The Good High 92 percent dictation accuracy; lets you control the browser with your voice; includes top-quality USB microphone.
The Bad Requires a fast computer with lots of RAM; pro version costs more than $200; demands more than 500MB of your hard disk.
The Bottom Line ViaVoice 9.0 is awesome, if expensive, for those without a speech-recognition program. But if you're using ViaVoice 8.0, this version isn't different enough to warrant an upgrade.
ViaVoice Pro USB Edition 9.0
You heard it here first: IBM ViaVoice wins the speech-recognition battle by default, but we'd like it no matter what. Perennial competitors NaturallySpeaking and Voice Xpress face an uncertain future, since Lernout & Hauspie, the owner of both, is in serious financial trouble (though the company recently announced a new corporate version of NaturallySpeaking). Thankfully, ViaVoice Pro 9.0 has what it takes to stand alone: it boasts high (if not perfect) dictation accuracy, works better within Word thanspeech engine, and lets you surf by speaking. The downside? Its $220 price tag.You heard it here first: IBM ViaVoice wins the speech-recognition battle by default, but we'd like it no matter what. Perennial competitors NaturallySpeaking and Voice Xpress face an uncertain future, since Lernout & Hauspie, the owner of both, is in serious financial trouble (though the company recently announced a new corporate version of NaturallySpeaking). Thankfully, ViaVoice Pro 9.0 has what it takes to stand alone: it boasts high (if not perfect) dictation accuracy, works better within Word than speech engine, and lets you surf by speaking. The downside? Its $220 price tag.
Say it's the same
ViaVoice 9.0 is not revolutionary; rather, it barely departs from version 8.0. As with 8.0, all of our test installations went smoothly and typically took just under 30 minutes, including the short training session that involved reading text aloud. Likewise, ViaVoice swills just as much disk space as previous versions, chewing up a whopping 510MB.
There's no change, either, in ViaVoice's interface. The VoiceCenter toolbar, which holds all the program's major commands, occupies a thin strip at the top of the screen and sports just a single button (to turn the microphone on and off) and one menu (to access the program's commands). You can also shrink VoiceCenter to just a single icon in your system tray, turn it into a cartoon-character "agent" that rests on the screen, or even dock it against an application window (smart if you dictate mostly into Word, for example).
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