PROS / TalkingDesktop features an avatar to help you through the software.
CONS / TalkingDesktop has limited controls and slow reaction times.
VERDICT / This software seriously lacks the necessary features and accuracy to really stand out.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
TalkingDesktop voice recognition software seems to be software designed to help people improve productivity but somewhere along the way devolved into something else. TalkingDesktop attempts to be something more than just speech recognition software. It seems to aim at being a replacement desktop as well as voice recognition software. It pulls information about news and weather and your favorite websites into one location, which sounds incredibly handy. It would be, if it were just a little bit more versatile.
TalkingDesktop looks great when shown as a demonstration, but when you try to use it on a regular basis as a command and dictation voice recognition platform, it quickly becomes inadequate. Its controls are limited and its reaction slow.
The TalkingDesktop voice recognition software consists of a large ring with various commands spread around it. There are plenty of useful options for pulling in news and weather and updates from the internet. This would be useful almost as a sort of RSS feed at least, but it takes so long to pull information into your computer that you could easily open a weather site and a news site in the time TalkingDesktop takes to do it.
TalkingDesktop also includes an avatar that speaks to you and actually does a pretty nice job of responding appropriately to commands and greetings. The avatar will even check to see if you’re still there after prolonged silence, and if you are away for a while and the computer hears your approach, TalkingDesktop will wake up the system for you so it’s ready to go when you sit down.
However, the avatar is still as slow to respond and as apt to misunderstand commands as the rest of the system is, so having a CG lady to respond to your commands isn’t much of a benefit.
TalkingDesktop voice recognition software works very well for a limited set of commands, but becomes very difficult to use if you want to expand beyond that basic set of commands. There is a way to customize commands to do things that aren’t originally on the command list, but the process is unwieldy and doesn’t always work well.
Ultimately, even basic things like opening and closing programs can be a chore from time to time. TalkingDesktop operates almost as a separate environment and can be difficult to use with your actual Windows Desktop.
The TalkingDesktop dictation mode can only be described as adequate at best. It recognizes basic vocabulary, but doesn’t fair well with complicated or uncommon words. This voice recognition software also struggles with some kinds of punctuation and formatting. It might be useful for getting your thoughts down, but you’ll probably want to do editing and formatting on the old fashioned keyboard and mouse.
Of all the programs in this review, TalkingDesktop fared the worst on our dictation accuracy test. With a combined accuracy score of 86 percent, it scored significantly lower than the rest of the products we tested, which means you’ll need a lot of editing to make your document readable.
TalkingDesktop struggled with transcribing all kinds of words, everything from missing short words like “of” and “a” to completely mistaking words. For instance, when we said “punctuation errors” TalkingDesktop thought we said “jewishness.” That’s a rather large mistake. The makers of TalkingDesktop were quick to point out that the program requires a high-quality headset microphone to transcribe text correctly, but we were using a high-quality headset, the same one, in fact, that we used with every other program undergoing the accuracy test.
The TalkingDesktop speech recognition software ring interface is fairly simple, the thing that makes the program difficult to use is the lack of accuracy mentioned above and the sometimes unbearable lag time after a command is given. Sometimes TalkingDesktop takes several seconds to register a command, which is an eternity when speaking commands is supposed to be faster than clicking with a mouse.
Help & Support
The company behind TalkingDesktop, Abasoft, actually has quite a few different avenues to find answers to your questions. There is a support section on their website available only to those who have purchased a copy and have their activation code handy. The site provides FAQs, user guides and tutorials. Additionally, you can contact the company through phone or email to get further help.
TalkingDesktop voice recognition software just doesn’t have the necessary features, accuracy or design to really stand out amongst other voice recognition software. It’s serviceable, but there are other programs that do the job much better.