Dragon Anywhere Initial Impressions

Nuance has made some big changes in the last few months to its Dragon Dictate applications. They released a new version for the Mac, which I’ve been using and will be publishing a review about shortly. They’ve also changed their iOS strategy and released a new application, Dragon Anywhere (iOS App Store).

Dragon Anywhere is a dedicated dictation application for the iPhone and iPad. You may wonder why you would need such an application when Siri dictation is already pretty good. The problem with Siri dictation, however, is that it has a short fuse. At most you can get two or three sentences out before it stops. With Dragon Anywhere, there is no such limitation. You can leave the application open, turn on the microphone, and start yakking away. I’m doing that right now as I dictate this article. There are additional features, like custom words that synchronize between your devices.

Dragon Anywhere also brings a lot of PC and Mac functions to the iPad and iPhone that you don’t have with Siri. For instance I can select and edit text, use phrases like “scratch that”, and other dictation power user tricks.

I’ve only been at it a few days now but already I really enjoy using it on the iPad Pro. I’ve been opening it up as a split screen application with research on the left side of the screen and dictation on the right. It works great. Nuance claims 99% accuracy. I’m not getting it that accurate but it is more accurate than Siri dictation and adding my own words makes a bigger difference than you’d think. As an example, the screenshot below is the actual dictation without modification and you will see there are some errors. (Click on the screenshot for a bigger view.)

I can already see that the sharing tool needs some work. It is overly Microsoft Word focused. There is no one-tap the button to simply save text to the clipboard. I’ve been getting over that by using the verbal commands “select all” and “copy that”.

It still requires that you have an active Internet connection and it’s pricier than most iOS apps. It’s a subscription-based model that runs $15 a month or $150 year. While it may not be worth it if you only use it occasionally, if you dictate a lot, it’s at least worth consideration. (They have a free one-week trial.) I still have a few days left on my trial but I expect I probably will subscribe because of the amount dictation I do. Either way, expect a more thorough review of this product in a few weeks after I’ve had a bit more time to kick the tires.