, or maybe a competitor of Nuance".

I'm sorry you had problems, as well as Vlad Papper. I used Version 12 extensively at the start of the year when I dislocated my finger and couldn't type. I was impressed at how accurate it was, and the speed at which I could compose text.

I used a high quality Razer gaming headset with microphone and had a great experience. And I'm not an American speaker either.


January 8, 2014, 10:45 pm

Hi, has anyone run into the problem with the 'Dragon' not recognizing your audio program? I have Windows 7 with RealTek, I called Nuance and they told me to get an Andrea USB... but they cost about $30-$40 and up. Also there are several different kinds. I did find one sold on Amazon for about $25, does anyone know if there is a certain model/part number I should look for??? I am NOT a computer genius...not even close, so PLEASE, no computerese :-), Thanks to anyone that can help me. Dee Taylor

Tommy Prophet

January 25, 2014, 10:43 pm

does anyone have experience with dragon transcribing an audio file that is from a speaker that is not available for training?


January 29, 2014, 3:39 pm

So are we going to get a 9 month follow up review?

Morten Stenhaug

October 16, 2014, 1:59 pm

Hi, Just wanted to share my personal experience: which sums up to : Stay away.
- Nuance consistently asks me to set up the account again (and again, and again)
- It recognizes speech relatively well, when it works, but nothing near my Applie Iphone speach recognition. It is only barely better than what is in windows already.
- Customer service: non existent. You have to pay to get any answers.
... So stay away, use something else.


May 28, 2015, 7:11 am

I tried. Let me be brief in my answer. Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!! Dragon is a big joke on all those who buy it.

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