If you want to dictate ideas and articles into your iPhone, you have two choices: Apple’s Siri personal assistant and the Dragon Dictation app. We put them in the ring to let them duke it out. Which one is the winner? Read on to find out!
For several years, I have used Dragon Dictation, Nuance’s free transcription app for iOS, to capture content ideas on my iPhone 3GS. It worked fairly well, except for the fact that it required several steps:
- Dictate what I want translated into my phone.
- Copy the transcribed text in Dictate
- Paste it into the app where I want to save it (usually Evernote)
Dictation enables you to paste text directly into several applications, such as e-mail, messaging, Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, Evernote isn’t directly supported yet. Given its meteoric growth and exceptional popularity, it should be!
I found that this convoluted process tended to slow down my creative flow a bit, especially if I was trying to capture ideas on the go. It was slow but workable. You see, my 3GS was old enough that I couldn’t update it to iOS 7; plus, it didn’t accommodate Siri. So I didn’t have any choice.
One of the advantages of the Dictation app was that I could dictate fairly long – usually the equivalent of a full screen of text on the iPhone – before the app would cut me off. Apparently, it has a buffer that only allows so many seconds of dictation. With some practice, I found I could dictate a fairly complex idea or a brief paragraph of text with fairly high accuracy.
I lusted after an iPhone 5 for a long time. One of the things I tried to determine, without success, was if I could dictate directly into applications using Siri. Oddly enough, I was never able to get a straight answer.
Recently, I had the opportunity to upgrade to a iPhone 5s, which is equipped with iOS 7 and Siri. In this new iPhone and operating system, the dictation feature is built right into the keyboard, which means it is accessible in any text-based app that supports it. After several weeks of use, I’ve come to the conclusion that it works exceptionally well.
With Siri, I can now dictate my ideas and have them transcribed directly into Evernote, eliminating several steps and helping to me to keep my creative flow going better than before. Accuracy is on par with Dragon Dictation – about 90-95%.
The one minor disadvantage of Siri is that I cannot dictate for as long as I could with Dictation. The audio buffer is perhaps five seconds shorter. But this hasn’t proved to be a problem; I just have to learn not to be as verbose!
The winner by a knockout?
Siri. The significantly improved efficiency of being able to capture ideas without having to switch from one app to another has been a boon to my productivity!