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What I like best about the Olympus DS-40 is its utter simplicity. To record, simply press the record button, and start talking–or point it at the person who is talking. When you’re done, just hit play to review. You don’t have to queue anything up. Just turning the thing on is super easy–just press any button (there is also a dedicated power/hold switch). And get this–it will shut off automatically after 10 minutes of idle time. Talk about hands-off. Laziness rules!
Slim and very lightweight, the DS-40 has 512 MB of storage, and, in addition to your own recordings, will also play WMA and MP3 files. You can record using the attachable stereo mic or with the built-in mono mic, or if you want to get fancy, you can plug in your own microphone.
The DS-40 ships with DSS Player software which enables you to transfer your recordings to a PC, as well as move songs, podcasts, and audiobooks from Audible.com onto the recorder. If the DS-40 didn’t cost nearly $200, I would recommend it as an alternative to a full-fledged MP3 player if you’re more into talk than music. I had no problem transferring files back and forth, and was easily able to subscribe to podcasts via the DSS software (although you can’t search for podcasts from within the software, you have to enter them manually). It wasn’t no iTunes, but hey, it’s free! (Oh wait. . .)
More about the DS-40 plus images and screenshots after the jump.
When recording you can set the DS-40 to stop recording during silent periods and to start recording again when the “action” resumes, thus saving on memory and battery life. There are also plenty of filtering options and a noise cancellation feature. Olympus offers three recording sensitivities: lecture for large crowds with lots of background noise, conference for small meetings, and a dictation mode.
I recorded a few phone calls as well as in person conversations with and without background noise. My recordings turned out relatively clear–a little muddy, but understandable. And as I said, the usability experience was a model of simplicity.
The DS-40 runs on 2 AAA batteries, and has an battery life indicator on its display. You can also use an AC adaptor.
Also in this line is the 256MB DS-30 for $149.99 and the 1GB DS-50 for $249.99. The DS-50 also ships with a remote.
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