* Prices may differ from that shown
I bought this back when I was uni (I've since graduated) to record my lectures so that I could play them back and listen to them at my leisure. I bought it for about £25 on Amazon with vouchers and chose it as it was made by Sony which I've always thought of as making high-quality electronics.
The device is small (about the size of an old-fashioned mobile phone), compact and very lightweight. It can easily be carried around in a handbag without even noticing it's there and its easy to subtly lay it on the desk to record without it being to noticeable. It is comprised of silver plastic on which is a speaker. Above this is a black area with well-labelled buttons including play/stop, record/pause, volume, menu, enter, rewind and forward wind. Above this is an LCD screen that displays the time and how far through a recording you are.
The Dictaphone has an internal memory which can store up to 2 GB or 536 hours of MP3 files. This was plenty of storage for me as I never managed to use it all up despite recording every lecture I went to. The speaker which plays back the recordings has a 300mW power and is nothing special in terms of sound quality although it does do a good job of filtering out ambient background noises (chattering, coughing etc) so you can hear the lecturer speak more clearly. If sound quality is an issue there is also a headphone jack. One thing I really love about this Dictaphone is the ability to organise the files by placing them into folders that let you search for specific ones.
The Dictaphone comes with 2 alkaline batteries that lasted me 3 months before I had to replace them. I used it a lot so thought this was quite reasonable. It is also quite durable as I dropped mine numerous times (sometimes from a fair height) but apart from a few scratches it still looks and works perfectly. Indeed, it comes with 1 year warranty in case anything does go wrong.
Overall it is really easy to use, the perfect size to carry around with you and works well so I can't complain. It helped me out loads when I was revising and so I would recommend.
I bought this for my daughter who thought it would come in handy to record her own voice whilst reading for revision purposes. I paid £20.65 for it from Amazon, 3 months ago. The price has increased slightly since then and it is now £23.99 but still represents good value for money as it has some decent features for a budget range voice recorder and is made by a well-respected brand.
At first my heart sank when we opened this product. It came with quite a comprehensive set of user instructions. As I stared at the 50cmx 50cm instructions sheet (which bears text on either side) I was rather worried we had purchased something too technical and complicated for us to use. If you actually read the instructions through piecemeal, however, the language is not really technical at all and was reasonably easy to understand. The instructions start by giving you an index to the parts and controls of the machine, how to insert batteries, how to turn it on, moderating the volume, how to playback and erase recordings and takes you through the various menu settings. It wasn't as scary as I had first believed.
The recorder is very small and very light. It's dimensions are 15.2cm x 5.7cm x 18.4 cm and it weighs 318g. It is silver and black in colour and plastic. It is easy to slip into your handbag or pocket. It has an LCD screen size approx. 2.5cm x 2.8cm. The menu and functions display on the screen clearly. There is also a symbol on it which tells you how much battery life you have left. The recorder has a built in microphone on the top and in addition to this an external microphone jack on the side. The buttons on it are: the menu button, the divide button (you can divide a message during recording so that the message is split into two parts - which then receive separate message numbers), the stop button, the play/stop/enter button, the forward button, the back button. There is a speaker (which has an output of 300mW), a headphone jack, an operational indicator that lights up to show you when it is recording, there is an erase button on the side, a volume control button, a repeat button and a record button. (The MP3 recording is noted as having 92kbps.) Certainly there were all the functions we needed for our particular purpose on this recorder.
The maximum recording time on this machine is 534 hours and it has a 2 GB capacity. My daughter used it a lot for about 3 weeks before the batteries which came with the product ran out and had to be changed. It takes 2 AAA batteries.
So far my daughter has been quite satisfied with the functionality of this recorder. There are better recorders on the market with more functions - and USB connection etc. - but for the price I've no complaints about this one. It has much more recording time on it than she needs and the recording and playback quality are good. Being able to plug headphones into it is a bonus as she can listen to the sound of her own voice in private. The battery usage seems reasonable. Once you get used to the various functions on the recorder it is quite user friendly to operate. The recordings can be separated into 'folders' for convenience. Handy when revising. I strongly suspect this will eventually go off to University with her and be used to tape lectures and the like. So far, it has been a reliable and useful product. Would recommend as a budget purchase.
I got one of these a few months ago ready for university where I hope to use this to record lectures.
Upon first inspection I was quite impressed. The device is very small, definitely a handheld device, this is aided by the small ridge for you to be able to rest your index finger on when holding it. Both of these make it very comfortable to hold, even for long periods of time. However, I would assume that most people would place the device down if they needed to use it for a long time.
The button location on the device is very good. If you do hold it as intended using the ridge, the buttons are perfectly placed so that your thumbs can easily use them without having to stretch - although a basic and often overlooked feature on devices, if this benefit isn't present, it can make the use of such a device very frustrating.
The storage of the device is purely internal at 2GB. This is sufficient apparently enough for 534 hours of recordings however I have not gotten to this point yet. These recordings can all be managed on the device using a series of buttons which enables you to create, search for, listen to and erase specific recordings - however you can also connect the device to a computer for even easier managements and also to backup the files.
The quality of the recordings is fair although not excellent. It is very good when close to the source of the sound and therefore are excellent as a personal microphone. However, I have found that the quality of the sound degrades greatly with distance. Even if you are still in the same room but not close the the source, the sound will be quiet and a little difficult to listen to.
The device is powered by 2 AAA batteries which is something I was disappointed by as I prefer all my gadgets to be rechargeable, however I have used the device for hours and the batteries do not appear to be running out any time soon. Therefore I do not think it will be too much of a hassle.