Product review by Peter Frankl.
A handheld device called PowerMic III is a powerful way to record high quality audio, perform high speed word processing and magically control your computer.
When you use a PowerMic III, this is what you won’t need:
• You won’t need an uncomfortable headset with a microphone.
• You won’t need to talk into a poor quality microphone built into your laptop.
• You won’t need to drain the battery of your smart phone by multi-purposing its use as a dictaphone.
• You won’t need a dictaphone.
• You won’t need to use the mouse or trackpad on your computer because the PowerMic III has a trackpad with left and right buttons built into it.
• You won’t need batteries because the PowerMic III is connected to your computer with a USB cable.
• You won’t need to use computer speakers because the sound from your computer also comes through the microphone.
The PowerMic III is made by Nuance software which is the same company that makes Dragon speech recognition software.
Nuance sent me a PowerMic III and Dragon Professional 15 to test together. I freshly installed these on a Windows 8.1 laptop. I read a few short paragraphs to give Dragon “training”. The speech recognition accuracy was immediately astounding.
I don’t know how much of this was due to the microphone and how much was due to Dragon software. I do know that the combination of PowerMic III and Dragon 15, used on a moderately fast computer, was the best speech recognition experience I’d had over many years of sporadically testing this type of software.
While there’s a lot that you won’t need when you use a PowerMic III, I discovered that there’s also a lot to appreciate:
• You will be able to navigate your computer, perform Google searches and operate various programs with voice instruction.
• It’s a comfortable way to drive your computer. You can literally sit back and tell your computer what to do.
• You can plug the PowerMic III into your computer and start using it immediately after it self-installs the driver.
It is amazing to see the words that you’re speaking appear so quickly on the screen in your document. I’ve been using it with Google Docs and Microsoft Word. It is much faster than my typing, and if you’re a fast talker, it is probably faster than the speed of a professional typist.
The PowerMic III is a device that is very comfortable to hold; much more comfortable than holding a smartphone and it’s much lighter than a lot of smartphones.
The cable is long enough for you to do pacing, if that’s what you like to do when you dictate. I don’t mind pacing every now and then but I found that it’s much more fun watching the words appear on the screen.
You can use the PowerMic III to simply record audio files. It is valuable for this function alone. The quality of the recorded sound is brilliant. Once you’ve created an audio file you can press a button to convert the file into text using Dragon.
The PowerMic III is the type of device that you may have seen a physician use – when dictating patient notes. There is clearly a strong use-case for lawyers too.
You can buy this device for around $360. For the time that you will save in typing, transcribing and navigating, as well as the quality of audio that you can create, it is well worth this small investment.