new HP touchscreen laptop- the mic is having a hard time understanding words. would an external mic work better?

Hi I recently purchased an HP Pavilion 17-f061us  laptop and I notice that when I talk (to dictate)  the laptop has a very poor ratio of words being detected properly. The room has to be very quiet and even then one out of 5 words is not the correct word that I said.

I also have a  Samsung smartphone and my apple ipad and they have no problem with dictation, even when there is loud sounds in the background.

I was wondering if the reason the HP is so bad picking up words is  because of the mic placement or the quality. I was wondering if I buy a 3.5mm external mic or even a usb mic if that would help the words get translated more successfully? Or is the limitation inside the laptop- in which case an external mic would not fix anything?
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
Microphones inside PC cases suffer from several problems.  The obvious one is that the hard drive and the fan both hum, whir and make the case vibrate.  There is also the issue that the mike in the case is very small and probably not located optimally for voice pickup.

It is well worth trying an external mike.  It will certainly define whether the issue is in the microphone or in the software.
Besides what has already been said, you could also try using different Volume settings and talking with your mouth closer to the laptop's MIC. Also the software you are using could be the cause. Most software, like Dragon, need to "learn" your dialect and way of speaking before it can properly recognize your words.

But of course an external MIC should always be better than an internal on.
hydrive1902Author Commented:
thanks for the info, just to clarify I am  not using a third party software I am using the windows start speech recognition program that's included with windows.

Would it be better to test a usb mic or a 3,5mm aux mic?
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i don't think that matters very much, but a good quality mic certainly helps, like sennheiser
you can also try a headset
here an article discussing the selection :
You say that the room has to be very quiet, and the laptop mic picks up background noises easily.  This is because it is a simple omnidirectional one.  An omnidirectional microphone on a stand would pick up noise all around it (360 degrees), whereas mounted in a laptop it can only pick up sound from 180 degrees.  Microphones in camcorders, and those used by the press, are much more directional, so they pick up more sound from where they are aimed.  You would have to get quite close to the laptop's built-in microphone for it to pick up more of your voice than the surrounding noise that is fairly close.  You are therefore much better buying a separate microphone with a foam "pop shield" that can be positioned closer to your mouth.  Headset microphones tend to be "directional", not necessarily because the microphone is any different, but simply because the small hole (or multiple holes) face only in one direction.

With a smartphone or an iPad, there is a tendency to position it closer to your mouth or in such a way that it is facing towards you.  This would be impractical with a laptop that usually sits further away from you on a desk.  It's possible that they may be better microphones, or may be more "directional" by intention.

There is little difference between using an external USB microphone and one that connects using standard mini jacks.  You are still tethered by a cable that is often too short for practical use if you like to pace around while dictating.  USB cables tend to be shorter because USB doesn't really like really long cables.  From memory USB cable length limitations are:
1. Full/high speed devices = 5 metres (over 16 feet)
2. Low speed devices = 3 metres (almost 10 feet)
That would seem pretty adequate, but for some reason the manufacturers fit really short cables to microphones and headsets.

If you like to walk around while dictating, then a wireless headset would be worth considering.  The wireless device connects to the computer with a short USB cable, but the wireless range of the headset would enable you to be outside the room and half way down a corridor.  I use a Creative HS-1200 headset for Skype and loads of other things like basic voice recording and listening to music.  It has served me well, but there are many other ones of much the same spec that won't break the bank to buy.

The only practical difference with a wireless headset is that you have to install drivers for the device, whereas a standard USB or jack plug mic or headset doesn't need drivers.

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hydrive1902Author Commented:
thanks everyone!
Thank you hydrive1902
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