Developer: Nuance Communications
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Usability Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★½☆☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Before I get into reviewing this app, I just want to take a minute and say that I’ve seen a lot of controversy surrounding Dragon Dictation. Why I hear you ask? Well, its all because of that rather long end user agreement which you must accept and agree to, in order to use the company’s application. In my opinion it’s never a good choice to stick a EULA in front of a user especially when launching an app – that’s what the website is for. If anything, you’ll just achieve putting them completely off the using your app, because of the amount of text they have to read through before they can play. Nevertheless, Dragon Dictation does just that.

The problem people had with this was with one section of the agreement which stated that Nuance Communications, also the developer of Dragon Natural Speaking for Mac, would store details from your iPhone contacts on their servers. Now I don’t know about you, but I can now see why this application got the bad press it did. If we’re to believe an app store reviewer though, he received a reply from Nuance Communications which says that they only store names, for better recognition. In their words:

“Dragon Dictation transcribes voice to text with fully automated speech recognition software and only uploads users’ contact names – no email, phone or any other personally identifying information – to optimize name recognition when a user dictates. From there, speech recognition requests and contact names are processed in data centers based here in the US that meet Nuance’s stringent security and privacy standards – the same standards that we use for processing private information in other areas of our business. We keep the contact names for the life of the service in order to keep synchronized with the user’s address book.

For additional details, feel free to review our corporate privacy policy at http://www.nuance.com/company/privacy/.

– Rebecca Paquette, Nuance”

Okay, now that that’s sorted, on with the review! .. A simple app, Dragon Dictation is voice recognition app for iPhone. The idea? You speak into your device like you normally would, and the app recognizes exactly what you say, chunk by chunk. The result? You get speech to text in minutes. Now, in my testing the app was fairly accurate accurate, although sometimes I found (like almost all recognition software I’ve encountered so far) it to have its off moments. Using the app is pretty simple. Tapping the record button center screen will start that recording session. From there, you take center stage. Just speak what you wish to write, hit done, and the rest is done for you. If your voice was recognized correctly, the sentence you just spoke will appear on-screen. If not, the app will display an error: “No speech detected. Please try again.”

Not what you wanted? In the bottom left you’ll find the call key for the iPhone OS keyboard, allowing you to edit the message to reflect what you originally wanted it to say. What’s great about this application though, is the export methods available. Hitting the right button located on the bottom toolbar will pop up a context menu. In total, you can share your message in one of three ways, including: send your message as an e-mail, send as a text message and finally copy the text recognized to iPhone OS’s clipboard.

A handy app which in the long run is sure to make communication on devices like the iPhone faster. Don’t forget, this is only a version 1.0.0, and so far during my use its voice recognition is pretty darn good. While it does have its crazy moments which will have you saying to yourself; “Did I really just say that?” .. and of course, you didn’t – being a free app, it’s definitely worth a punt for the general user looking to add a bit of creativity to writing a text or e-mail on the iPhone.

Make sure you checkout Jeff’s “First Look” of Dragon Dictation. Here!

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Productivity, Reviews

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