Sanyo – Xacti ICR-XPS01M review

Ultra-lightweight high-quality digital sound recorder
Photo of Sanyo – Xacti ICR-XPS01M
£199

The Xacti ICR-XPS01M is, according to Sanyo, “the world’s slimmest and lightest linear PCM sound recorder”. And it’s easy to believe it. With a device like this, measuring a pocket-sized 39x96x9mm (wdh) and weighing just 46g, it’s hard to remember a time when if you wanted to record a celebrity interview, you had to lug around a chunky reel-to-reel tape recorder over your shoulder and check periodically that you hadn’t left the pause button down…

What it’s like
The Xacti ICR-XPS01M is powered by a lithium ion battery which is recharged through your PC via a USB lead, and has a 360-degree high-sensitivity stereo microphone. The device comes bundled with a 2GB Micro SD card. As well as the supplied stereo earphones, there’s an input jack for an external microphone, together with a speaker round the back to let you check for certain that your recording has been successful.

You might think the Xacti ICR-XPS01M would be intended for dictation – and it’s certainly ideal for secretarial work. Yet once you switch it on and the device’s backlit red-on-black controls appear, you quickly become aware that the Sanyo can do so much more.

All the controls are touchscreen-activated, and the Mode instruction reveals three options available in the red text LCD screen at the top – FM Radio, (Voice) Record and Music.

Below the display are three separate buttons for Scene/Guide, Record and Stop. Scene offers six presets for the type of recording you want to make: Interview, Meeting, Music, Headphone, Portable and Component. Once you’ve decided, you can enter the general Menu to fine-tune your preparation. So for music you can alternate between PCM and MP3 formats, choose manual or auto sound levels, reduce playback speed by 50 per cent, and use any of seven EQ levels (including a user-programmable one).

Performance
Sound quality for interviews and solo instruments is especially impressive – although you won’t be disappointed if you record a band at a live gig, either. Instruments are crisply captured and well differentiated.

Using Micro SDHC cards, the recorder’s storage limit can be increased to 8GB, giving you up to 12 hours of PCM stereo recording, 54 hours at 128Kbit/s and even 544 hours at 32Kbit/s Mono mode. Battery life, too, won’t let you down. When recording the built-in FM radio to MP3, you can get a minimum of 12 hours out of the device at its highest settings; 46 hours when playing MP3 tracks.

It’s unlikely you’ll want to listen to the radio too much, as the FM signal indoors is poor. Recorded sound quality is excellent, though, and if you’re willing to shell out a little bit more for the Cradle edition, which lets you dock the recorder and play back through decent onboard speakers.

Company: Sanyo

Contact: 01923 246363


Verdict
With prices online currently as low as £165, the Sanyo Xacti ICR-XPS01M is a sensationally light, versatile and good quality digital sound recorder that should appeal to office workers, journalists and musicians alike.