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I do not recommend this for use by light users/students. When I was a student my dictaphone was about £50 and I hardly used it, it was only when I graduated that I needed an professional machine and this was the one recommended by friends and I'm glad I was.
After graduating from university with little experience of using a dictaphone I was required to use one for my job and I continue to use it now that I am self-employed as a matter of habit. I think once you are in a routine of using one you will find it a permanent home in your pocket. True to say this is not the most expensive dictaphone out there but then I am not a journalist interviewing celebrities. This is also not the cheapest and would not be needed for light users.
I paid £255 for mine and at the time that was the best offer I could find. A quick search at the time this review is being written shows that it can now be bough for £187, with £212 being more typical. Amazon is currently selling this for £269 which is more than I paid.
---The Nitty Gritty---
Quite a complex machine, the Olympus DS 3400 is perfect for regular use and is either found in my pocket or connected to my PC.
The box contents are:
- DS-3400 (Windows and Macintosh Compatible which is useful for people who have both as I do, the machine copes well switching between the two)
- 1GB SD Card
- 2 x AAA Batteries
- DSS Player Pro R5 Dictation Module
- UBS cable, *essential to connect to my computers
- Leather case - *no longer with me, easy to misplace!
- 2 Years Warranty
What was not included: A docking station. I purchased the Olympus DS 3400 not realising that there was an optional docking station which is noted for its 'rapid seamless data transfer' and I have yet to buy one. To be honest it is not needed as the USB cable is fast enough for me but after paying £255 for a professional machine I would have expected them to include all they have available for it). I do like to 'dock' things (like my iphone and tomtom) as it keeps things tidy on my desk but I would have liked to have been provided with a docking station for the price paid rather than it being an option. As I have proved it is possible to cope without one I am not recommending spending more money on a docking station - they should have just provided it.
Please see the Technical Details provided by dooyoo for full details about the product and its specifications. This is intended to be a review of the product and if you are considering purchasing one please take the time to consider the technical data.
What I can report is that it is lighweight, easy enough to use (once you have found you way around the menus) and importantly connects to your PC. Olympus provide DSS Player Pro Dictation Software which brings your recordings to life on your PC. The DSS Player Pro Software allows me to direct record to my PC, retrieve of typed documents, distribute my recordings via email to name but a few features.
The supplied 1GB SD card allows me to make 77 hours of recordings or 157 hours in a lower quality format. Which I find is about 74 hours more than I need! Remember you can transfer the files easily over to your computer and store them on your hard drive or external drive. Once I have done this I delete recordings from the DS 3400 to keep it clean so that I can find and edit my new files quickly.
If you need a professional machine for daily or frequent use then I can recommend this after many months of trouble-free use. I have had budget machines before and they do the job for light use/students which I was when I had a budget Olympus (it was about £50) but for professional use it is better to upgrade to a reliable full-featured machine. I also trust Olympus as a brand and the DS 3400 comes with a 2 year warranty so I suspect they expect this to be well made and come to little trouble.
The Olympus DS 3400 does not disappoint and receives 4 stars (it looses a star for not providing the docking station as standard!)