Voice Recorder Review


Review Details


Olympus VN-240

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Olympus VN-240 Reviewer's Comments


Note this unit has been discontinued but similar models with more memory are still being sold.


The VN-240 is fairly small, about twice the size of a cigarette lighter which is twice what I would have liked but not bad still.

What I Liked: It has 4 hours of record time(once you change the settings to lowest quality and longest play but since it is notes who cares about the quality, go for the time and it still sounds good), It uses a AAA pair of batteries, it was only $50.

Unfortunately this is yet another example of a device designed by an engineer on a computer with no idea what the product would be used for and that was NEVER tested in the real world. A bunch of guys passed the prototype around in a meeting and talked into it, looked at the spec sheet and gave the go ahead with no further evaluation. How do I know this? It is absolutely obvious from the design. What I didnt like: It is too big. From the weight I can easily say the size could have been cut in half, there is a lot of empty space in it. The display is way too big. Not a common complaint but they could have used half a watch display size lcd. Most of the icons on the screen are never needed except during setup so they are a waste of space. The record and erase and other buttons look nice but are things some engineer dreamed up on a computer and never tested as someone would use them. There are no 'record button setup' options. The user should be able to select how the record button is to operate. You should have the option to press record, talk, let go. But with this unit, if you press record, record your message while driving then drop it in your pocket it keeps on and on recording for no reason. You have to press stop. Also the buttons have no feel. They are all smooth and you cannot feel the difference where one stops and the next starts. Try recording something at night while driving in a dark car. You have to fiddle with the unit to find the record button and if you dont just remember that the stop button is below it you will get your chip filled up with car noise for the rest of the trip. The erase button is another problem, it does not erase. You press it and it asks yes or no, it takes 2 other buttons to actually erase one message. You should be able to hold the button for 2 seconds to erase a message or this could have been another button setup option based on the preferencs of the user. Also they could have easily created an unerase function, I dont know the technical setup but it seems they could have setup 10 registers, stored the last 10 deleted messages, location,length, then someone could try to undelete a message, the unit checks the first byte of the location to see if it has been overwritten, if not then it can be restored, if it has been overwritten then too bad, remove if from the list. That is an ultra easy implementation that could have been programmed in an afternoon by an assistant. The unit has a bunch of features that I do not need and the manual was not clear if there was some limit on the number of messages/size per folder so I am not sure if I can get the full benefits or 4hr time using just one folder. I never thought I needed 4 hours but now that I have it I realize it will be nice and maybe even more time would be good for long weekends or for special projects where I need a lot of notes written later. Also it will be good for lectures, easily recording a 1 or 2 hr lecture.

On the positive side, it looks like a tiny cellphone so you do not look as strange when talking into it although it does look like you are talking into the antenna end. You have to purchase a special version for the pc compatibility. I did not think this was needed by most people so evaluated the less expensive verison. If you need to transfer audio to your PC you can use the ear jack out to your sound card to record.


If you are recording short meetings this unit may be OK. If you are using it for notes, then I cannot recommend the olympus. The design is too poorly thought out and it is too hard to use..


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