Windows 7 Speech Recognition and Dictation: Is “Built-in” really Cheaper (than a Mac?)

My brother brought up an interesting topic the other day.  We were having a discussion on twitter about various dictation software packages.  He had just bought Mac speech dictate published by the same people who do Dragon Dictation.  He made the comment in twin are that purchasing Mac speech dictate and the Macintosh OS X snow leopard upgrade was about the same as purchasing windows 7. (To be fair, he admitted later that he got the price wrong on purchasing Windows 7.)

I looked at the numbers.  You can purchase a windows 7 home premium from Wal-Mart for about $110 as an upgrade.  The software on his blog was $154.99.  So I see a savings of $45.00.  But that’s just comparing upgrading the operating system with purchasing the software and operating system.  Purchasing window 7 new is about $200.  That is significantly more.  But I guess the question is, “who purchases window 7 as an operating system new and not as an upgrade?”

Typically people buy the operating system knew when they purchase a new computer so let’s compare the purchase of a good sized, powerful, notebook computer for windows to a Mac OS X notebook.  I compared to the low end Mc book from Best Buy with a middle of the road HP at Best Buy.  The Macbook for a 13 inch screen 2.2 GHz processor cost $1000. The HP for a 14 inch screen, 2.2 GHz processor cost $750.  There were some other differences to include battery type and system bus however these are reasonably comparable computers  (The HP had a larger and faster hardrive, the Apple Macbook has a faster bus.  The HP has 4 GB of Ram while the MacBook only has 2GB,and according to the Best Buy specification sheets the HP is upgradeable to 8 GB while the Macbook is only upgradeable to 4.)

So given this if I look at a very narrow focus, simply the acquisition price of the speech dictation capability getting a new computer with windows 7 installed with the built in speech recognition and dictation is $400 cheaper than purchasing a new Macbook and having to purchase Mac speech dictate.

Honestly, I think this just shows how silly most of these discussions can be.  If you like the design, style, and cachet that comes with owning a Mac then get a Mac.  If on the other hand you’re willing to sacrifice style and beauty for functionality, or just don’t want to spend that much money, I think windows 7 is clearly your choice.

The bottom line: it all comes down to your personal choice and aesthetic.

(NOTE: This post was written completely through dictation using the speech dictation capability built-in to Windows 7.)

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