First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Note takers have come a long way in the last couple of years thanks to digital technology; resulting in both extra storage space and higher quality audio recordings. Sony's ICD-B200 recorder is capable of up to 16 hours of recording thanks to three recording modes, four folders to store your messages and a unique automatic recording function. These features sound all well and good, but does it stack up?
- Small and compact, Convenient Folder storage, Ability to divide as well as add to recordings
- Can’t connect to a PC, Can’t rename files, Quite expensive
It’s a little pricey, but the B200 should certainly do the job, as long as you don’t want to share your recordings, nor rename them.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
The B200 comes with 32MB of flash storage, which provides 16 hours and 10 minutes of recording time in long-play (LP) mode. 32MB doesn't sound like much space at all, especially in this day and age where a razor thin iPod nano houses 4GB of flash based memory. However, we feel that consumers who are looking to purchase the B200 won't be needing much more recording time; for those who are, you'd be better off looking for a more complete and expensive model in the notetaker range.
The B200 pack includes, well, the B200 and an instruction manual. You'll have to purchase the batteries yourself; 2 AAA alkalines which are stored in the rear of the unit via a hinged plastic flap. Also at the rear of the B200 is a switch which controls the unit's microphone sensitivity. Either Low or High is available - during most of our testing we found that the high setting was needed, especially if you are recording sounds not directly in front of the microphone.
The rest of the controls are spread across the front of the B200 and the left hand side. There are plenty of buttons but don't let this put you off; using the recorder is a fairly simple task provided you have a quick read of the users guide before your first use. After a couple of minutes we had no problems with the interface, despite the B200 being fairly compact and possessing a small monochrome display screen. We have to give credit to Sony for the ease of use factor with the B200.
Recordings we made were of a pretty good quality, especially with the microphone sensitivity on its highest setting. If the included microphone isn't loud enough for your work, the B200 includes a microphone jack which means any standard microphone can be plugged into the unit and be used for recording. In addition to this, a headphone jack is included; ideal for listening back to recordings without disturbing others in the office. Recordings can be sorted into four folders (labeled A, B, C and D). Each folder can contain up to 396 files, depending on length and quality settings of course. Conveniently, the B200 allows you to divide messages and even add to a preciously recorded message. This is ideal when you may need to edit a message you've already recorded with new information.
Recorded messages are sorted by numbers; example, Folder A, Message 7/27. Unfortunately you can't name your recordings with letters, nor can you hook up the B200 to your PC and save your recorded files via a USB cable; a feature we've seen in other models from rival manufacturers including Olympus.
An interesting feature that Sony has included on the B200 is what is called Voice Operated Recording (VOR). When this function is switched on, recording stars when the unit detects sound and stops when no sound is heard. How this feature works depends on the microphone sensitivity and when we turned it to the low setting, it worked quite well. On the higher setting however, it responded to the slightest of sounds, such as typing on our keyboard despite the unit being more than a couple of metres away.
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GGG Evaluation Team
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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