Personal dictation devices are meant to provide occasional users with capabilities that help you dictate more efficiently, as opposed to simply recording an event. While they don’t have professional features, such as encryption, file transfers and management, and rechargeable power supplies, these recorders can help you be more efficient, while giving you full editing capabilities.

Most inexpensive recorders do not allow you to stop, review and re-record — important features when you’re dictating. Other recorders simply record an event. If you stop and record again, you’re creating a new, separate digital voice file. The dictation recorders on this page do allow you to stop, back-up and re-record. You can even insert new passages within an existing dictation file!

On the other hand, the personal dictation recorders on this page record in a special DSS format, which is great for recording the human voice, but less than stellar when recording music or capturing lectures and meetings. For those “events,” consider a voice & music recorder.

RecordersDigital vs Tape
Olympus DS-2800

Olympus DS-2800 Digital Voice Recorder
The Olympus DS-2800 digital dictation device makes organised and efficient dictation quick and easy for professionals working in small and medium-sized businesses.

Philips Digital Pocket Memo 9375

Philips Digital Pocket Memo 9375
Handy, powerful and efficient, you can easily control the latest recording technology with push buttons. With the exchangeable SD card, you have virtually unlimited recording capacity

Olympus DS-2400

Olympus DS-2400 Digital Voice Recorder
With many of the features of its professional dictation recorders, the Olympus DS-2400 gives you high-performance at an entry-level price.

Digital vs Tape

Professional handheld digital recorders work very much like the tape dictation machines you may be used to: slide up the side switch to record, slide down to playback, hold down to review.

Fortunately, that’s where much of the similarity ends:

  • Digital files sound better than tape, especially after cassetts have been recycled several times.
  • No tapes to break!
  • Digital voice files can be easily sent over a network or the Internet to a transcriptionist. Turnaround on dictation is faster.
  • No expensive service contracts. What’s to service on a solid-state device?
  • No tape expense. And, with most professional models, rechargeable battery packs mean no more battery expense.