EVISTR L157 vs Sony Digital Voice Recorder UX570 – Budget vs Brains?

Sony ICD UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder standing up

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As many of you regular readers know, I’ve already written quite a lot on the EVISTR digital voice recorder and my experience with it to date.

And many of you will also have read my review on the Sony digital voice recorder (ICD-UX570), which I purchased after owning the EVISTR for just over a year.

As both of these are best sellers on Amazon, I thought it might be helpful for a lot of you to compare the EVISTR to the Sony to see what the difference is between these two units, and what you get for your money.

I need to start this by saying that both of these units are great value for the money. The Sony obviously costs nearly 3 times more than the EVISTR, but each has its benefits, and depending on your budget and your usage type most importantly, the cheaper unit may suffice for what you need.

Make sure you check out the sound recordings further down the page.

I owned the EVISTR for over a year and used it frequently. The challenge that I had with it is that when I’m driving in my car there must be some sub-audible noises that happen that only the microphones only EVISTR digital voice recorder pick up. I’ll include some audio files for you to listen to below.

Sony ICD-UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder
The Sony ICD-UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder

While I thought everything was great and sounded good, by the time I sent it through to my transcription service, Speechpad, they from time to time had difficulty transcribing the work that I was doing because the audio quality was so poor.

But this was only when I was driving my car, and in all of the situations seemed more than sufficient.

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When I upgraded to Sony, I immediately not only experienced a higher quality product, but also a better software, and the issue of the noise in the car was diminished to a point that it almost wasn’t even there.

SpecSONY
UX570
EVISTR
L157
Memory Capacity4GB16GB
Storage FormatsMP3MP3 (128kpbs, 64kpbs)
WAV (1536kpbs)
Built-in USB PlugYesNo
VU MetersYesYes
MicrophoneStereoMono
Size1.43″ x 4.31″ x 6.13″3.94″ x 1.06″ x 0.39″
Microphone PortYesNo
Headphone PortYesYes
Record time159 hours (4GB)120 hours (lowest quality)

Build quality between the two.

The build quality on the EVISTR is really solid. It’s got a metal body that houses a very small unit, and there’s a good amount of weight to it without it being too weighty. For people with really large hands, you might find that it’s actually a little too small to hold but overall, it’s such a right size for just dropping in your pocket or your bag, and hitting the road.

Sony ICD-UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder size compare to an iPhone
The decent handy size of the Sony ICD-UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder

The screen quality is not particularly brilliant but is sufficient for what you need to do, and you will need an external USB cable to plug this into your laptop.

The switches are strong and tough and the buttons are tactile enough that it feels good to use.

The slide buttons and rocker buttons on the bottom are also fine.

So, there’s no doubt that this unit would take real-world situations in its stride no matter whether you were traveling afar or staying local.

The Sony is incredibly lightweight. In fact, when I took it out of the retail box I thought it must be missing a battery or something because it was so light, I couldn’t believe that everything it needed was housed in its little unit.

And for that weight, it even includes a USB plug that slides out of the base ready to go so you don’t need a cable.

All of these in one little package that’s as light as a packet of gum was more than impressive.

The engineering, the screen quality is first class, the screen also includes really nice digital VU meters to see how the signal is traveling into the unit (the EVISTR does too but they are small and harder to reference), and the buttons are a little bit larger because the unit is slightly larger than the EVISTR, but are equally nice to touch.

Sony-ICD UX570 vs EVISTR digital voice recorder
Size comparison of the Sony ICD-UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder

There’s certainly not a huge difference when you’re using it to the buttons, the rocker switches, and sliders, but overall the build quality is excellent.

It is so light that I do worry that if I really took this and threw it in the bottom of my laptop bag, there may be a risk of scuffing it up but I expect that it would survive okay.

Build features.

The build features on the EVISTR are all that you need.

There’s a headphone port, the USB plug, the on/off switch, volume up and down, and then the menu up and down selector.

There is also the record, stop, play, and menu buttons. There’s a small speaker and the microphones at the top.

This is all that you need to operate the EVISTR especially if you’re not planning to manipulate or manage the files once it’s on the device.

The Sony build features are more impressive.

There’s a clear separation between the stereo microphones at the top, and there’s not only a headphone jack but also a microphone option if you wanted to use an external mic for this.

There’s the USB slider button on the side, which reveals the USB plug which goes straight into the side of your laptop, which is incredibly convenient, meaning you don’t have to carry around another cable. And the stop, record, and pause buttons are large enough that they feel good for your thumb to rest in if you’re doing play/pause dictation.

There’s an easy-to-use control wheel, and a play button in the center of that, and one of the really cool features about the Sony is that it has a -3 and a +10 button, and a jump button on the front of the unit. So, if you are doing playback on the device, it’s quite superb to be able to skip back a few seconds if you miss something on jump forward 10 seconds if you’re trying to find a particular spot.

Sony ICD UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder side buttons
Side buttons of the Sony ICD UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder

You can also add time marks to recordings with a T mark button which would also allow you to jump to certain sections in the recording making it much easier to use, manipulate, and adjust files after you record.

Software.

Well, Sony really proves themselves in this area and demonstrates that they have been in this game for a long time, and really do understand how to build software that’s easy to use for voice dictation.

Once you’ve recorded and even pre-recording, it’s so easy to jump around the file with the physical buttons that skip, jump, plus, and minus, that it saves time rather than having to jump around menu items in the device.

There are some amazing features like the ability when you’re recording to adjust the microphone sensitivity, so in the case of my car, if it was that noisy or you’re in a very noisy environment such as a trade show hall, lecture hall, cafe, or restaurant, you may want to reduce the sensitivity to only pick up the person that you’re recording with, whether that’s you, an interviewee, lecturer or similar.

The red light at the top of the screen really does help to tell you whether it’s on or off, and the EVISTR has similar but the light is not as obvious as on the Sony.

The EVISTR software is sufficient, and simple, and does the trick but isn’t as feature-rich as the Sony.

Working with Sony ICD UX570
Working with Sony ICD UX570

You can certainly navigate around old files, you can change the recording settings in terms of the file quality, you can jump in and out of folders, and it all works, just doesn’t have quite the well-developed extensive features of the Sony.

Long-term use.

I’ve had the EVISTR for a long time as I say, and the Sony for a lot less, somewhere closer to just over a month.

So far, the longevity of both units seems great.

The one thing I will note on the EVISTR is that there does seem to be a small amount of dust settling on the inside of the screen which isn’t a problem, it doesn’t obfuscate anything and I expect doesn’t have any long-term harm, it just means that when you’re putting it in your bag you might want to put it into your pocket rather than into the main bag where it might settle at the bottom and pick up quite a lot of dust.

Sound quality.

Well, as I’ve mentioned the EVISTR sound quality is fine.

The microphones are quite sensitive and it does work very well, it seems, except just not in my car. I think the subtle wind noises traveling over the car and through my roof racks probably means that it picks up the sub-audible flutters that happen around the car.

The Sony picks these up but they diminish to a point where it doesn’t really matter.

Sony ICD UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder on top of a keyboard
Sony ICD UX570 and EVISTR digital voice recorder on top of a keyboard

Sound recording demo

Sony UX570 voice record sound demo – dictating in car

Sony UX570 voice record sound demo – dictating in normal environment

EVISTR voice record sound demo – dictating in car

EVISTR voice record sound demo – dictation in quiet environment

There’s something warm and full about Sony. It’s not as harsh and as sharp as the EVISTR, and when you’re playing back files from the EVISTR there are times when I’m concerned that it might be picking a little bit which is creating some slight distortion at the very top end.

For voice dictation, this really doesn’t matter. It’s not overwhelmingly difficult or disturbing and you can still very clearly hear what you need to hear to either have this transcribed or go back over notes of ideas, thoughts, or songs that you had.

The Sony has that mature full rich warm sound that cuts out a lot of the external superfluous noises that you might hear, and the mic sensitivity is such that it seems to adjust in part, slightly automatically to what is needed for the unit.

Summary

As I’ve said both units are good but the Sony is obviously better.

Yes, it’s more expensive but if you’re serious about your dictation and you want to own this device for many…then I think you better you’re better off buying once and buying right.

If you have the EVISTR or have bought the EVISTR as I have, there’s nothing wrong with it for everyday dictation in quiet environments and I’m sure that, too, will last for many years.

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For casual people dictating or those on a budget, great choice. For those that might have a little bit more money and intend to do a lot of dictation, then as I say, I will wholeheartedly recommend the Sony unit whether that’s for dictation, music recording, or anything similar.

If you have specific questions about these units please do let me know,

I’ve included some audio recordings in this post so that you can hear the difference between the two, and I’m happy to answer any questions

This post was last updated on 2022-06-10 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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