Esky 8GB USB Digital Audio Voice Recorder

Esky 8GB USB Digital Audio Voice Recorder

From the product page on Amazon.com:
List Price:    $99.99
Price:    $24.99
Sale:    $17.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35.

Friction Factor = LOW FRICTION
Value = RECOMMENDED

The Esky 8GB USB Digital Audio/Voice Recorder review device I received is very handy.

Pros:

  1. Long recording time on a single charge
  2. Clearly recorded voice when near the source of the audio (i.e., speaker)
  3. Can also be used as a regular flash drive
  4. Can sync time to computer time via USB connection and running a program on the device, but it must be done each time it is charged (apparently)
  5. Strap or key chain ring

Cons:

  1. Low level audio when source is not close
  2. Stiff on/off slider switch
  3. Detached cap

Device Testing

I fully charged the device and then turned on recording and let it record until it ran out of power. I was impressed that it exceeded its specification of 15 hours, recording for 16 hours 42 min 9 sec before running out of charge.

Its specs say 140 hours of recording will fit on the drive. It stores the audio in WAV format.

For recording memos this device is excellent. Esky also suggests using it for things like classroom recordings, however, the recorded audio volume is much lower for distant audio sources. The microphone is fairly omni-directional, so it will also pick up interfering audio that is closer to the device. So it could be a challenge to transcribe or listen to the recording later.

I tested it by recording it near my mouth as I counted, slowly extending my hand as far as I could reach and then dipping it below the armrest of the recliner I was sitting in. I do not have an audio meter to provide decibel measurements so I observed relative recording levels in Camtasia Studio. The audio was very clear near my mouth to about 2 feet away. The recorded volume then dropped precipitously to less than 20% at full extension. In another test the TV was on at a strong hearing level, but the recorded audio was suppressed to the point that one would need to listen carefully in a quiet room to transcribe.

The on/off slider switch is very stiff. It is also right next to the key chain "ring," so it is a bit awkward to slide the switch. I had to use a fingernail at an oblique angle. Still, it's not all that big a deal.

It has an old-style detached cap to cover the USB plug. I will not buy USB drives that have this. But this device is more than that and is priced very competitively. So I'll live with it.

Documentation is simple, small print, and painfully obviously written by one for whom English is a second language. Fortunately, the documentation isn't needed very much.

Be careful not to delete the application that comes with it in the SetUDiskTime folder. SetUDiskTime(9X).exe in that folder is used to sync its clock to the computer's clock when plugged into the computer...an action that appears to be needed each time the device is charged.

Do delete unneeded audio files in its "Record" folder or move them to your computer.

Handy

La-Z-boy is skeptical about the problems I am having with my rocker/recliner, the springs in the base frequently popping and wood grinding as I gently rock. Now I can set this recorder right on the base and record the actual problem and let them hear it for themselves.

Being a very miniature recorder also lends it to surreptitious recordings, however audio sources more than a few feet away are at a greatly reduced volume level.

Summary

For taking memos: great. For recording a classroom lecture: may be a challenge.