App Review: Dragon Dictation


1 out of 5 stars


The Dragon Dictation app describes itself as an easy-to-use voice recognition application. The application is currently only available for iOS and is free to download.

It’s good that this app is free, because I wouldn’t pay for its services.

I downloaded the app onto my iPad mini to test it out. The setup for Dragon Dictation is very basic and the download process takes only a few seconds.

Review by Haley Beets
Review by Haley Beets

The touch screen interface is intuitive. There is a simple silver button icon in the center of the screen that says “Tap and Dictate.”  After the center button has been clicked, an icon points to the microphone that says “speak here.”

I encountered problems right away with Dragon Dictation. I used Harvard sentences to test the audio recognition. Harvard sentences are phrases created to test audio for telephones and voice recognition software.

I read 10 Harvard sentences into the microphone. Only 3/10 were recognized correctly. The other results were amusing but inaccurate.

Precise annunciation is required for the app to pick up on words. Annunciation is not a natural way to speak and makes the app inconvenient to use.

Dragon Dictation fails to pick up on contextual clues, so homophones are not easily distinguishable.

The distance that the app can recognize speech from is incredibly limited. A non-detection error appears if a distance of roughly 2 feet is exceeded. I thought the app would be useful to record lectures, but the small proximity of recording makes that impossible.

Dictation must be edited manually once recorded. There is no option to use voice commands so punctuation must be added vocally.

Inaccuracy is the most notable downfall. The sentence “The leaf drifts along with a slow spin” turned to “believe drifts along with this little spin.”

Though the app has access to my address book, it often could not recognize names. While it has no problem with first names like Emily, multi-syllable last names are problematic.

There are a few useful features for this app, despite my overall bad experience with it.

The app provides options to share to Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. The share button could be useful for sending notes or reminders.

Dragon Dictation’s settings also offer 40 language options, including English with different accents. The settings can be adjusted to detect end of speech and stop recording.

Dragon Dictation is best for notes to self, especially since it cannot record from a distance. The option to share to Twitter, Facebook or e-mail is a convenient feature.

The problems with the app outweigh the positives. Dragon Dictation requires Internet connection and does not recognize many common words. Many of Dragon Dictation’s features are helpful in theory, but fall short in practice.

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