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All I want is a push-button voice recorder for dictation

EVISTR digital voice recorder looking down from the top on a wooden table

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EVISTR Digital Voice Recorder top view on a table
Image: Make Life Click

All I want is a push-button voice recorder for dictation. I’m on the quest to improve my productivity. I’m looking for ways to make myself work smarter.

I’m happy to work hard, but I need to work faster as well. And one of the solutions to this for me is using dictation software that allows me to voice record content that I can then send for someone to type up so that I don’t have to sit at my keyboard for hours on end hitting backspace to correct all my typo errors.

I’ve been using SpeechPad lately and highly recommend them for an affordable transcription service.

This post was dedicated and transcribed by SpeechPad. A good example.

I bought the EVISTR (full review here) affordable voice dictation recorder from Amazon. And I’ve certainly been impressed with it up to date. My frustration with it is that after recording for a little while, it kind of goes to sleep, and I have to press pause a couple of times, and look for the flashing light to know whether I’m in pause mode or recording mode.

Editor’s Pick
EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder Voice Activated Recorder with Playback

The EVISTR digital voice recorder is incredible value. While it might not have the microphone background noise cancellation features of more expensive units, it’s 90% there for what you need. If you don’t need a push-to-talk feature on your digital voice recorder then this is a great pick.

Ideally, I would have much more of a visual indicator that it is either recording or not recording. It’s frustrating having to constantly look at the screen. And while there is a red LED indicator, which flashes when you’re recording, I’d like something that I could see a little bit easier as it’s quite small.

I’ve figured out how to get around this now by keeping the screen awake so I’m much happier but I’d still want a push-to-record unit.

And if I’m interviewing people, then I definitely don’t want to have to be picking up my voice recorder and checking if it’s recording at different times during interviews.

So, of course, I’m looking for the next level up. And my first decision is to go to Google and have a look on Google to see if there are any push-button recording units that work like the ones the doctors use when I go up to the hospital.

Predominantly, you’ll see the Philips SpeechMike in use in medical practices. And lawyers also use something similar. I’d be happy to get one of these, but using a Mac, the software that comes with them, is sometimes a little bit clunky and not as well integrated. My ideal solution is still a mobile solution, something that I can throw in my pocket and take with me anywhere I go.

My frustration is that I have crawled through Amazon and I have Googled infinitely, and it seems impossible to find a voice recording unit that has one simple function I’m looking for.

That one simple function is push-and-hold for record. And when I take my finger or thumb off the button, stop recording.

I know this might seem counterintuitive for a voice recorder. Most people will want to dictate to their voice recorder without having to hold down a button or place a unit on a table where they can do interviews, or on their desk, where they can just speak to it without having to hold it.

The beauty of a push-to-talk voice recording device is that it gives you a lot of time to think in between sentences. If you don’t want a lot of white space or empty soundless sections in your dictation file, the idea of a push button that only activates the record as you hold it down means that I can push the button, talk, and release the button, and know that it stopped recording.

I don’t need to look at the unit. I can even use it when I’m driving so that I can keep my eyes on the road but know that every time I pushed the record, the audio is recorded, and when I release it, it stops recording.

EVISTR Dication device on a macbook laptop
Image: Make Life Click

This seems to be a unicorn, a rarity, a hard-to-find feature of all of the voice recorders that I’ve looked at. This post is partly a curiosity that it doesn’t exist or also perhaps a cry for help that someone out there might know of a mobile voice recording unit by Olympus, Sony, or similar, that actually has that feature as an option.

For now, I will continue with the device that I have. I will try to avoid having an accident if I choose to dictate in the car (I only use it in rush hour traffic anyway).

If I can’t find a solution for mobile use, it may be that I just need to buy one of the other units available, were pushing to record also pushes to pause and there’s no double-pressing if the unit’s gone to sleep if you’ve been talking for a while.

This would allow me to focus on what I’m doing without having to constantly check the device itself. Obviously, I really am talking specifically about situations like driving or walking, or I don’t want to have to be looking down all the time.

So, throw it at me, what devices do you know that might do to solve this problem? And if you’ve used a Philips SpeechMike on a Mac at home, share your thoughts on that too.

Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.

Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.

This post was last updated on 2022-12-08 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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