The best-selling voice-recognition software for the Mac, Dragon Dictate by Nuance, has reached the stage where each new version makes small improvements, rather than delivering any great leap forward. See all: PC Advisor software downloads.
So this time round we get higher quality audio sampling – which Nuance claims results in a 15 percent improvement in the out-of-the-box accuracy – better editing tools, the ability to transcribe recorded speech into text (most popular audio file formats are supported) a free iOS recorder app for those without a 'proper' digital recorder, cleverer formatting tools and the ability to edit the vocabulary so, for example, you can expunge Americanisms.
Although we still prefer Dragon as a straight dictation tool, the editing commands have been unified into a single window in version 3 making them easier to use. Elsewhere, we rate the included interactive tutorials which are engaging, cover the ground well and are useful for newcomers and old hands alike, as well as the Smart Format Rules which allow you to define a rule (for example 'kilo' instead of 'kg') and then apply them globally.
There are useful built-in commands for Mountain Lion's Notes and Reminders and the Express Editor (a sort of floating post-it which lets you dictate text and then paste it into applications that don't support Dragon Dictate fully) is ingenious - though still a bit Heath Robinson.
Dragon Dictate remains a remarkable tool for dictation, with an uncanny ability to recognise all manner of voices with very little training; it's forgiving too and we found that accuracy improved as our delivery stopped being so mannered and became more natural. Although clearly an important product for those with accessibility issues, we still feel that smooth navigation and speedy editing requires considerable investment – though we've become almost ubiquitous on s social media sites thanks to the always-on 'Tweet that' and 'post to Facebook' commands.