This is not exactly PC hardware, but it’s a small, cute, electronic gadget, so it merits a review. The IC Memory Recorder is basically a small audio recorder for note-taking, but instead of using micro-cassette tapes it is entirely solid state with no moving parts. Speech and any other audio is encoded digitally and then stored in the device’s memory. Not a great deal larger than a credit card (see the picture below, showing the unit next to a book of matches), the IC Memory Recorder has a built-in speaker and a headphone socket, and is powered by two AAA batteries – enough for eight hours of playback or ten hours of recording.
A maximum of 60 minutes of audio can be stored in the 2MB of memory, with each individual memo file allocated a different number. Up to 99 memos can be stored, and each one is given a time and date stamp that is visible on the device’s small LCD screen. Using the rotating ‘jog’ dial, it is possible to jump to a particular memo and play it back; there’s also a feature to automatically play the first few seconds of each file, so that you can quickly track down the one you want. Memos can be deleted individually or all at once, there’s an option to increase or decrease playback speed, and the device can be set to voice-activation mode if necessary.
The audio quality of this recorder is not excellent, because of the digital compression required to store up to 60 minutes of sound, but it’s certainly good enough for note taking. The microphone sensitivity can be adjusted, too, which means that, if necessary, quiet background sounds can be recorded.
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