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Dragon 5.0.1 review: Speech recognition for the Mac gets improved accuracy, better interface

Kirk McElhearn | Oct. 7, 2015
Why type when you can dictate to your Mac?

Naturally, recognition improves over time, especially if you use a unique vocabulary. Dragon’s Voice Training helps the software learn your voice as you read some simple stories. But an even better way to improve recognition is to use the Vocabulary Training feature, where you let Dragon read documents that you have written. Dragon listens the words you speak, but also looks at the context in which words are used. The more familiar it becomes with your specific vocabulary, and the way you order words, the more accurate it is.

You can also use Dragon to transcribe recordings, a feature that I described in my review of Dragon Dictate 3. You can use voice commands to control your Mac, and Dragon 5 supports more accents, such as Canadian, Southeast Asian, Indian, and Australian English. Full Text Control lets you talk and type, and issue commands, in Microsoft Word 2001 and 2016, as well as TextEdit. (You can talk and type in any application, as long as you issue the “Cache document” command each time you make changes from the keyboard.)

With “Menu walking,” you can tell Dragon to click menus, controlling any application. Say any commands in any menus, such as “Click Window Menu; Click Minimize,” for example, and Dragon executes them hands-free.

One feature that will be available soon, but I have not tested, is Dragon Anywhere. This is described as “a cloud-based app that provides continuous dictation capabilities [...] on an iOS or android device.” We’ll have more about Dragon Anywhere when it’s available.

Dragon 5 has proven incredibly stable in my testing. While there were some glitches in the initial release of the software, a maintenance update seems to have fixed all the issues that I encountered.

Bottom line

This new version offers not only improved accuracy but a much better interface that doesn’t get in the way. If you’re used to dictating, you’ll definitely want to update to Dragon 5. If you’ve never used this software before, this is a great time to check it out. The fact that you can get excellent results without buying a specific microphone makes it more affordable, and easier to use.


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