Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 - Value and Verdict

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly



  • Recommended by TR
Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12


Our Score:


Despite the smart tutorial there is still a learning curve and, more to the point, it isn't always convenient to speak out to your PC – particularly with personal and business-related content. We also found that while Nuance talks up the ability for NaturallySpeaking 12 to block out ambient noise accuracy does fall in noisier environments, sometimes to the level that you revert to the keyboard. Whether you'd want to be using it in such environments is doubtful anyway, but it does stop v12 being used as a reliable transcribing tool which remains a holy grail for students and journalists.

NaturallySpeaking 12 5

We would also like to see the permanently installed toolbar automatically minimise/maximise when toggling voice recognition on or off as it wastes screen space – particularly on lower laptop resolutions. Finally it is worth taking note of the hardware specifications as dual core processors, 4GB of RAM on 64-bit operating systems and a 3.2GB installation footprint would likely rule out some older PCs and ultraportable laptops. At present support for commands in Windows 8's Modern UI are extremely limited too, but Nuance has announced it will address this with software updates.

Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Value

Caveats aside there is no denying NaturallySpeaking 12 is the best version of the series to date. Furthermore as the pre-eminent voice recognition software it is quite simply the best voice recognition software for computers to date. That said with a £149.99 RRP the question for existing users is not whether it is the best, but is it worth the upgrade? For users of v10 and below the answer is a clear yes, but for owners of 11/11.5 we don't think the improvements will be enough.

Then again, for new users the answer is simple: if you have wanted to try voice recognition software and have a working/home environment which is suitable for it then Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 is quite simply the new benchmark. It has the potential to revolutionise the way you work and for those with a disability it will prove life-changing. In that context £150 is a snip.

NaturallySpeaking 12 7

Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 Verdict

It is arguable that despite being a point release v11.5 of NaturallySpeaking contained more new features than v12 and we are certainly talking about evolution not revolution. Hardware requirements are high, the pricing premium and it still struggles with ambient noise.

That said, NaturallySpeaking 12's voice recognition performance once again raises the bar for the industry and it is combined with better support for web email and an uncanny ability to automatically learn your formatting preferences which is a real time saver. Better, faster, smarter NaturallySpeaking 12 is exceptional, but upgraders from v11 onwards need not apply.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Performance 10
  • Usability 9
  • Value 7

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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