--Introduction-- This is a bit of a strange product to be reviewing, but nevertheless they are widely used pieces of equipment. I have found that dictation machines can be very handy and are generally very good at what they are designed to do. They have many different uses, most people will associate them with journalists who hound famous people for an interview. They can come in handy if you are in a meeting and you can't really keep up with what is being said. The use that my Dad had for this machine, was as a back up to his notes when he carried out inventories on rented property. He could desribe what he saw in front of him and it is far quicker than writing notes. He said that he also found it easier to describe awkward or strange things far easier through speech, than actually writing it down. --Sound Quality-- The sound quality on playback is yet another impressive thing about this piece of equipment. It is of a very high standard which means you won't miss any important details. The voice itself is very crisp and their is no sort of interference with it. The background sounds are picked up which is on the whole very good. These sounds hardly ever cause you to miss anything that you have said or should have heard, because you should have been speaking loud enough or made sure that you were picking up what the other person/people were saying. There is a button that allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the microphone so that you can adapt to the conditions around you. If you are dictating to yourself in a quiet room, it should be set on low sensitivity. If you are in a noisy area then it shouldn't be set on the most sensitive around half way is the best bet. --Reliability-- This is a very efficient piece of kit, it has never Dad or myself down. It has recorded all of the information that has been requested of it and it hasn't lost data without it being manually deleted by one of us. The only time that I had a problem with it is when I had it recording without realising that the battery was almost flat. I lost around 10 minutes of recording because of my incompetence. This shouldn't have happene because there is a battery meter that tells you how much battery you have left. It does work on a similar basis as car fuel tanks, it tells you have run out of energy before you actually do which gives you a chance to prepare and change batteries. --Aesthetics-- This is a very handsome looking machine. It comes in a shiny silver colour and has a matt grey back casing. The LCD display lies on the front and the buttons for navigating it are set around it. The play, record, pause, rewind and fast forward buttons are situated along one side. This wouldn't look out of place in a top company board meeting and it will show that you have a bit of taste when you use it. The picture makes this machine look a lot bigger than it is. The actual measurements in centimetres are 10 x 5 which is actually very small. It fits neatly in your pocket or in your bag. It only weighs 68g which is next to nothing. There are many benifits for the product because of its small size. It is very compact and strong which means that it can take a few knocks here and there and still work properly. It is a Sony product so you expect it to stand up to pretty much anything and come out working fine. I think that you can get a good 10 years use out of one of these machines if you look after it well and it use it correctly. --Specification-- #150 minutes recording time #Powered by 2 x AAA batteries #Battery indicator #Battery life: 8 hours playback/10 hours recording #LCD display #Dimensions(cm): W:4.5, H:10.5, D:1.4 --Instruction Manual-- The overwhelming impression that I get, when reading through the manual is one of simplicity. The layout of the text makes reading easy. The text is set out into clearly defined points and sections. This then allows you to scan through the information and indentify the solution to whatever your problem is. The diagrams are very clear and well annotated which I found to be very handy. A lot of diagrams in other manuals aren't well annotated which can make life very difficult. I find the contents to be very helpful, because it clearly defines each section of the manual. I was able to find what I was looking for very quickly and managed to resolve the situation. --Conclusion-- To start with, this is a fantastic little piece of equipment. It is well styled, has excellent quality of both recording and playback and it is also very efficient and well made. So based on that I would certainly reccomend that you go out and purchase one of these. However, don't go throwing your dosh around if you don't actually have any use for one of these machines. If you know anybody who may benifit or all ready use these dictation machines then certainly reccomend it to them.
Sony camcorders, we all know they're good, right? I've had three now, with no problems on the first two - excellent picture quality and good sound. However, when my latsest one went wrong, Sony came unstuck. The tape just wouldn't eject, so I popped into Sony, Leicester. First they said it would be three weeks before they could look at it. Then they sent me to another Sony store, which (when I found it) must have been closed since the blitz. When I made it back to the original store the Manager took the camcorder away and fixed the problem in two minutes. He didn't pay for the my petrol though... My point? It's worth going to the top. While I would recommend your products, Sony, you after-sales support needs CPR.
When it became obvious that my aged Phillips tv was not going to be repairable, I asked my regular tv repairman for his recommendation, thinking he obviously got to see what was a poor tv and therefore maybe he could advise me on good ones... His recommendation was without hesitation, if you can afford it, get Sony! He said he very rarely had Sony equipment to repair, but when he did, parts were easy to obtain. And so began my love affair with Sony products, so far I have a 28inch tv, with the best picture I have ever seen...visitors always comment on the clarity of picture, the VCR is feature packed but easy to use, the cam-corder is simple to point and film but produces excellent results and the sound from the Surround-Sound sytem is brilliant, it adds so much to watching a film to hear the sound coming from all around the room. The products are certainly not the cheapest available, but they seem reasonable for the quality of equipment and my local Sony shop offers genuine interest free credit to help spread the cost of buying.