REVIEWED: Sony ICD-UX560

This CD-quality digital voice recorder out-performs a phone thanks to its excellent microphone and shirt pocket-sized design

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Do you need a dictaphone? If you travel to a lot of lectures, seminars, meetings, conferences or interviews, you’ve probably been relying on your phone’s voice recorder to make recordings. So why buy the Sony ICD-UX560?

Minimalist design

The smallest voice recorder around, it measures just 36mm x 101mm and weight just 51g, but that’s not why we like it. The ICD-UX560’s microphone is a level of magnitude better than your phone. Thanks to a number of different near and wide scene select modes that tweak the microphone sensitivity and directionality, very clear recordings can be made in various scenarios. It even powers-on in less than a second for making instant recordings.

Built-in storage

With 4GB of built-in storage that’s good for about 60 hours of voice recordings made at 128mbps MP3 files, there’s almost no need for its microSD card slot. However, it can also record in lossless linear PCM, which musicians will love. There’s even an output for attaching an external microphone, a headphones jack, and a catch for a lanyard so it can be worn around the neck.

Playback options

If you insert a microSD card loaded with MP3 files, the ICD-UX560 also acts as a basic digital music player. That might not be a core use, but headphones are required for playback since the unit’s built-in speakers are tiny, and poor quality.

File transfers

While its recording options are handy and usability is impressive, it’s how files are transferred to a laptop that we like most. The ICD-UX560 has a flip-out USB connector on the bottom that plugs straight into a computer for easy file transfer (PC users can use the Sound Manager software pre-loaded on the unit).

Built-in battery

Unlike most voice recorders that rely on AAA batteries, the ICD-UX560 has a built-in lithium battery that can be charged-up for an hour’s recording in just three minutes (again using that lip-out USB connector).

Versatile voice

Small, simple and well designed, the ICD-UX560 excels for making audio recordings in all kinds of scenarios, and its recording options and connectivity make it versatile and easy to use.

Price as reviewed: £70

Buy the Sony ICD-UX560 digital voice recorder

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