updated 08:30 pm EST, Thu November 10, 2011
Lighter version of Dictate for $50
Speech dictation software developer Nuance has released a new, "lighter" version of its Dragon Dictate software called Dragon Express, with the primary difference being that the Express program doesn't allow users to dictate directly into third-party programs, instead requiring users to dictate first into the Express program, which will forward route the text into other OS X applications. Express features a two-minute "training" period and very high accuracy.
Users can add custom words to the Dragon Express dictionary, and the program sits ready to be used via a menubar item. The Express version lacks the ability to edit or format the text via voice, or profile and formatting customization preferences and command controls as would be found in the full Dragon Dictate program, but users can opt to upgrade to the Dictate program at a later date for an additional $99, a savings of $50 over buying Dragon Dictate directly.
The program works with many of the most popular Mac applications and allows for a limited set of commands, for example allowing a Spotlight or Google web search by voice, and can route a dictated message to e-mail, Facebook or Twitter by simply telling it to do so. The program does not require an internet connection, unlike the iOS or Mac versions of Dictate (which uses the connection to store proper names from the users' address book for better recognition).
Nuance's Dragon Express is available exclusively through the Mac App Store for $50. The full Dragon Dictate program is also available for $199 ($179 download only). Both programs can be used with the built-in mics included on most Macs, but a USB headset is strongly recommended for best accuracy.