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Windows Vista or Dragon Naturallyspeak?

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My uncle just bought a new computer in December, though missed the Express Upgrade to Windows Vista. What he wants to buy is Dragon Naturallyspeak for the Voice Recognition software but costs $100. I was telling him about the Speech software built-in to Windows Vista and he could do the upgrade for $156 (the cost to Upgrade XP to Vista Home Premium).


What's better and has more advance features to it, Windows Vista or Dragon Naturallyspeak. I've never used the Dragon software so for those who have both, what should I prefer to my uncle. He's not really technically advance so you may want to take that in mind while making the decision.


In short, should he upgrade to Vista and use the Speech recognition software built-in or should he save the $50 or so dollars and use the Dragon software for XP?


(BTW, does Windows Vista Home Basic have the Speech software as well, or just the other versions? As for compatibility on his computer, I'll find it out later when I see him at his house.)

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I've used Dragon Naturally Speak but not vista's speech recognition. Dragon is really good for dictation, I heard that Vista's dictation is slightly worse in this aspect. But if you are looking for voice-control interface, vista's build-in system is much more integrated, Dragon have some system commands but not as comprehensive as vista.


So it really depends on what do you use this for. Plus adding the cost of time and potential headache of upgrading to Vista.

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I haven't tested vista's speech-rec.


But in any case, whatever is your choice, make sure he has good audio input:

  • a good microphone
  • a good mic-in or line-in on the soundcard
  • (if the mic connects through USB, it should come with a good integrated audio unit)

Sometimes on-board soundcard have quite cheap mic-in circuitry, and this will surely impact the quality of the recognition. So record some dictation with any recorder (windows' own, or audacity, etc), then play it back to check the quality.


The quality of the mic itself will be important too. Some professionals using DNS (Pro or Medical versions) will invest quite a bit in high-performance mics. You don't need that much, but if you have problems, check these two important hardware details.


If needed, get a good soundcard (a second-hand SBLive or Audigy can suffice), and a nice headset (on the low end, some Logitech that have favorable reviews; on middle-range, a middle-range USB Plantronics headset -- eg Plantronics DSP-400 or better; etc)

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if you do decide to go for vista - never ever ever ever get home basic - go for a better one

Yeah, if it was me, I'd sooner smear my head with honey and stick it into an ant hill then to resort to Windows Vista Home Basic. I was just curious whether it had the Speech Software or not (just thinking about it now, I know it is in there because of accessibility reasons). (BTW, as a random fact, Home Basic Upgrade in Australia costs more than the Home Premium Upgrade).


My Uncle's computer is a Compaq, costs around $600, and currently runs Windows XP Media Center Edition. That's all I know about it because he really can't tell me anything technical about it and it would be like teaching a toddler how to run a crane just to explain to him about the parts of the computer.


Dragon Naturallyspeak seems like the way to go. Thanks anyway for the help!

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