I’ve been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Premium for about two weeks now and I have to say, it’s quite an improvement over Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.

The new version is better at word recognition, faster, and is less obtrusive.

As of Dragon 13, the program works with a computer’s standard built-in microphone. A headset is no longer required… though I find I still prefer it because I like to speak rather quietly when doing speech-to-text.

Ok, let’s start from the beginning here.

Dragon 13 can be used straight out of the box. The initial setup is easy.

Setting it up right can take some time and work though. Going through the tutorials and accuracy training is recommended and, in my experience, greatly improves the speech-to-text experience. There is a lot to learn as one gets started with Dragon.

The set up and accuracy training is kind of fun though. The anticipation of your computer responding to your voice, like something out of Star Trek, is cool!

In practice, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13’s word recognition feels much tighter than Dragon 12’s.

It’s not flawless and still gets some words wrong. But if I listen to what I said (the ‘playback’ feature plays back a recording of your voice so you can hear what Dragon heard), I find it’s usually my poor enunciation of a word, a microphone hiccup, or an extraneous noise, that caused the problem.

There are still times though that I’ll say the same word, the same way, and I’ll get different results. That can be frustrating and I find I do have to be very careful to proof things well.

With Dragon 13, text is displayed much faster and smoother than with Dragon 12. I always figured that my 4 GB of RAM just wasn’t enough to run the program. But with Dragon 13 (on the same computer, and same memory) Dragon pretty much stays caught up with what I am saying.

Oh, I’ve also noticed that Dragon 13 doesn’t respond to every grunt, sniff, cough, and throat clearing with an “hmm, hmmmm” or pop-up saying it couldn’t understand me. It just ignores my various non-word verbalizations. That’s a big improvement!

I find that I am using Dragon 13 much more than I used 12. It’s been very handy when making quick forum posts and sending short emails. With longer emails and when blogging, I do tend to use both voice and the keyboard together. Though it’s possible to edit with Dragon, it’s often easier and faster to just make changes manually. Old habits die hard.

As for Nuance support, I would really love to see Nuance do a better job with their help forum. A large number of help requests go unanswered there.

When asked about better support options, David Popovitch, the technical product manager of Dragon, pointed out that all Dragon customers have access to 90 days of technical support. That support includes the option of speaking to a live agent. The contact information is at the bottom of Nuance’s support page.

After the first 90 days, live support is available on a paid basis.

Popovitch also confirmed that, through September 30,  existing Dragon NaturallySpeaking customers with any previous version of Dragon receive a $100 discount on Dragon 13 Premium.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Premium costs $199 for new users.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Home edition costs $99 and is available through a digital download on Nuance’s site right now. The physical version of the Home edition should be in stores by the end of August/beginning of September.

According to Popovitch, while the Dragon 13 installer has an ‘evaluation’ feature built in, there is not a free trial version available at this time.

Check out the video below for a quick look at how Dragon 13 works in WordPress!

What are your questions about Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13? Leave them below and I’ll answer the best I can 🙂