We recently canceled our order for Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Wireless Teacher and Student Edition.
Not because we don’t love Dragon 11 – we’re still cautiously optimistic and excited by the voice-recognition software. In fact, this post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Wireless. (Jump to the bottom to see the accuracy rate.)
No, we returned the Education Edition back to Nuance because we found a better deal at Staples in our hometown. When we wrote our initial review of Dragon 11, we were having some trouble with Nuance’s cancellation/return policy. We’re happy to report that we received a full refund from Nuance.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium goes for $199.99 US. The Premium Student and Teacher Education Version is exactly the same product, except they only charge $99.99 US (for academic purposes only.). In other words, you save $100.
We don’t have a problem with buying things online, but at the time (October 2010), Best Buy and Future Shop were not carrying Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 on the shelves. (Actually, they still had Dragon 10 in stock.)
So we ordered the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Education Edition online from Nuance after breakfast. Then we discovered that Staples had a special sale on the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 premium wireless version. Instead of charging the regular price of $299.99 US, it was on sale for $199.99 Canadian. In other words, you save $100. (The same amount you save on the Student and Teacher edition.)
We really wanted the wireless version because it comes with the Plantronics Calisto headset with Bluetooth USB adapter included inside. Why wireless? We’ve used previous versions of Dragon with a USB headset and then recently we were messing around with trying to see if we could get our cell phone’s Bluetooth headset to work with Dragon.
(The sound quality on our Motorola Bluetooth headset H790 was horrible for voice-recognition, but great for phone calls. Nuance has on their website a list of compatible hardware that has been tested to work with Dragon naturally speaking.)
Wireless is easier - no cables connecting you to your laptop. (One time, we had students in our classroom use our USB headset to do some podcasting with Audacity. One student walked away from our computer, forgot that she was wearing our headset and yanked out the USB cable. That was the end of the headset, but that’s another story.)
$199 is a great price for Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Wireless Premium. Best Buy and Future Shop were both selling the same product for $325 online. Heck, we could have gotten Best Buy and Future Shop to price match with Staples to save an additional 10%, but by this point, we were tired of running around.
So five hours after we placed our initial order online with Nuance for the education edition, we tried to cancel our order. We were very disappointed with the whole cancellation process. Even though they hadn’t processed our order yet, their customer service rep wasn’t able to cancel the order. They could only place a cancellation ticket so that the Fulfillment Department could hopefully cancel the order (if they got in time.) In the end, our education edition got shipped two hours after we phoned to cancel the order, and then later in the evening of the same day we received a polite e-mail from the fulfillment Department saying that the order had already been shipped.
The e-mail give us some options, namely that if we refused to accept the package it would be returned to their warehouse and we would be entitled to a refund less shipping costs. Suffice it to say, we were disappointed with this whole customer service experience and were expecting to lose around $20 in shipping.
In the end, however, we were pleasantly surprised when we looked at our credit card statement. It turned out that we received a full refund including the cost of shipping. (In fact, we made $.69 because of the American-Canadian exchange rate, and the Canadian dollar got stronger between the time we bought the software and when we got a refund.)
Although it’s hard to shake first impressions, it seems that buying Dragon NaturallySpeaking online from Nuance might not be that bad. (Actually, it’s the only place you can get Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Student/Teacher Edition.) Shipping was quite quick:
- In our case, we placed an order for the Education Edition online on Tuesday morning.
- The shipment arrived at our house in Ontario, Canada the next day on Wednesday afternoon.
- We refused to accept the package (because we just bought the wireless premium version on sale at Staples) and so the Courier (DHL) sent the package back to Nuance.
- On Thursday morning, when we contacted customer support, they said that the product arrived back at their warehouse and they would issue a refund in their next billing cycle.
- By Saturday, we were fortunate enough to have our full refund (including shipping) back in our account.
Things We’ve Learned about Buying Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium.
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 is kind of cool. It’s not perfect, it makes lots of mistakes, but it’s kind of cool speaking and watching your words magically appear on the screen.
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Wireless was a good decision. It seems that you can use any Bluetooth headset with the regular Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium version (or the Student Teacher Premium version), but the fact that the Plantronics Calisto headset comes bundled in the wireless version for an extra hundred dollars makes it a good price. Especially when you consider that the Plantronics headset is sold separately for $149.99 (and you can’t easily buy it anywhere here.) Nuance has a compatibility list on their website where they have rated various Bluetooth headsets that work well with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Unfortunately, none of them were really sold at regular stores in Ontario, Canada, although we did find one seller on eBay.
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Student and Teacher edition is a great price. At $99.99, it’s $100 off the regular premium version. Future Shop, Best Buy, Staples, all sell Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 online, but they might not carry stock in stores. The great thing about buying it from these brick-and-mortar retailers is that if you get buyer’s remorse and have second thoughts, you can always return the product as long as you don’t open the software.
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Student and Teacher Education Edition is only sold online from Nuance. At the time of writing, we couldn’t find the education edition listed at Future Shop, Best Buy, or Staples, but definitely check because things change.
- Buying online from nuance was easy, as long as you don’t plan on returning the product or canceling your order. When we bought online from Nuance, we received our shipment the next business day and the customs duty was pretty much the same as the sales tax that we would pay in Canada. (We didn’t pay any sales tax when we ordered online from Nuance, but we did have to pay $19 for shipping to Ontario.)
We’re giving Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 a thorough run through to see how effective it is. We are looking for creative and drastic ways to become more efficient in the classroom. Since we do a lot of lesson planning and marking using the computer, we’re hoping that speaking our ideas is quicker than typing ideas down.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post where we show you how long it’s taken us to get used to Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, as well as the kind of accuracy we are able to get.
This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Wireless.