If you need to get something noted down quickly it can often be better to dictate it. Not all of us have a personal secretary following us around though, and for these people Dragon Dictation could be the answer.
This free app records your voice and converts it into text in a very simple fashion. After loading Dragon Dictation just click on the record button and start talking. Press the 'Done' button when you're finished and after a few seconds a transcript of what you said will be shown.
At least, that's the theory. In reality, I have to question the accuracy of Dragon Dictation because it never recognized any of the phrases I said during my extensive tests (evidence of which you'll see in the garbled nonsense written in a couple of the screenshots). Perhaps this could be because of my regional British accent, because many reviewers on the App Store are praising the accuracy of Dragon Dictation. I tried to talk very slowly and even attempted an American accent but to no avail.
Luckily, Dragon Dictation has a text editing feature that lets you go back over your transcripts and correct them manually, but if it makes as many mistakes with you as it did with me you'll probably give up after a while.
Another issue that many people have noted is the way Dragon Dictation takes users' phone contacts and uploads them to their server. This is mentioned in the EULA, but it may not be clear to all users. The developer of Dragon Dictation said on a iTunes post: "we only upload names, not emails, phone numbers, or other personal details," insisting that they don't even know which of the names is the owner of the phone. It claims the reason the data is taken is to aid recognition of the names in your contacts. The app has now been updated to make this optional anyway.
If you have the right kind of accent and aren't suspicious of apps that mine your data then you should find Dragon Dictation a novel and easy-to-use way of taking notes on the fly.
- Bug fixes