Transcribing notes is a pain for everyone, whether you’re a journalist, a student, a doctor or a lawyer.
This Philips dictaphone promises to ease the burden of turning voice into data by bundling a copy of Dragon’s Naturally Speaking speech recognition software to automatically transcribe any recordings.
I’ve been familiar with Naturally Speaking since its earliest days when accuracy was limited; recent versions generally work very well once the user has ‘trained’ the software to recognise their individual speech patterns and vocal eccentricities.
So that part of the equation is pretty much covered (unless you speak with something like a thick Afrikaans or Welsh accent) but the limits of the system lie with the recorder itself. It’s a perfectly effective device that does a good job once the manual has been read and understood, but the interface is a little too ‘last millennium office product’ for comfort. The small LCD display is plain and unimaginative, and while you can argue that this is a functional business product not a consumer gadget, it could be so much more intuitive and easy to use. Maybe Apple’s iPod has ruined me for old-school interfaces, but would it have been that hard to pop in a colour screen, fewer buttons and a simpler navigation system?
Am I asking too much from a business product that actually does exactly what it claims? Probably, but look at how simple and effective a Belkin TuneTalk recorder is when combined with an iPod; a monkey could use it without a manual. Come on Philips, poach an Apple employee or two and drag this type of product into the 21st century.
Philips Voicetracer 600 Dictaphone – Tech Specs
Connectivity: USB 2.0, 3.5mm mic, 3.5mm headphone
Formats: MP3, WMA
Battery: 2 x AAA (50 hours)
Dimensions: 108 x 40 × 18.4mm (H/W/D)
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