Review Price £149.99
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network