Amazon.comSlim, attractive, and highly functional, the Olympus WS-100 digital voice recorder packs 64 MB of internal flash memory into its lightweight housing, letting you record up to 27 hours of audio in WMA format. It's ideal for recording notes or long lectures, interviewing sources for an upcoming article, or capturing spur-of-the-moment song ideas before they disappear into the recesses of your memory. As an added bonus, the recorder also serves as an all-purpose USB mass storage device, meaning it can store documents and images along with audio. Simply plug it into a digital camera through its USB interface and you can transfer several dozen images (depending on their size) to the flash memory, freeing up space in your camera's memory card. Then, when you return home, you can plug the recorder into a PC and switch the images to your hard drive. All this in a tiny body that measures 1.57 inches wide by 3.7 inches tall--roughly the size of a pack of gum.
File organization is straightforward and intuitive. The WS-100 boasts five separate folders capable of holding 199 files each, so you can organize nearly 1,000 files by subject, theme, or other categories. Users also have the choice of three recording modes: HQ, which minimizes background noise and is great for capturing people with low speaking voices (it offers 4 hours and 20 minutes of recording time); SP mode, which still sounds good but isn't quite as crisp (ensures 8 hours and 40 minutes of time); and LP mode, which is designed to maximize recording (27 hours and 20 minutes). And thanks to the voice activation option, users don't need to press a single button to start recording. The WS-100 will instead record as soon as the built-in microphone picks up sound.
Perhaps the most convenient feature, however, is the built-in USB connector. To transfer information to or from the WS-100 from a PC or Mac, all you need to do is remove one end of the recorder's body, which reveals a male USB plug. This USB Direct design eliminates the need for a USB cable (the male plug connects directly to your computer), making the device even more portable. Once connected, it's easy to download images, documents, and other files.
Every bit as important are the playback functions, which include fast (50 percent) and slow (25 percent) playback. And should you need to identify and quickly retrieve important sound bites, all you need to do is insert an index mark and refer to it later. Additional features include adjustable microphone sensitivity, which lets you adjust the recording level to meet your needs; an easy-to-read LCD display; the ability to erase single or entire files; and a pair of stereo earphones.
The WS-100 runs for approximately 13 hours on a single AAA battery and weighs a mere 1.9 ounces. It's also backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
What's in the Box
WS-100 digital voice recorder, stereo earphones, neck strap, USB cable, one AAA battery, user's manual.