If you’re interested in using a microphone with Dragon NaturallySpeaking on a Windows 8 tablet, your choices are somewhat limited. Many of these tablets have a smaller combination mic and headphone jack to save space, which makes them incompatible with normal microphones built for PCs. You also can’t use a desktop mic because you need it to be portable. Given these constraints, let’s review some of the best microphone options for a Windows 8 tablet.
Buddy FlamingoMic 7G
The Buddy Flamingo is the mic that’s pictured above connected to a tablet. It’s basically a Buddy Desktop Mic without any base or the push button option. One drawback is that you need to be up close to the mic (within 3 – 8 inches of the microphone element) for best results. another drawback is that the metal-sheath attaching the mic to the usb port is too long. You’ll have to end up wrapping it in tight circles just to try and get it out of the way.
The USB StylusMic 7G from Buddy seems tailor made for tablet computers:
It’s basically a Fujitsu digital Stylus attached to a top portion that has programmable buttons (you can program it using their MyBuddyMic software). The Amazon reviews aren’t good, and I have to add the following:
- The tethered cord is a bad idea. Not many people like to write with a tethered stylus, and since it’s connected to the USB port, this will fray over time and be a first point of failure.
- Really consider what your usage scenario will be with the StylusMic. If you like to use your pen and dictate at the same time, then this won’t be a workable solution since pen and mic are conjoined.
- It’s expensive, with a street price of $250 – $300.
It’s regrettable that the new generation of Windows 8 tablets do not have hardware buttons which can be programmed to toggle the Dragon NaturallySpeaking microphone on and off. Many people with tablets will find it more convenient to use a freeware program called StrokesPlus. You can use it to program pen (or mouse) gestures above and beyond what comes standard in Windows 8 (http://www.pcworld.com/article/2013022/master-windows-8-gesture-commands.html). Using StrokePlus, you can accomplish the following:
- Toggle the mic: push the pen button and do an upward stroke diagonally towards the right of the screen.
- Search Google for Selected Text: http://www.strokesplus.com/scripts/9
- Sign in to a Website: http://www.strokesplus.com/scripts/4
- Mouse Move and Click: http://www.strokesplus.com/scripts/6
- Program pen strokes for editing functions like copy and paste.
SpeechWare Mini TableMike
This is rumored to be coming around of April of 2013. It’s from SpeechWare and called the Mini TableMike. It will feature a microphone on-off button but more importantly, it will be considerably smaller (no table base – completely portable) and have a much longer range of about 18 inches. Check it out at knowbrainer.com for more information.