Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best voice activated recorder 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated September 1, 2023
Best voice activated recorder of 2018
If you get well acquainted with these basics, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing a voice activated recorder that suits your need. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets.
I have taken the initiative to educate you on the top three best voice activated recorder that you can buy this year. Here, I will review 3 of the best voice activated recorder of 2018, and we will also discuss the things to consider when looking to purchase one. I hope you will make an informed decision after going through each of them.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – DGFAN Voice Recorder
Why did this voice activated recorder win the first place?
The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.
№2 – Mini Voice Recorder – Voice Activated Recording – 286 Hours Recordings Capacity – 24 Hours Battery Life – Password Protection – aTTo digital
Why did this voice activated recorder come in second place?
I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture.
Why did this voice activated recorder take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great!
voice activated recorder Buyer’s Guide
When you are making a recording, there may be a great deal of background noise, especially if you are outside (as opposed to in a concert hall for example). Some recorders include built-in noise reduction, and may even have presets for recording in various settings.
Other useful features
There are numerous other features which you can shop for in a digital voice recorder. The most expensive models actually are like portable recording studios and may even include built-in editing functions, multiple mics for directional sound, and more.
The Sony ICD-UX53outclasses even pricier recorders in reviews. Its stereo recordings sound better than rivals’ in nearly every situation — bustling cafes, echoing lecture halls, hushed boardrooms. Thoughtful features make it an owner favorite: It’s slim and light, with easy-to-use buttons, and its slide-out USB connector makes it easy to recharge and transfer files to your PC or Mac. It includes extras you won’t find on cheaper recorders, including a backlit screen, microSD slot and multiple record/playback formats.
Finding the perfect digital voice recorder
As the name defines itself, this Multifunction Rechargeable digital audio voice recorder is really a multifunction gadget because aside from audio recording it also has a built-in LCD display and built-in speaker for playing music. It supports 2languages recording indication Sound control function (VOR). It is powered by a Lithium-ion battery which is rechargeable and saves a lot of money.
There are two separate keys; one for recording and the other one are for playing VOR system. Furthermore, it records voice without distorting and offers a long time activated recording system. This product has a sleek design and comfortable touch. It can also be used in recording a telephone conversation in multiple audio formats.
This Best Voice Recorder 8GB USB digital spy voice portable recorder is very versatile on its buy and save feature, where you can use one while the other is charging. Its small and discreet body is as simple as a USB flash drive where you can carry anywhere especially for surveillance purposes. This product is simple to use and to charge for its usual on/off switch and one touch recording keys are easy to operate, functional and compact. Besides, it does not consume much power compared to other digital voice recorders today. It is best in capturing arguments, talks, conferences, meetings, lectures, etc. plus it has an easy retrieval feature for plug and plays file access over the computer.
Olympus VN-7200 Digital Voice Recorder
Olympus VN-7200 digital voice recorder has a long range of recording time for up to a maximum of 1,15hours. This product also has voice activation and keys for choosing a fast or whether you want a slow playback for your recording. This digital voice recorder has recording modes but does not have an interface for connecting it to a computer. More so, this Olympus recorder has pretty simple operations using analog recorders of renowned Olympus audio technology which is ideal for getting rid of messy and unreliable recording tapes.
Digital Voice Recorder by Dictopro, Double Microphone
Dictopro’s voice activated recorder is popular for its high-quality aluminum body. It has a beautiful colored LCD display, very strong and sturdy yet light and small. This product features two ultra sensitive microphones with dynamic noise reduction which mean that you can be able to enjoy crystal clear recordings even when you’re 40 feet away from this gadget. In addition, it’s always activated voice recording feature will let you record automatically when it detects sound anywhere. An internal memory of 8GB in this digital voice recorder will probably give you up to 700 hours of recording time without the necessity to add another memory card. The best thing is, it has the capability to transfer files to a computer using USB cable plus the one year manufacturer’s warranty period.
Olympus VN-722PC Voice Recorders, GB Built-In-Memory
Olympus VN-722PC voice recorder is proud to its GB built-in memory which can record a maximum time of approximately 1600 hours. It also supports external storage of MicroSD or SDHC for up to 3GB capacity. This product has an output format to MP3and WMA recording options and already has a USB for PC connection, unlike other Olympus digital voice recorder models. This is the perfect recorder for beginners because of its simple and easy to use essential functions plus a low noise microphone for giving a clear recording. Included in the package are: instructional manual, pieces of AA Alkaline batteries and a portable short USB cable.
Sony ICD-UX533BLK Digital Voice Recorder
This Sony ICD-UX533BLK Digital voice recorder is a very small and compact voice recorder but is ideal for business, school, music recording purposes because of its ease of use and superiority in recording and playback capability. This product is equipped with a 4GB of available internal flash memory providing a recording time of up to 107hours approximately. This is good for capturing nuance, distant or low volume with clarity using a element stereo microphone array. Moreover, it has an expansion slot for external memory storage of MicroSD or Mtype memory cards plus it automatically adjusts recording levels for optimum results or you can set it manually.
Olympus VN-702PC Voice Recorder
This Olympus VN-702PC digital voice recorder has GB of internal memory with MicroSD external SD card slot. It gives connectivity using USB to Email, Edit, and Archive where you can easily transfer your recordings. It works on MPand WMA audio file types. In addition to this, it features a high-quality recording in a compact and easy to use method plus a new design of a large LCD screen. This product is very useful in a classroom or at work. On a full battery, this product is able to have a maximum 82hours of recording time. Along with the packaging is its built-in stand which reduces noise from the surface when the recorder is placed on the table.
Olympus 14266DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder
Olympus 14266DM-620 SLV digital voice recorder is one among the top list. This digital voice recorder from Olympus has a tresmic microphones and a built-in 4GB memory with MicroSD card slot extension. This has three audio file formats; PCM or WAV, MPand WMA. This is good for scene selection playback and it has a voice guidance feature. This digital voice recorder is powered by AAA batteries.
SONY ICD PX33Digital Voice Recorder
With a GB of internal flash memory and powerful pieces of AAA batteries which has 107hours of maximum recording time, this Sony ICD PX33digital voice recorder is one of the people’s top choices. Aside from internal storage, it also has an expansion slot for MicroSD for recording MP3s. This product has an intelligent noise cut andA-B repeat function. Furthermore, it is equipped with a track mark function and a USB cable to transfer files to MAC or Windows making it ideal for school, business, and personal dictation use. It has also an advanced scene select options, where you can select a pre-determined recording mode with the push of a button and the recorder will automatically optimize your settings.
If you mainly record in quiet environments
The PX470 is a bit bulkier than our main pick, and its audio quality isn’t as good, but it has a similar layout and navigation system. It does best in quiet settings with minimal background noise.
If you’re on a budget, we recommend Sony’s ICD-PX470. The PX470’s buttons and navigation system are very similar to that of the UX560, but our listening panel didn’t rate the PX470’s audio quality as highly. Recordings were understandable enough, however, and if you don’t need the absolute best audio quality, the PX470 will save you some money. It also has longer battery life than the UX560 at 5hours, but it isn’t rechargeable—you have to remember to keep AAA batteries on hand. It’s also physically larger, measuring twice as thick as the UX560.
If you don’t want a physical recorder, or need to only occasionally make recordings, we also have picks for the best iOS and Android voice-recording apps.
How we tested
We tested recorders in common settings and asked a listening panel to score recordings based on quality.
Most of the recorders have options to select recording modes for scenes like lectures, meetings, interviews, or dictations. Recording modes do the work for you: Selecting a scene automatically changes the recorder’s settings for that situation.
Wirecutter writer Anna Perling recorded MPaudio at the highest bit rates available on each device in order to get the best possible audio quality—this showed what each recorder was capable of. That meant 19Kbps for all recorders except for the Olympus, which maxes out at 12Kbps (though even this should be good enough for voice recordings). For the lecture scene, Anna sat in the back of Sahithya Reddivari’s engineering class at Georgia State University in Clarkston, Georgia, and lined recorders up next to each other, with the mics facing toward the lecturer. For the coffee shop scene, she headed to a crowded Starbucks and sat near the bar with her mom. The two read a Seinfeld dialogue, with the mics facing toward the “interviewee,” or main speaker, to mimic an interview. For the office scene, Anna read a different Seinfeld monologue in a quiet room in her house to mimic dictation, placing recorders on a table feet away from her mouth. Once she had the recordings, she noted how each recorder and app let her store the files, and how easy or difficult it was to transfer those files to her computer, label and organize them, and then upload them to Dropbox.
Anna then conducted a blind listening panel: Four Wirecutter staffers listened to 15-second samples of each unlabeled recording and rated the overall audio quality and intelligibility of words for each.
The Sony UX560’s extra features make an already-great recorder stand out from the rest.
The UX560 also has a rechargeable battery that charges via that USB plug. This means you won’t have to worry about having disposable batteries on hand. The UX560 doesn’t come with a wall charger—you’ll need to use a USB charger or connect the recorder to a computer to charge; if you have a recent Apple laptop or other computer with only USB-C ports, you’ll need an adapter. With a full charge, you can record for 2hours in the commonly used MPformat, or 2hours at the 560’s highest-quality setting (uncompressed LPCM audio at 44.kHz, or “CD quality” audio). Anna recorded for about two hours, and the battery indicator showed that the recorder was still fully charged.
The recorder comes with GB of storage, which allows for roughly 3hours of recording time using MPformat at 19Kbps; that’s comparable to what you get with most of the recorders we tested. A covered but easily accessible microSD slot allows for 3GB more of storage space if you need more recording hours. The UX560 offers a range of file and recording formats so you can opt for better audio quality or smaller file sizes.
Selecting the Clear Voice function during playback helped reduce background noise in our coffee shop and lecture recordings but didn’t make as big of a difference as the noise-cancel feature on the Olympus. The UX560’s other playback options, however, made it overall a better choice than the Olympus for people looking to transcribe interviews or lectures: an A-B Repeat function lets you go back and replay the same section repeatedly, and digital pitch control lets you adjust the playback speed if you need to listen more closely to difficult-to-decipher passages. The UX560 has a transcription mode that will give you a cleaner interface with fewer distractions while transcribing if that’s something you prefer, but you can still fast-forward, rewind, and adjust the digital pitch control in regular playback mode. Oddly, you won’t be able to use the A-B Repeat to replay the same section repeatedly in transcription mode.
The UX560 is a small, compact recorder that feels nice in the hand, and its matte plastic and sleek design make it look a little less cheap than others that were tested. At just inches tall, 1.inches wide, and 0.4inch thick, the UX560 is the slimmest recorder we tested. It can easily fit into a shirt pocket or in the pocket of skinny jeans, while the other recorders are almost twice as thick and fit better in a purse or bag.
The UX560 is half as thick as the PX470, making it easy to fit in a shirt or pants pocket.
Like all of the recorders we tested, the UX560 also comes with a strap loop if you want to add a wrist strap or lanyard; you’ll need to provide your own, though it’s easy enough to find an inexpensive option.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The screen on the UX560’s fades and eventually shuts off during recording, which is a little disconcerting, but an LED indicates that you’re still recording. This recorder also lacks a convenient erase button, so you’ll need to navigate through its menu to delete recordings.
Although its audio quality isn’t as good as our main pick’s, the Olympus WS-85has more internal storage and longer battery life.
If you can’t find the Sony UX560, or its price increases dramatically, we also like the Olympus WS-85for its superior combination of storage space and battery life, each of which was better than with everything else we tested. The Olympus didn’t do as well as the UX560 in our listening tests, ranking lowest overall for audio quality by our panel, though its recordings are still understandable and it scored well on the lecture test, tying with the UX560. The main complaint from listeners was that the lecture and coffee shop audio samples sounded “tinny.” We also found that the Olympus’s menu system is less intuitive than that of the UX560.
The Olympus’s GB of storage is double that of most of the models we considered, including the UX560, and you can expand it even further with a microSD card. The Olympus boasts 1hours of battery life when recording in MPat 12Kbps, or about four times as long as our main pick.
With GB of internal storage, the Olympus has the most memory of the recorders we tested.
The Olympus has one of the largest screens of the models tested, larger than that of our main pick. The larger screen makes the menus slightly easier to see in daylight, but the Olympus’s screen isn’t backlit, making it harder to use in low-light settings. Navigating the menus is also more difficult than on our top pick. It seemed counterintuitive to navigate using the up and down buttons to access different folders, and to have to press the side buttons twice to select items; it’s also missing a back button. On the other hand, it does have a convenient erase button for one-step file deletion.
As with the Sony UX560, a pop-out USB 3.0 plug lets you easily upload files to a computer and recharge the two replaceable AAA batteries, which takes about hours. The Olympus doesn’t have quite as many high-quality recording options as the UX560, but it still has a range of formats that let you optimize quality or maximize storage space. It also has a low-cut filter to reduce excess low-end rumble. Although the Olympus doesn’t have a scene setting aimed at recording music like our main pick, it has presets that tailor recording settings for dictation, meetings, conferences, and telephone recordings. Like the UX560, the Olympus has a voice-activated recording setting to automatically stop and start recordings based on volume levels so you don’t have to manually pause if you’re recording a lecture or conversation with lots of breaks.
While playing back audio, the WS85can compensate somewhat for problems you might have run into while recording: a noise-cancellation setting can reduce overall background hiss (though this comes at the expense of battery life), while a voice balancer setting can even out recordings that were made with the mic sensitivity set too low or high by compressing the overall level for a more even sound (though you might run into increased noise).
During our testing, noise cancellation was effective at reducing background hiss, clangs, and the noise from the coffee grinder, while the voice balancer did even out recorded levels though it made voices sound flat. The effects of both features were more obvious than Sony’s Clear Voice mode and did help make recorded voices clearer, but the Olympus lacks Sony’s handy track mark list, dedicated transcription mode to let you fast-forward and rewind, and digital pitch control to slow or speed recordings, making it overall less useful for transcribing than the UX560.
A neoprene case protects the Olympus from bumps and scratches.
The Olympus is made of shiny plastic and has raised buttons that some people will find easier to use. It’s the only recorder we tested to come with a case—a neoprene sleeve—which is useful for protecting the recorder during storage.
Voice activation means that you can leave a recorder in ‘standby’ and it will automatically start recording once the sound reaches a certain level and stop when it drops below that level.
Therefore you could use it for covert recording and leave it in an empty room – it would only record when someone came in and started talking.
Or you could leave it running on your desk while you were reading documents and it would only go into ‘record’ mode when you dictated notes out loud.
Welcome to the Argos Olympus voice recorder shop
Enjoy capturing audio in high quality more easily than ever with Olympus.
Olympus DP Series Voice Recorders
The Olympus DP Series offers users all the simplicity of a tape machine with all the benefits of digital recording such as increased memory, enhanced battery life and a large, easy to read LCD screen. The functional design also features large buttons for effortless operation.
The Worlds Smallest Micro Voice Recorder
The name just isn’t clever its true, this small recorder measures in at.7in x 1.8in x.24in. But aside the fact that it truly is tiny it is featured packed and simple to use. Activation and recording is all built into one, just turn the unit on located at the top left of the device. That’s it, once it’s on it’s recording, giving you the flexibility to turn this small recorder on and off at a moments notice anywhere, just leave it in your pocket or purse.
Spy Pen Audio Recorder
Spy recorder pens have been around for sometime and the idea has been around for even longer, think of all those cool James Bond movies where they used pens to set off bombs and free themselves from captivity. Well this little audio recorder pen may not trigger a remote detonation but it may be able to help rectify issues at work or home with verbal abuse, lying, infidelity and more. The first thing I noticed when I put this pen in my hand was how nice it looked, and it even wrote making it the perfect tool for clandestine recording. Instantly I was drawn to how the device was activated, for years most pens either had a small button on the top of them to trigger recordings or you just push the clasp down or up. But this pen took it to a another level of covert. Just turn the top of the pen left or right to activate continuous recording or voice activation mode. Once again this gives you the ability to activate your recordings at a moments notice.
Pro USB Flash Drive Audio Recorder
This simple voice recorder looks just like a fit bit which makes it a perfect device for covert recording. Not only that this fit bit actually looks nice, I mean nice enough to wear with not just casual clothes but also special events, work, weddings really anywhere. The rubber band is adjustable to fit just about any shape or sized wrist you can throw at it. This device is simple to activate and doesn’t look out of place when you do. This device just requires you to power on the device to activate its record mode. To turn on this devices power and put it into record just push the switch located on the left hand side of this device up and that is it.
USB Flash Drive Voice Recorder
Rounding off my top list is another USB flash drive recorder. This has to be one of the simplest and affordable recording devices I have tried out so far. Being a USB flash drive just makes it so much easier to use since they are so common now a days. This device has time & date stamped audio recordings (windows computers only) 1hours of battery life (2-hour charge) and can store 90 hours of recordings on its 8GB flash memory. Like the pro version this model has a simple one touch voice record mode, simply slide the switch to on, on the bottom of the recorder, and your recording.
Easy Voice Recorder
Easy Voice Recorder does what the name suggests. It provides an easy method to record things with your phone. You open the app, hit the mic button, record, share as needed, and then close the app. It also has a few additional features, like the ability to change what kind of file type you record to. It also has widget support. The pro version also includes support for stereo recording, Bluetooth microphone support, and more. The pro version also removes the advertising from the free version.
RecForge II is among the most powerful voice recorder apps out there. It has a plethora of features, including pitch control, gain control, tempo control, and more. It’s one of the better ones for longer recordings and especially for stuff like music or lecture recordings. The app also comes with a simple sound editor so you can clip and otherwise edit your recordings. You can even have the playback loop for memorization purposes. This one is definitely great for just about everybody whether it’s for business, music, college, or whatever.
Snipback is a different kind of voice recorder app. Like most voice recorder apps, it performs the basics. You’ll be able to record stuff, upload it if need be, and manage the files. It also has some other features like audio quality selections, recording duration selections, and a noise reduction filter. What makes it unique is the ability to recapture up to 30 seconds of audio from before you started recording. The only caveat is that you’ll need to leave the app open in the background. It could drain a bit of extra batter, but it’s still pretty neat.
Voice Recorder Pro
Thankfully, Voice Recorder is a better app than its bland name would imply. It is a fully featured app that likes to keep it simple. You’ll be able to record in PCM (Wave), AAC, and AMR which gives you a good variety of options. On top of that, the interface is easy to use, files are easy to find and manage, and this can be used to record phone calls (if its device and OS supported). It also has other features such as a bitrate option and much more. It’s one of the more serviceable and simple voice recorder apps.
There are two types of audio file formats, compressed and uncompressed. Generally, higher compression means lower quality sound. You should buy a recorder that allows you to capture uncompressed audio in AIFF or PCM (Wav) formats. Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF) and Pulse Code Modulated audio (PCM) are audio file formats that store the audio in its raw uncompressed format, meaning you maintain the original recording quality. High quality voice recorders enable you to record your interviews in an uncompressed audio format.
Things to Consider
Most digital voice recorders have a battery life of between 1and 3hours as they use standard AA or AAA batteries. Some of the best digital voice recorders use rechargeable batteries as not only do they save money, but they are also far more environmentally friendly. Some newer digital voice recorders now feature lithium batteries, like those found in mobile phones, and so can be charged up between uses.
Audio file formats
Typically the more expensive the digital voice recorder device is, the more audio file formats it can support. The standard file format that is supported is MPbut there are other formats and these include; WAV which is the waveform audio file that is standard for IBM and Microsoft, AIFF which is the Audio Interchange File Format developed by Apple, as well as AU which is the file format that was developed by Sun Microsystems. Make sure to consider what you will audio file format you will need and then make sure to check that the digital voice recorder device that you choose can support that file format.
Some advanced voice recorders have transcription technology that can be used in conjunction with compatible software and computers to transpose audio files into word documents. The practical applications of this feature are almost limitless.
Olympus WS-85Digital Voice Recorder
The Olympus WS-85Digital Voice Recorder is another fine example of an inexpensive digital voice recorder with a fine performance. Although it is comparable to the EVISTR Slim, there are several significant differences between the two.
The Olympus WS-85has some exciting features. For example, it’s Intelligent Auto Mode automatically adjusts the mic sensitivity to the volume of your voice. If you’re in alone in a small room, it will turn the sensitivity down, and if you’re trying to take notes in a lecture hall, it’ll compensate for this as well.
The voice recorder also has two different information modes. It has a simple mode, that displays only the most pertinent information, which is helpful for anyone unaccustomed to the screen. It also has a normal mode that is suitable for advanced users who want more control over their recordings.
Thanks to its special design, you don’t need a USB cable to connect the WS-85to a computer. Rather, a direct USB port is built into the model, allowing you to plug the voice recorder directly into your computer. Thanks to an impressive memory life and convenient design, this is an excellent choice for a low-cost voice recorder.
Olympus VN-8100PC Digital Voice Recorder
Like most digital voice recorders, the Olympus VN-8100PC has both advantages and disadvantages over comparable models. And, like most other voice recorders, those advantages and disadvantage are not necessarily directly connected with its price.
The VN-8100PC comes with GB of internal memory storage, which allows for up to 84hours (3days) of recording time. It has a large LCD screen with extra large fonts, making it easier to read, and it can record in both MPand WMA (Windows Media Audio) formats.
The voice recorder uses a USB cable to connect directly to your PC for file transfer. It also comes with a headphone jack so you can review your audio recordings privately, perfect for settings where playback would be distracting to others. This isn’t a perfect recorder and it does have some limitations, but it works very well for the price.
Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder
Recently released in 2016, the Zoom H4n Pro represents the latest in digital audio recording technology.
The advanced microphones allow you to record in either stereo or 4-channel audio, and the built in X/Y stereo microphones and can handle up to 140 dB SPL (sound pressure level). This is an extremely high threshold, allowing these microphones to accurately capture a wide range and volume of sounds.
Sony Digital Flash Voice Recorder
The Sony Digital Flash Voice Recorder is another fine example of a digital voice recorder with a lot to offer. There’s nothing flashy or innovative here, but the recorder does its job exceptionally well.
Although the screen overflows with enough information to be overwhelming, theis digital voice recorder delivers where it is expected. GB of microSD storage provides over 1000 hours of quality stereo sound.
In addition to the already-supported flash memory, the Sony Digital comes with a bay for a microSD expansion, offers both automatic and manual level control, intelligent noise reduction and two different recording/playback modes.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your voice activated recorder wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of voice activated recorder
- №1 — DGFAN Voice Recorder
- №2 — Mini Voice Recorder – Voice Activated Recording – 286 Hours Recordings Capacity – 24 Hours Battery Life – Password Protection – aTTo digital
- №3 — Digital Voice Recorder