Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 costs anywhere from $99 for the home edition, to several hundred dollars for more premium editions (unless you qualify for the academic student / teacher discount.) In comparison, the iPad and iPhone app for Dragon NaturallySpeaking is free. So, which product is better and more accurate at transcribing speech?

We read the rainbow passage to both the Dragon Dictation iPad app and to our Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on our computer at the same time to see which application was better. We used the Calisto wireless headset while reading directly into our iPad:

The rainbow passage

When sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Throughout the centuries men have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods. The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain. The Norse men consider the rainbow as a bridge over which the gods passed from Earth to their home in the sky. Other men have tried to explain the phenomena physically. Aristotle thought that the rainbow was caused by reflection of the sun’s rays by the rain. Since then physicists have found that it is not reflection, but refraction by the raindrops which causes the rainbow. Many complicated ideas about the rainbow have been formed. The difference in the rainbow depends considerably upon the size of the water drops, and the width of the colored band increases as the size of the drops increases. The actual primary rainbow observed is said to be the effect of super position of a number of bows. If the red of the second bow falls upon green of the first, the result is to give a bow with an abnormally wide yellow band, since red and green lights when mixed form yellow. This is a very common type of bow, one showing mainly red and yellow, with little or no green or blue.

Accuracy – Dragon Dictation App vs Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on your Computer

There are 591 words in the initial draft of this document.

  • The Dragon NaturallySpeaking iPad app made 47 word errors – an accuracy of 92%  in this document.
  • The laptop running Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 made 16 errors – an accuracy of 98% in this document.

It’s impressive that the free Dragon dictation iPad app is so accurate, and we wonder how much the accuracy will improve over time as your iPhone or iPad adapts to your voice. (We’ve been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 for half a year now. When we first used Dragon NaturallySpeaking with a brand-new user profile, we had an accuracy of 97.6% when we read the Dragon passage – not including punctuation and capitalization errors.)

The difference between an accuracy of 92% with the iPad app and 98% with the computer version doesn’t seem like much of a difference. But if you’re writing an essay with 1000 words, then you would have to correct 80 words if you were speaking into your iPad or iPhone app, but only 20 words if you used Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on your computer.

Still, for those of us who have difficulty typing on the keyboard of an iPad (or iPhone), then Dragon Dictation is a great app to help you produce content on your iPad. You can easily copy or email your transcribed words. You can also set up the app to connect directly with your facebook or twitter account.

Speed – Dragon Dictation App vs Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on your Computer

The next biggest difference we could see between the Dragon Dictation app and our computer was that Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 transcribed words much quicker than the iPad app.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is certainly faster on the laptop than on the iPad. Sentences would start to appear as we spoke on the computer version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, while we would have to wait for the very end to see our sentences appear on the iPad app. In fact, during the second paragraph of the rainbow passage, the iPad app simply stopped listening and instead started to transcribe but we had said, even though we weren’t finished reading.

Final Notes

This quick test was conducted using an iPad 2 with the latest updates (iOS 4.3.3) and no applications running in the background. In comparison, the laptop was running Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 premium wireless edition, on an dIntel core two duo CPU P8700 at 2.53 GHz with 1.87 gigs of RAM.

Of course, there are other differences between the iPad app and the computer version, but hopefully this quick comparison will help you to make a decision about which Dragon product is right for you.

This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Wireless.

  • There are 591 words in this post. Dragon made 11 word errors. So, we had an accuracy of 98.1% in this document.
  • If you include punctuation and capitalization errors, Dragon made an additional 2 punctuation and capitalization errors. So, we had an accuracy of 97.8% in this document.

In comparison, the Dragon Dictation iPad app made 47 word errors. So, we had an accuracy of 92.0% in this document. If you include punctuation / capitalization errors, the Dragon Dictation app made an additional 5 errors. So, we had an accuracy of 91.2% in this document

  1. Conny Fuller 7 years ago

    I mostly agree the concept of using iPad as your virtual surfeboard, as I do this now with my new iPad 2 with dual-core AS chip. So in my view the best solution is to use Dragon Natural Speaking Wireless – as it makes it so fast and easy to get things done.

  2. Deb 7 years ago

    Can you say if the accuracy of the ipad 2 dragon dictation can be improved by either getting a very good microphone or training? I would love to use this if possible and am looking for ways to optimize it.

    • Mr Kuroneko 7 years ago

      Hi Deb, I don’t think you can train the Dragon Dictation app in the same way that you can train Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11. Dragon has a microphone app that lets you use your iPad as a wireless mic for a computer running dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, and that you can train because it’s simply dragon naturallyspeaking.

      • Mr Kuroneko 7 years ago

        I think Dragon Dictation learns over time because if you click on the app settings, there’s an option to reset enrollment: “This will reset your voice profile. This may result in a decrease in performance.” I’m not sure how your voice profile changes over time since there doesn’t seem to be a way for you to edit misheard words…

  3. Mark 7 years ago

    I have read some reviews that say DNS 9 was good but people have had many problems with DNS 11, especially with the installation and apparently, terrible customer service. Does anyone have any feedback regarding these issues.

    Many thanks in advance

    • Mr Kuroneko 7 years ago

      Hey Mark,

      I don’t really know what to say. I’ve installed Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 and 11 and didn’t have any problems (on Windows XP). The only time I ever had to deal with customer service was to cancel an online order and I was able to get a full refund.

  4. mike 7 years ago

    i was thinking of buying this but no demo just 30 day money back

    • Mr Kuroneko 7 years ago

      Hi Mike, you’re right. Unfortunately, there’s no demo version of Dragon Naturally Speaking. There is also no Dragon Naturally Speaking trial version. It’s one of those things where you have to decide if it’s worth the money to try.

      You might consider getting the Home edition of Dragon Naturally Speaking (and you can see the difference between Home and Premium here.) If you’re a student / teacher, you might qualify for an educational discount, but you probably want to read these things before buying the Dragon Naturally Speaking Student version.

      Good luck!

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