A DNS user recently asked me whether he should upgrade to Dragon NaturallySpeaking Version 11 and if so, which version. The latter question is easiest to answer so I'll tackle that first. If you have the Preferred edition, the equivalent for version 11 is called Premium. The Professional edition is much more expensive and mainly targeted at corporate users. The cheapest edition, Home (formerly called Standard), doesn't allow you to transcribe from a digital voice recorder (among other things). For more information, review the feature matrix and product edition comparison.
Note that in order to qualify for the upgrade (versus full) version, you need to be running DNS 9 or 10. Also, you need to purchase the equivalent edition e.g. Premium 11 if you have Preferred 10.
Now let's return to the question of whether you should upgrade in the first place. In his NY Times article, David Pogue says, "It’s probably not worth the $100 to upgrade to Dragon 11 if you already have 10 (and maybe even 9)." Based upon what I've read, I like where Nuance is going with DNS and I'm looking forward to using version 11 someday. As for releases of most mature software products, there are many minor improvements that really aren't worth upgrading for, especially if you are on a budget! However, there are several major improvements -- though depending on how you use the product, they also may not warrant an upgrade. In the table below, I've listed what I think the 7 major improvements are, along with the circumstances under which you'll likely benefit from them.
|Major Improvement||You will benefit from improvement if...|
|Improved and more responsive recognition accuracy (Note: the recognition accuracy is said to be 15% higher than DNS 10 but that version already claimed to have up to 99% accuracy)|
|Easier to control Windows applications: more commands, better implementation of some existing commands||You use DNS to interact with Windows applications instead of using the mouse and/or keyboard|
|Automatically detects audio quality issues ("because a significant percentage of misrecognitions can be caused by simple audio quality issues such as incorrect microphone connection or placement, background noise, and Bluetooth microphone out of range or low on battery")|
|Sidebar (replaces Sample Commands window): displays context-sensitive commands and tips|
|Configures itself based upon your computer's hardware|
|Compatible with Office 2010 and OpenOffice Writer||You use these applications|
|Detects corrections of misrecognitions when the revisions are typed||You don't use the dictate method to correct misrecognitions i.e. say "Select <misrecognized word>", "Correct That" to display the Corrections dialog box|