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I bought the Olympus WS 650S dictaphone for my college course so I could record lectures and listen back to my notes. Here is my review.
- Price and Availability -
The Olympus WS 650S is available for around £55 online and upwards of £60 on the high street. You can purchase this model at Amazon, Laksys, and independently including eBay, and from high street retailers - I have also seen it in a large Tesco supermarket. For the best deal I'd recommend purchasing online.
- Dictaphone Uses -
They might sound a bit outdated when you can record on your phone these days, but dictaphones do have their uses outside of journalistic arenas - as I've said, I use mine for lectures so I can record the lecture without having to worry about missing notes, and I can listen back to the lecturer at my leisure at home.
It'd be useful for anyone writing a book, or doing any kind of research, or making their own revision notes.
- Why the Olympus WS 650S? -
I chose it as it's not too big at 4 x 1.1 x 9.9 cm and not too heavy at 51g. The fact it was digital was a big draw, too, I can transfer the audio files to my PC and other devices without hassle and back them up, freeing up the space so I can record more audio on the unit (none of those little tapes everywhere!). It supports WMA and MP3 files.
The playback is in stereo, too, so the spoken word sounds good when played back, even when I have recorded in a lecture hall with less than perfect acoustics.
- Looks -
It looks great, in a metallic silver finish and a slightly early ipod - esque directional keypad on the front. It features a long stereo speaker to the bottom of the unit, a decent 1.36 inch mono LCD screen. Overall it looks very professional and something which you'd be happy to use both personally and professionally.
- Use -
I can't fault it for ease of use. You can one - touch record, name files, delete files, see how much remaining space you have and so on - all with the touch of a button. It's easy. There is plenty of room on the device, the 2GB flash memory records a generous 135 hours on stereo standard play, and 67 hours on high quality, with 266 hours on standard play and 529 hours on long play.
The buttons are self explanatory, though there is a full usage manual provided, and the screen is clear, bright and easy to read. The build quality of the unit is very good - it will withstand being stuck in a bag, the occasional bump or scrape, and the everyday out and about wear and tear, and will keep on going. I've had mine almost 18 months and it's like new.
The stereo speakers are loud, clear and free of crackle, and you can listen to and dictate your notes with ease, alternately you can use a standard pair of headphones in the headphone jack and listen privately.
The dictaphone takes rechargeable AAA batteries which last a good fortnight on daily use.
- Recommend? -
Yes - I do. Very much so - it's a great, high quality dictaphone in the £50 range, which delivers professional quality results. Mine has been an absolute pleasure to use and I've counted on it for course notes time after time - it's been invaluable to me. For the quality and for the amount of space on it - I cannot fault it. It is easy to use, looks quite trendy and is fully portable. The battery life is excellent, and overall it's a really easy and dependable piece of equipment, which is exactly what you need in a dictaphone. I've used cheaper models from other manufacturers with varying results, but this is hands down the best I have used.