* Prices may differ from that shown
During my University days I tried nearly every method I could think of to help me learn my notes for those dreaded exams, and after hearing some useful tips about how hearing your notes being readout in play back form can help some people retain information better, I decided to get a Dictaphone. I am not one of those people who can revise a day before an exam and pass them with flying colours, I am one of those people that needs weeks and months to prepare for exams and tests, so therefore I was looking for a Dictaphone that was easy to use and could play back recordings clearly to help hasten the learning process.
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I remember purchasing mine from eBay for around £35, which at the time (a few years ago) seemed quite reasonable for a Dictaphone. Today however it is a lot cheaper and can be bought for around £15 from a few eBay sellers. It is no longer for sale on Amazon, as there is a newer updated model available which costs £39.99. However for university note taking and notes playback the VN-2100PC is just as good the new models apart from having smaller memory storage.
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* PC Connection: Yes
* Storage Medium: Built-In Memory
* Table / Portable: Portable
* Voice Activation: Yes
* 64Mb built-in memory.
* 35 hours recording time.
* 4 folders.
* Plays for 25 hours whilst recording, 12 hours for playback.
* LCD display.
* Headphone and microphone sockets.
* Built-in ME-52 noise reduction mic.
* Integrated speaker.
* Size 102 x 39 x 19.5mm. Weight 66.5g.
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The Olympus Dictaphone is relatively small and is about a hand length in size. It is lightweight and has a nice sleek looking design. It has a black finish and silver metallic sides and back. The buttons are all clearly visible and easy to recognise, with the record, play and stop buttons being highlighted by bold text. The Olympus logo is located at the top of the device just above the screen and is coloured in white standout text. The plastic buttons are well made and respond well to commands, which is great as I hate rubber buttons that get stuck in or that become loose.
The headphone socket is located on the top, which is great as it meant I could play back my revision notes in bed just before I nod off to sleep. It might seem like an odd method, but it really helped me retain information a lot quicker without much effort. The device uses triple A batteries and can be installed by removing the battery cover located on the back of the Dictaphone. I tend to use rechargeable batteries as it cuts down the cost of having to buy new batteries. It has a small USB slot, and a speaker that is located at the back.
The buttons make it very user-friendly, as each are labelled clearly it makes there purpose and functions self explanatory. I remember glancing at the instructions once or twice just to make sure I was using it correctly, but all in all it is very straightforward to pick up and use.
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The device is very easy to use and to get started, once batteries are in the device has an easy to navigate menu screen that lets you know when you recording, the duration, and how much time is left on the device. I found the batteries to last for a good month before they need to recharging or replacing, which is excellent in my opinion and far exceeded my expectations. The microphone is of high quality and records voice recording really well, and the speakers are just as good, allowing clear easy to hear playbacks. I was actually quite surprised how clear and loud the speakers played the recordings, considering the device was so small it really reflected the quality of the speakers.
The LCD screen is small sized but provides a clear display of information. It displays information in black and white colour, which some might feel is a bit dated, I personally do not mind it being black and white as long as it clearly displays the info which is does nicely.
It can be connected to a PC via its USB port and allows files to be added and transferred easily. It takes just a few minutes for the computer to recognise the device, but once it is recognised it is fairly easy to navigate through the files etc. The transfer rate is a little time consuming, taking a few hours to transfer a large number long recordings.
I used this Dictaphone on many occasions during my University days, and one of its uses it recording the long (often boring!) lectures. This was incredibly useful and meant I wouldn't have to spend ages trying to write down all the words that the lecturer was saying, and meant I wouldn't lose any vital information. The Dictaphone basically did all the hard work during lectures!
From my experience it managed to record the lecturers voice very clearly, even when the device is considerably far away from the front of the lecture it managed to focus on the lecturer's voice brilliantly. I would majority of the time keep my device set to high quality settings, as it can pick up distant sounds a lot accurately. There is also an option for when recording is smaller rooms, which is great for when I wanted to record my own version of revision notes when in my room without any background sounds interfering. The playback is very straightforward, just select the recordings from the menu and press play.
It allows you to make recording ( Wav type file recordings) by simply pressing the REC button located on the top right which then switches the red light indicator on so you know it is recording. Once finished you can then rename and categorise them into folders, which is very easy to do and comes in very handy when you make a lot of different recording.
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This device made my University days so much more easier and less stressful, it helped me retain information easily thanks to its clear and precise recording and playback functions. All in all it is a high quality device that is easy to use and doesn't hurt the bank either.
After getting into university my parents brought me this voice recorder to help me with the transition into university, and as you can see from my other reviews, since then I have become a big fan of dictaphones, having got through
/used a rather lot of them.
The device look very sleek, with a glossy black case, and is very compact, fitting into most pockets. It has a decent size LCD screen with all of the main buttons on the front of the device. The dictaphone comes with a detachable feature, which is quite unique. It is fairly strong and can span round to point in a specific direction, which is ideal in lecture theatres to help reduce the background noise. The dictaphone also has both speakers and a headphone socket, making it versatile. The files are all stored in MP3 format, and are downloadable to a computer, helping to save the memory (size is pretty small, but I am don't sure on the exact amount). The dictaphone comes with the software needed to do so. The device also allows you to organise the recording into four files on the device, this was slightly frustrating as I had more than four different lecture modules each week, but provided you check downloading them to the computer this shouldn't cause too many problems. I have never done it his myself but apparently you can remove the microphone and attach a phone pick up line into the socket to record telephone calls. However, this device does not come with the dictaphone. The dictaphones also takes two AAA batteries, which does last a fair amount of time. I tend to have to change it every couple of weeks, just note it can cut off fairly quickly without much warning.
The dictaphone can be brought for the standard price of most dictaphones, £40, however I have seen it sold for as little as £15 on eBay.
The recording quality is fairly decent, amplifying it and making it clearer, but it does seem to also amplify background chatter as it seems to think it is important as it a persons voice, which can be a bit of a problem in a busy lecture theatre or in a public place. Being able to direct the microphone though was really useful and helps to minimise this problem if used effectively. The most annoying thing with this dictaphone was how awkward the software was to install onto a PC. In short, it is not particularly easy for those who are not computer literate, and took me a while to install and learn to use. However, the fact you can download your file to the computer is particularly useful for me as I always like to keep a copy with me lecture notes so I can listen back to them at exam time.
Overall a decent device which helped me through my first year at uni. The main problems is the memory is fairly small and the software for the computer is not very user friendly. Personally, I would recommend buying a different one if your paying full price, but if you pick it up cheaply its a decent dictaphone.
This is the first Dictaphone that I ever owned (and the only one, since someone else clearly found it so good it was stolen!)
I can honestly say if it wasn't for that fact I would most likely still be using this device today and it was bought 4 years ago. This device was used in a fairly large sized room to record various meetings. Initially it was placed at the back of the room. The mic was able to pick up the voice, but it wasn't as loud as I had hoped. In order to hear the voice at an ideal level I would have to use a sound program to amplify the voice. The only problem with this is that any close ambient noises were greatly increased. After changing the Dictaphones position to the midpoint of the hall (under a seat) I found that the built in microphone picked up everything perfectly! And no longer needed to use a programme to fix the sound. Making this an ideal device for a variety of situations, especially up close personal use.
The Dictaphone has 4 different folders which can be used to store various recordings. This is extremely useful to allow the user to keep track of various recordings and minimise the chances of recording over a previous recording.
The batteries last an extremely long time in this device and there is also ample warning when the batteries are low. The buttons are laid out extremely well and annotated in such a way that there is minimal confusion with how to work the device. The screen is also just the right size to display all the information you need, so it isn't cluttered or hard to understand.
Using this device with a PC couldn't be easier. It's as simple as plugging into the PC and the computer does the rest. Copying files to the computer is also extremely simple. The only disappointment with this device is that it probably can't be bought anymore. But if I where to buy another one in the future Olympus would certainly be the first brand I would consider.
I'm a writer and my husband bought me the Olympus VN-2100 four years ago. He thought I could use it for quickly recording ideas for my books when my official writing day is over and I have sudden brain waves. That has happened occasionally, but the main way I now use the recorder is for my other day job, editing long technical documents. I can quickly record page number, paragraph number and line number, and then play back this information when I come to write an email to my clients detailing what needs amending on their work. For working in long and complicated documents it has been a godsend.
It's a small, light and incredibly easy-to-use little gadget, certainly a huge improvement on many older models I remember from earlier in my working life. Because other family members sometimes get hold of it it is useful that we can use separate folders to record our own work. It doesn't get through batteries too quickly, in fact i can only remember recharging them once since i have had the recording device. I also find it is very simple to work out how to to record, listen and delete. My daughter was eight when we got the Olympus and was operating it immediately. Volume is easily adjustable and the central 'Play"/rewind/ff/volume up/volume down dial is intuitive and effective. I find the quality of the recordings is very good. It is easy to delete files you don't need but happily there is a prompt to confirm deletion, which has saved me once or twice when I have started accidentally to delete a recording.
I haven't yet used the Olympus to record and store or transfer recordings but I am looking forward to trying out this function.
I would definitely recommend this if you spend time working on Long documents and need to make detailed notes of page references, etc.
All in all this is a wonderful gadget
If you're a journalist you need something simple and reliable because time means words and they have to be recorded, clear and loud. With this dictaphone you get all that - record, download and save all the information you need. There's plenty of folders to keep the records on so you don't have to delete the previous ones. Once again, if you're a journalist, like I am, multiple folders give you a chance to share the folders into "libraries", according to the events you're attending. The slow speak option turned out to be great for situations in which the speakers were fast speaking or mumbling. And you can listen to the records over and over because the battery life is really impressive. As for the flaws - if you are in a crowded room or a situation with lots of noises even the ones slightly louder then the sound/speach you want to record will get in the way because there is no noise reduction and the sole michrophone in the dictaphone isn't enough. Still, mini michrophones aren't expensive and they are the only extras you'll eventually need to record a specific tone during a noisy situation.
I use my Olympus VN 2100PC to record interviews that can later be replayed and analysed, quite frankly this Dictaphone is amazing at the job it does.
The sound quality produced by the in-built microphone is find, at time it even picks up the sound of breathing - in addition to this there is a socket for an external microphone to be inserted. I have to admit that I have never used this feature so I cannot comment on it's functionality, however, overall I feel that the device works perfectly.
There is a headphone port which can be used to listen privately to the material that has been recorded on the system, I have found myself using this option on very few occasions as I prefer to download the sound files to my computer, which is more than simple with the USB lead that is provided.
This product is also well made, it is very apparent that a lot of time has gone into making the Dictaphone sturdy and perfect for portability.
I must mention one of my favourite features which I have yet to come across with other devices - the option to alter the recording range! It is possibly to 'aim' the Dictaphone's reach at an individual speaker and reduce surrounding noise, or simply allow all sounds in the surrounding are to be recorded clearly.
The battery life is also worth mentioning and is extremely long lasting considering it is powered by one AAA battery.
The Olympus VN-2100PC is a very compact and very useful digital voice recorder, which sports a range of different settings and can be connected to a PC with minimal fuss.
The unit is very sleek and compact, easy to carry around and very light too. Despite having a glossy black front, it does not gather dust easily, a welcome change from other glossy devices I have experienced. The Dictaphone looks really smart, with a silver-coloured backing and well-made, sturdy buttons with a good response.
The Dictaphone has a variety of buttons on the front, allowing to you easily navigate around and access the most useful options immediately. With normal buttons to be expected from the device, such as stop, record and play, it's easy to jump straight in, with the device fairly easy to operate.
On the rear is a speaker and battery cover. The device takes AAA batteries and in my experience I have noticed an incredibly good battery life, with the batteries lasting weeks on end with limited use. Furthermore, at the top of the device are a headphone port and microphone port. This is the ideal placement for use with headphones, fitting snugly in a pocket if you want to listen to recorded material on the go. I have found the integrated microphone more than capable, but it is good that Olympus have offered the option to use an external microphone if you so wish.
To the left is the mini-USB port and hold button. One of the best things about this Dictaphone is it is very easy to turn off. Rather than have a dedicated power off button, you simply switch on the hold button. Then, when ready to use it again, just slide it off hold and you're immediately back into the software. No need to load or wait is very valuable, especially when you arrive late to a lecture.
The small screen is good, with a black and white display giving you key information, like stream quality, time elapsed and the file number on the memory.
Sporting numerous settings, it will be hard to find a recording mode which will not suit your needs. Having used the device in lectures on the XHQ (extra high quality) setting, I have never been disappointed. Even when I was sat at the back and was expecting an average recording I was surprised to hear that it was still very clearly recorded. You can also tweak the range of recording; if for example, you are recording in a small room, there is a setting which will focus more on the speaker and less on surrounding noise. If however, you are in a larger room, the range can be amplified to catch as much of the speaker's voice as possible. This really is a welcome and useful function of the device, with it rarely disappointing.
You can also arrange files into four independent folders. This allows you to record into specific groups, a useful function if you are attending lectures for different modules and want to record them in the same place every time. To switch between folders, you simply click the Folder button on the left of the device. The menu used to access all the aforementioned settings is easy to access and use. Simply hold the Menu button until it appears, then highlight the function you want to be used and click the play button to apply. It really is that simple. In addition, you can set record timers and alarms, though I have yet to make full use of these functions.
You will soon learn that the LED light on the front of the device is essential. If recording it glows red, but if not it remains off. This is incredibly useful when you've forgotten to turn on the device in a lecture, as you will instantly realise and be able to turn it on quickly.
Bundled with the Dictaphone is proprietary software, Olympus Digital Wave Software. As with most recording devices, the file type is Wav. though this can be converted fairly easily with other software. I have found the interface of the program intuitive, simple and having very minimal effect on computer memory or performance. File transfer can take some time for recordings of two hours plus, but this is to be expected. The device is plug and play, in that once connected via USB the computer recognises it immediately, and the software is used simply to import files into the computer. To do this, you simply click the import button on the software.
So far, the device has been reliable, having not failed once to record. I have used it around 3 days a week for around a year and it has never crashed.
If you are looking for a recording device which is portable, reliable and easy to use, this is your solution. It looks impressive, packs a host of recording tools, sports a useful speaker and will not disappoint those looking to record the odd lecture or practice for a presentation. This comes highly recommended.
I have been using the Olympus VN-2100PC Digital Voice Recorder for about two years now, I use it for approximately thirty minutes each day and I haven't had any major issues with the devise yet, so I think it's fair to say that it is pretty hardwearing piece of kit.
This Olympus VN-2100PC Digital Voice Recorder does what it says on the package - it records people's voices. The sound quality is more than adequate and I find that it picks up most voices, even quiet ones. The only word of caution I'd give is that it does occasionally amplify background noises. So if you are recording next to a train station then certain words may be distorted!
This recorder comes with a detachable microphone - is fairly sturdy and it also spins around which means that you can turn it in the direction of the speaker. The microphone also gives you the option of listening to your recording out-loud, or alternatively you can plug your earphones into another socket located on the top of the recorder if you want to listen to your recording in private.
As well as using the microphone to record sound around you (at a conference or in a lecture hall), you can also remove the microphone devise and plug a 'phone pick up line' into the socket, this will enable you to record telephone conversations. For those that aren't familiar with the term 'telephone pick up line' it's a device that can be bought from most electric stores for about £5 (unfortunately it doesn't come with the Olympus VN-2100PC Digital Voice Recorder). A pick-up has a plastic sucker that attaches itself to the telephone receiver - you then simply plug the pick up into the microphone socket and press the record button.
On the Olympus VN-2100PC Digital Voice Recorder you will find the following buttons -
* Stop - This button is pretty self explanatory - it is used to either cut a recording or to stop a play back.
* Record - When you press this button the recorder will make a beeping sound and a red light will appear.
* Folder / Index - This button allows you to flick between each folder - there are four in total, named - A, B, C and D. This is a handy function because if you are working on different projects then it allows you to departmentalise recordings.
* Erase - When you press this button you will have to confirm that you definitely want to erase the track by pressing 'play' button.
* Disp / Menu - This button allows you to see how much recording time you have left and it also enables you to see the date and time.
* Hold - This switch is handy for when you have finished with the recorder because it stops any of the other buttons from accidently flicking on and draining your batteries.
You will also see a circular dial in the centre of the recorder - this allows you play your recording and you can also using the dial around the play button to flick between tracks, monitor volume, and to stop and start recordings.
This recorder takes two AAA batteries and each set will last for approximately four hours of non-stop use. There is a battery indicator in the top right hand side of the screen - this is about as accurate as an indicator you would typically find on a mobile phone devise. I'd advise you to always have a spare set of batteries on hand because the recorder can cut out with little warning - when there is one battery bar remaining you know that the recorder will soon cut out completely.
The Olympus VN-2100PC Digital Voice Recorder comes with additional software that you can install onto your computer. This means that you can transfer voice recordings directly from the devise onto your computer. Personally I have found this software too complicated to install, however after a few hours trying - my colleague successfully installed it onto her laptop.
Using the accompanying software provides an advantage to those that plan on using the Olympus VN-2100PC on a regular basis, because you can upload recordings to your computer, delete the track and continue to make new recordings almost continuously. However, I personally find that the three hour storage capacity on the Olympus VN-2100PC Digital Voice Recorder is adequate. I usually record a track, transcribe that recording by typing it onto the computer, delete the track and then make a new recording.
The Olympus VN-2100PC Digital Voice Recorder retails at approximately £39.99 and I think its good value. So far I have had no problems with it, the sound quality is good and it is simple to use. My only gripe with the devise is the accompanying software.
Four out of five stars.