Olympus WS - 450s
I remember my very first voice recorder, it was the late 80's and the device was a hand me down from my dad from one of his old jobs, it was used for audio dictation and was a mobile phone size device that held a very small looking cassette tape. The device looked a little bit like an old style hand held radio and when you pressed record it recorded anything being played. I adored it, I spent hours recording what people were saying, intro songs to my favourite cartoons, you name it. I thought the device was the best thing in the world. Hands up who remembers cassette tapes lol, it seems so long ago doesn't it.
Fast forward to college! I bought my first Olympus WS voice recorder when I was at college, I found the device very handy, I could tape parts of lectures to play back later rather than sit and write it all out by hand. By then the devices no longer recorded onto a small tape, but were digital. Over the years I have had several other brands of these devices and always gone back to the olympus WS range, I would say I am now brand loyal, the last few I have bought I have looked at devices available but they had to be from the Olympus WS range.
This review is about the Olympus WS - 450s
ABOUT THE DEVICE ......
The device was released in 2009, most years Olympus retire devices from the range and bring out slightly re designed models. This time there were three such devices were released, the WS450s, WS550m and the WS560m.
All of the WS voice recorders over the years have had a similar standard design, they are small rectangular devices that to me resemble a large lighter.
DIMENTIONS AND WEIGHT ....
This particular device is 1.1 x 9.5 x 3.8 cm and weighs 19g without a battery.
The device has a small backlit LCD screen, located on the front panel. This is 2cm height x 2.5cm width. The model number of the device is located above the screen and a small red LED light to the right. The light is displayed when the device is turned on and recording.
CONTROLS AND FUNCTIONS ....
On this model the majority of the controls are located on the front of the device, these are located under the screen.
Stop - This one stops recording or playback when pressed
Rec - This button is used to start the recording function
List - There are 5 separate folders pre labelled A-E on this device, these are used to store files, the list button is used to take us to these folders.
Menu - This button takes you to the main menu to choose whatever setup functions you wish to have on the device.
Plus and minus - are multi use buttons, when the device is in play back they control the volume, however when in standby they are used as directional buttons to move un and down through the onscreen menu's.
<< and >> are again multi use buttons, in playback they control rewind and fast forward, in standby they are also directional buttons as with the plus and minus keys.
OK - This button is used as the play button to start playback or when scrolling through the menu's to confirm the option you have selected. When in playback this button can also be pressed to move between normal playback speed, fast and slow.
Index/erase - this button is used to erase files directly from the device. The index button can be used to flag up an area of a track so you can jump directly to it.
On the side of the device are three switches, again these are all clearly labelled.
Hold - When moved upwards this switch locks all buttons so they no longer function until the switch is moved back into the down position.
Conf/Dic - I have to admit I am a little unsure what the main function of this switch is, however the conf button appears to be designed to pick up recordings further away from the device ie in a lecture and Dic recording nearer the device.
USB - when you slide this switch downwards the USB connection lowers from inside the device. As far as I am aware this was the first group of recorders in the series with the drop down USB connection.
The device takes a AAA battery and the battery can be inserted by removing a small slide door located on the back of the device.
The device has 1Gb of built in flash memory which equates roughly to :-
[ST XQ] mode: 17 h. 20 min - stereo
[ST HQ] mode: 34 h. 45 min - stereo
[ST SP] mode: 69 h. 35 min - stereo
[HQ] mode: 69 h. 35 min - mono
[SP] mode: 137 h. 00 min - mono
[LP] mode: 272 h. 25 min - mono
On the top of the device are two small sockets, one for standard earphones and the second can be used to plug in an extra microphone.
I am going to spare you any further technical specifications before I bore you to death but the above are the basics.
So why do I have several of these devices? They are very handy, although I am no longer at college, I have used these devices to record friends singing at small events and others playing instruments as mementos of the events for both myself and them.
I use them as an alternative to flash drives, you can store anything you wish on these devices and the will plug in and work on both Mac and Windows without any requirement of formatting between. Having said this, the device will only play back WMA audio files.
Lastly I use the device as simply an MP3 player, I like the fact that the device does not require charging and runs off a single AAA battery. It is compact, light weight and playback quality is perfectly acceptable for me.
I love these devices, I think I have seven at last count. Some of the older models did have a slight design issues, where the battery cover broke very easily and the whole section required replacement. These devices are however pretty sturdy, I have only ever broken 2 and both were the battery cover but once they were replaced both devices function perfectly and are still in use. I would give this device a 4 star out of 5