On August 4, 2008, we reviewed a collection of 13 different voice recorder applications for the iPhone in a roundup entitled iPhone Gems: Every Voice Recorder, Reviewed. This review contains a review of one application from that roundup; additional comparative details can be found in the original full story.
The iPhone comes with a built-in microphone, but didn’t have any voice recording software to take advantage of that feature. Today, less than a month after the opening of the App Store, there are 13 different pieces of voice recorder software. Note that unlike many of the App Store programs, these particular applications are designed specifically for the iPhone, not the iPod touch. Additionally, the base recording quality of all of the apps that we reviewed was roughly equivalent. A few of the apps we reviewed offered higher-quality recording settings, which resulted in slightly improved fidelity when recording from music sources or from distant sources, such as in a lecture hall. However, for voice recording quality purposes, all of the applications that we reviewed provided acceptable quality with virtually no distinguishable differences.
In terms of space taken up by voice recordings, based on the apps that did provide storage information or transfer of voice memos, you can expect your recordings to take approximately 1MB per minute of recorded audio on average, versus 2.5MB per minute on the iPod 5G’s, classic’s and nano’s low-quality mode. Notably, the numbers are not directly comparable because iPhone recordings are currently made in Apple’s Core Audio Format (CAF) rather than WAV, the format used by iPods. The space consumed will also vary somewhat with applications that provide different quality settings, however with the monaural microphone on the iPhone, there’s no current need to record in stereo fidelity. A near-term iPhone software update is expected to add MP3 encoding as an alternative to CAF for greater compatibility of the recorded files.
Yet another basic voice recording application, VoiceRecord is in many ways similar to the other options we’ve reviewed thus far, albeit a bit more polished. Like Voice Notes, this app has the annoying feature of presenting the user with a list of recordings rather than getting right down to business with the actual recording interface. To begin a recording, the user must tap the plus sign, in this case in the top-left corner of the application.
Tapping the Plus sign takes you to a very nice recording screen, where you must then tap the Record button to actually begin recording. As a nice added touch, a level meter is displayed during recording:
When finished recording, tapping on the stop button saves the current recording and returns you to the list of recordings. By default, all recordings are named with the current date and time. Tapping on a recording presents a list of options to play, rename, or delete the recording.
Unfortunately, VoiceRecorder lacks any of the more advanced features of some of the other voice recorders, such as the ability to pause while recording or append to an existing recording, and no means is provided for transferring the recordings off of the iPhone to your computer. If you can live within those limitations, however, this app works well as a basic voice recorder, and is reasonably priced.
Company and Price
Company: Patrick O’Keefe
Compatible: iPhone, iPhone 3G