Testing The Best Voice Activated Recorders (2019)

By Glen / March 7, 2019

Last Updated on

Looking for a voice assistant that you can carry around and take notes for you? I hate the feeling of listening to something important knowing perfectly well I’m going to forget most of what’s being said.

This is why voice recorders are becoming so popular. With recent technology you can record for hundreds of hours without having to push a button!

Voice recorders hold a rich history as they have been used for many years to help people gain quick access to a convenient device that allows them to quickly record voice notes, which can then be processed later on.

These devices are more convenient compared to other options for taking notes, such as a pen and paper, as they are portable and easier to carry around.

It also takes much less time to record voice notes and conversations compared to having to write down notes – which often does not hold all of the most valuable information.

Voice-activated recorders have become very popular recently, allowing you to easily capture a voice note by simply speaking into the recorder – no need to press any buttons anymore.

This can help to avoid mistakes where you forgot to hit the record button, leading to a loss of important notes that could have been valuable at a later time.

With the best voice activated recorder, you will be able to easily capture voice notes wherever you are.

Some of these devices also offer adequate internal storage space, along with the ability to expand the memory by adding a memory card, allowing you to record for hours on end without having to worry about space running out.

In this post, we are going to take a look at five of the best voice activated recorders that are currently out there on the market. We will also share a couple of useful tips that can help you choose the best voice activated recorder for your needs.


The 5 Best Voice Activated Recorders

While a lot of voice activated recorders are available on the market, some of these products cannot provide you with the performance, functionality, and quality that you require when it comes to quickly capture voice notes while you are on-the-move, ensuring you get access to these later on.

We looked at a lot of different options to bring you five of the best that will give you the best value for your money.

1. SOTA Surveillance Small Mini Voice Activated Audio Recorder

Sale
Small Mini Voice Activated Audio Recorder | 94 Hour Storage Capacity (8GB) | 15 Hour Battery | Date & Time Stamp | Easy to Use | Crystal Clear Digital Recording | I8 Droid C Recording Device
  • PROFESSIONAL GRADE FEATURES - The I8 Droid voice activated audio recorder boasts one of the highest bit rates on the market today | 94 Hour Recording Capacity | Long Lasting 15 Hour Battery Life | Capable of recording while plugged in for charging provides unlimited covert recording | DATE & TIME STAMP
  • EASY ONE TOUCH OPERATION - No Confusing Lights or buttons. Simply move the switch to either side to start and stop recording.----Works on Any Mac or Windows Computer.------ In addition to your audio recordings, you can store any files you would like on this.

The very first option on our list is a unique product – instead of your traditional voice recorder, and this particular recorder comes in the form of a flash drive that is equipped with a quality microphone that can capture clear sound for later use.

The device comes with an 8GB internal storage capacity, allowing for up to 94 hours of voice notes and recordings.

The microphone can be easily switched on – once turned on, the device will automatically record audio when a voice is detected.

A great option for anyone who just wants something descrete and simple

2. TENSAFEE Digital Voice Recorder

Digital Voice Recorder,TENSAFEE 16GB Activated Sound Audio Recorder Dictaphone,Portable HD USB digital Recorder with Double Microphone Support TF Card 32G Expand for Lectures/Meetings/Interviews/Class
  • VOICE RECORDERS:Two ultra-sensitive microphones with dynamic noise reduction save crystal clear recordings for you. Meanwhile external speakers of the digital voice record play HD sound recorder and music loudly and clearly.
  • VOICE ACTIVATED RECORDING : Detected the sound, the digital sound recorder will start recording. By selecting "VOR Set", the audio recorder will automatically start recording when it catch the sound. No voice no record, save your time and memory space. Also could fast forward and rewind during playback.

The TENSAFEE Digital Voice Recorder is another good option if you are looking for a voice-activated recorder at a lower price.

This product has a design that is similar to traditional Dictaphones and can be easily connected to a computer through a USB connection to transfer recordings.

The device has a 16GB internal storage capacity and also supports TF memory cards up to 32GB in size.

The quality of the recordings captured by the device can be easily adjusted, thanks to the built-in LCD screen.

A great all around option at a reasonable price. Perfect for those who want to record meetings and lectures.

3. Sony ICD-UX544BLK Digital Voice Recorder

Sony ICD-UX533BLK Digital Voice Recorder - Black
  • Introducing the ideal digital voice recorder for business, school, and/or music recording, delivering ease of use with superior recording and audio playback capability
  • 4 GB of available internal flash memory provides ample space for recording life's important moments-up to 1,073 hours in fact

For those looking for a voice-activated recorder from a more established brand, the Sony ICD-UX544BLK Digital Voice Recorder may be an ideal option to consider.

This device has a price tag that is just under $100 but comes with a sturdy and quality design, along with an HD microphone for clear sound.

The product has a built-in 4GB memory that allows for approximately 1,073 hours of recording.

The 2-element stereo microphone also adds to the overall quality and clarity of all recordings. The memory card slot also allows for the internal memory to be expanded.

A great option for those who are concerned with having great sound quality in their recordings.

4. Olympus VN-8100PC Digital Voice Recorder

Next up is the Olympus VN-8100PC Digital Voice Recorder, another option for a well-established brand.

This is the best voice recorder on the list. It has the most features, and the microphone has some of the best noise rejection on the market for the price.

This one comes at a higher price tag of just under $140 but does offer a lot of convenient features that can be useful when it comes to recording voice and sounds in the moment.

The product is available in five different colors, including black, red, blue, silver, and gray.

The product can record in both WMA and MP3 formats and features an LCD display unit for easy navigation.

The battery life and storage capabilities are competitive with others on the market.

If you want the best quality recordings with all the bells and whistles this is your option.

5. Dictopro X100

Sale
Digital Voice Activated Recorder by Dictopro- Easy HD Recording of Lectures and Meetings with Double Microphone, Noise Reduction Audio, Sound, Portable Mini Tape Dictaphone, MP3, USB, 8GB
  • HIGH QUALITY ALUMINUM BODY - With a beautiful color LCD display, feels strong and sturdy, while being light and small. Conveniently fits in any palm, pocket or a purse for easy access and portability.
  • TWO ULTRA SENSITIVE MICROPHONES with DYNAMIC NOISE REDUCTION - Now you can enjoy crystal clear recordings even while you're up to 40ft away or to record quiet, discreet conversations.

The last option that we highly recommend to our readers would be the Dictopro X100, a quality device that is available at a low price of under $40.

The Dictopro X100 is voice activated, once the device is turned on, and the microphone is activated.

The LCD display unit offers an easy way to monitor recordings and navigate the system.

The body is also made from aluminum, providing a more sturdy overall performance and enhanced durability in terms of using the product on a day-to-day basis.

The best option for those on a budget.


Buyer’s Guide To The Best Voice Activated Recorder

Finding the best voice activated recorder on the market is certainly not an easy task – not only are there many different options that you can choose from, but you also have to consider the fact that some of these products are made for a very specific audience.

In this section, we would like to offer some useful advice in terms of what particular factors you need to be on the lookout for when you are out there looking to buy the best voice activated recorder for yourself.

Since the options vary so widely, taking at least these tips into account will help to reduce the number of products that you will need to filter through to find that perfect one.

How Many Microphones Do I Need?

I like to recommend you choice a voice recorder with at least 2 microphones. Two microphones usually provide the best quality audio recording.

Higher end recorders will have two mics facing each other at a 90° angle, replicating the XY recording technique that captures a clear stereo image.

If you want something very compact, you’re usually going to have to live with one microphone and a reduced recording quality.

The Different Recording Formats And Bit Rates

All voice recorders will offer MP3 recording. Usually, this is all you’ll need. Especially if you’re just taking voice notes. If you’re planning on using the recording for any audio production you will want to record in the WAV format.

WAV format will take up a lot more space, so just keep that in mind.

The bit rate is a measure of how many times the recorder will sample the sound per second. The higher the bit rate, the higher the definition of sound.

Just think of bit rate as the pixel density on your phone – the more pixels you have, the sharper the image.

Similar to the file format, the higher the bit rate you record in the more space your recordings will take up. If you are just taking notes, you won’t need a high bit rate 1536kbps is more than enough.

Microphone Quality

You are interested in buying a voice-activated recorder – this means that you will be recording your own voice notes, as well as perhaps some conversations, with the device.

For this reason, before looking at any of the other specifications or perhaps factors that we are going to be listing here, start by considering the quality of the microphone that comes built into the voice recorder that you might be interested in.

The quality of voice recorder microphones varies widely – and if you end up buying the wrong device, you will have a device that will not produce clear recordings.

This can make it much harder later one when you are trying to de-code what you said in those notes and can make it perhaps impossible for transcribing software to provide you with an accurate script of your voice notes.

Different microphones are going to be able to record at different distances – from a maximum of 10 feet to up to 50 feet.

If you’re are planning on recording lectures you’ll want something with at least 30 feet to ensure you’re getting the level you need.

You can also take a close look at reviews left on a particular recorder’s page – pay extra attention to negative reviews, as these will usually tell you if people are having issues with the quality of the product’s recording capabilities and its microphone in general.

Storage Capacity

The storage capacity of the voice recording you are looking at should be considered the second most important factor when it comes to deciding whether or not it is a good option for you.

Some of these devices are very limited when it comes to their internal storage, and not all of them have the ability to accept memory cards so that their storage capacity can be expanded.

These are features you should really pay extra attention to. You want to buy a recorder with an adequate amount of storage capacity – voice recordings that are stored in high-quality formats can take up a lot of space in some cases.

It will definitely also be useful if the product you want to buy is compatible with a memory card. This allows you to easily swap out memory cards when you are on-the-go and running low on storage space.

Compatibility

While the majority of modern-day voice recorders, including voice-activated voice recorders, are compatible with all major operating systems, including Windows, MacOS and Linux-based distributions, this is not always the case.

There are some of these devices on the market that comes with custom software that is not compatible with all operating systems – if this is the case, it will limit your usage of the voice recorder in cases where you do not have a computer running the specific operating system that the software is compatible with.

Ease-Of-Use

Next up is the ease-of-use – for most people, this particular factor will lie within the interface of the voice activated recorder.

Each brand has its own type of interface – think of the interface as the operating system of the voice recorder.

Some interfaces are fairly simple to use – with only a few buttons equipped on the recorder.

Others, however, can be more complicated and even feature touchscreen displays that can be used to navigate through existing recordings, modify settings, and perform other important functions.

Conclusion

There are a lot of different options available when it comes to buying a new voice activated recorder.

Companies are looking at implementing the latest technology to make these portable devices more useful than they have ever been before, but this also makes it much more difficult to know which one will serve the best purpose for you.

If you want the best recorder on the market you should be looking at the Olympus. If you want the best bang-for-your-buck the Sony is the best option.

On a budget? The Dictopro is for you.

If you are wanting something you can use with your phone you can check out our article on the best microphones for your smartphone here.

I hope this helped! Catch you on the next one.

About the author

Glen

My name is Glen Parry. I've been in the audio world for over 15 years. This includes guitar, keyboard, ukulele, speakers, headphones and everything else that comes with it. I spend all my free time on music production and jamming with friends. I hope to use this site to share my experience and help anyone looking for solutions to audio related problems.