Editor's Note: At Top Ten Reviews we strive to evaluate products from each category that are similar in order to make a fair comparison. While this product is still being produced we do not feel it is comparable to the other items in our lineup at this time.
Sometimes it’s difficult to get excited about a product that is good in all respects but overshadowed by another product that really stands out. Such is the case with e-Speaking in our review of voice recognition software. It really is a good product: useful, simple, effective. However, good just isn’t good enough sometimes, and that’s why e-Speaking didn’t rank higher.
The pieces are all there in e-Speaking voice recognition software; command mode, dictation mode, essential features, and the pieces fit together well enough, but they just don’t mesh quite as well as they do in Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software or MacSpeech Dictate voice recognition software For instance, the dictation mode works well, but feels a little more sluggish than other programs. The commands are useful, but they don’t cover quite as many functions as the competitors. So while you can certainly get a lot done with e-Speaking, you still might end up needing the keyboard and mouse from time to time.
The e-Speaking voice recognition software program uses the standard Microsoft voice recognition system, but only the ones from Widows 7, XP, Windows 2000.
While this voice recognition software is a little outdated, it still works well. The voice training session seems to run a little long, but it’s definitely worth going through because completing the voice training drastically improves the accuracy of commands and dictation.
There are additional voice training modules too, and while some of them are also exceptionally long, we recommend completing them because they help the computer learn how you pronounce difficult and uncommon words. Obviously, it’s a bit much to sit down and do them all in one sitting, but over the course of a few days you should be able to burn through them. It’s really worth it if you plan to use the program extensively.
One of the problems we had with e-Speaking had to do with the toolbar. It’s a little sluggish and unresponsive at times, but opening the menu button offers you instant access to the commands list, which is invaluable to beginners trying to remember how to execute tasks.
There’s one more aspect of e-Speaking voice recognition software that isn’t really imperative to the overall user experience, but we can’t resist commenting on it. We’re speaking of the avatars for the computer voice that communicates with you. While the idea is simple enough, it’s more personable to have a face speaking to you than a disembodied voice, the execution is lacking. The e-Speaking avatars are all pictures of women who appear to be copied off the cover of an Esquire or Maxim magazine cover. When the computer speaks to you, the pixels around the mouth attempt to morph and animate to make it look as if this sultry vixen is talking to you. But in reality it just makes an already out-of-place image look deeply unsettling. Not only do you have a disembodied voice, but now it’s coming out of the horribly disfigured mouth of an airbrushed model. Actually, it’s more than unsettling, it’s just plain weird. Fortunately, the avatars aren’t necessary to the function of the program, so we recommend avoiding them altogether.
As we mentioned above, e-Speaking voice recognition software is both useful and slightly disappointing when it comes to commands. While there are commands for many of the things you commonly do, the program still fails to understand commands related to anything other than the most basic Windows programs. We even had problems executing commands in Microsoft Office at times, which should be the mainstay of voice recognition usage.
Fortunately, e-Speaking voice recognition software allows you to customize commands for programs, so if you consistently have problems with a common task, you can map a new command to that action. This is one of those things that will grow more useful the more you use the program and become familiar with it. While that helps it remain useful, the commands aren’t as easy to use out of the box as they are in some other programs.
The e-Speaking voice recognition software does an admirable, if not perfect, job of dictation. The program was able to keep up with us fairly well at normal conversational speeds, although it occasionally hangs and creates a lag. This can mean you have to go back quite a way to pick up where the program lost track of your speech.
While e-Speaking can translate your speech to text pretty well, one area where it struggles is correcting and formatting text by voice command. While the program has no problem identifying “period” and “comma” commands, anything beyond that is problematic. Also, selecting text for editing can be a pretty frustrating task, causing you to just throw your hands up and return to the keyboard and mouse for editing work.
The e-Speaking voice recognition software site probably offers the weakest customer support of any of the products we reviewed. The website is outdated and sometimes doesn’t even show the navigation bar. There are FAQ and user guide sections, but they are fairly limited. And you can only contact the company by email if you can’t find and answer on their site.
Even though e-Speaking voice recognition software is better than some, it’s worse than the rest. It’s a mediocre voice recognition system that is functional even though it isn’t quite as accurate as higher-ranking products and is harder to use.
e-Speaking is simple to use.
e-Speaking seems to have a slower response time.
While e-Speaking is a good product, for the best we recommend Dragon NaturallySpeaking.