21 September, 2009

Philips Digital Voice Tracer LFH0882

The idea is nice - a digital voice recorder in a mobile phone form factor. Might as well build it into a mobile phone, do I hear you say. Possibly, but this is a high end pro model, with facilities that most most mobile phone users don't need. And many mobile phones do have voice recorders anyway. But pro users will appreciate a stand-alone unit.
One feature I liked was that it uses two AAA batteries, rather than a Lion pack. So, if you do get caught short, you can buy spare batteries anywhere. The rechargeables can be recharged via the USB connector.

The main features are: zoom micro with two zoom settings. The idea is to make the microphone electronically more directive. Great when you're sitting at the back of the hall in a conference. It records in MP3 format and is supposed to work seamlessly with Dragon Naturally Speaking. I wasn't able to test that, as my PC which has Naturally Speaking on it was out of action during the week I had the LFH on test.
The built in 4 GB memory is plenty for long lectures and conferences. Apparently, some people have used it for college lectures, using Dragon to produce their notes. Not a publishable transcript, to be sure, but certainly adequate for course notes.
Stereo and mono recording is possible, so it can be used for music as well as conferences. You can also record from the built-in stereo radio. Recordings can be organised into folders.
The box states that it is compatible with PC and Mac. I found it worked with Linux too.

On the downside, I didn' t find the menu system very intuitive, having to refer frequently to the instruction manual. Also there is no way of naming files and folders, so ironically you would have to keep notes of where your notes are.

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