Nov 7, 2012
I mentioned in my last post about the Surface RT that, contrary to some reviews, it does have Dictation, and I used it to write that entire 2000 word article. And I promised to post a bit more about it—so here goes.
The dictation feature is an app that can be used to enter text and commands in nearly any app or program in the Surface RT. I’ve used it to write emails in the Mail app, and to write long articles in Word.
However, not everyone is going to like Surface RT’s dictation app. It is not as easy to use as dictation is on the iPhone, iPad, or Android. Why? Because there’s no little microphone button next to all your input fields like on those devices. Rather, it’s a separate program called Speech Recognition and it is hidden in the All Apps section of Surface RT—you have to open it when you want to use it (I pinned it to the Start screen for easy access). Once open, it floats above the current window—you use it on top of whatever you are writing into. It’s really more for writing several paragraphs at a time, not on-the-spot text input. But again, it works great when writing mail or when working in Word and OneNote.
By the way, this dictations app is the same speech recognition program that has been shipping with Windows for some time, the one based on Dragon Naturally Speaking. Since I happen to be a long time user of Dragon, I already know how to use it and I think it works great.
But you need to set it up and train it a bit, there’s about 15 minutes of prep before first use, so it’s not for everyone.
One advantage of this app compared to iOS and Android dictation is that this app runs locally on the Surface RT, so you don’t need to be connected and online to use it. One disadvantage though is it will not work in a noisy.environment..
Again, it’s called Speech Recognition, and you find it under the All Apps section of the Surface RT.