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on June 7, 2011
PROS-
-outstanding voice quality

- Small and light

-unobtrusive

- easy to download recordings to your computer

- Long record time with 2 GB of memory - 22 hours at highest quality. Does anyone need more?

- Memory cards give virtually unlimited record time. I popped in a thumbnail sized 8 GB Sandisk micro sd (about $10) for a total of 10 GB of memory. That gives a total of more then 110 hours of record time at the highest quality level (at lower fidelity levels, record time is higher, as much as 2700 hours with 10gb of memory). Not enough? You can put in a 32GB card, which will give nearly 400 hours of top quality record time. At lower fidelity settings, 32 gigs will give up to around 9000 hours. Amazing, 32 gig in a thumbnail sized memory card.

- recordings are easily transferred to your hard drive

- Simple to operate
The basic buttons are Record/pause, Play, Stop, Fast forward, and Rewind.

-Mike is quite sensitive, but well controlled- able to record well in a conference with many people at different distances.

- Lanyard hole in case - Helpful - Get one or put a string through the hole.

- works with Dragon voice to text software

CONS
- Case is made of smooth slippery plastic. Nowadays you can buy a $1 pen with a grippy rubbery outside. A grippy rubber surface on the sides and back would make this easier to hold!

- a lanyard should be included

- Instruction manual is ridiculously long - this is not a complicated device to operate. The manual is too verbose.

- Cannot modify existing "scene" modes or create my own. A "scene" mode is a collection of record settings geared toward a particular task. For example, lectures, meetings, dictation

- software that comes with it is lousy, and for most people unneeded. You can use your regular file management tools on your computer to name different folders for recordings (very handy), move them around, delete, play, etc.

- The date format is bizarre.
The screen shows, "11y 6m 7d" to show the date we know as 6/7/2011. An annoyance, file dates are, however, properly displayed in your computer

- mike sensitivity setting is buried in too many menus, and there is no scene setting with the mike at maximum sensitivity.

SUMMARY
Recommended. I like it. It works well and can be very very useful. Sony should fix the little things I mentioned. I considered giving it four instead of five stars because of these little niggles. But it is so outstanding in other ways that I gave it five anyway.
6060 comments1,023 of 1,042 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 24, 2011
We have used this little jewel to tape lectures from the back of an auditorium, meetings, as well as online webinars - the SCENE settings allow you to change from interview to notes to lecture to meetings, just with a push of the button. Using an mini-SD chip gives you all-day recording space. Easy on the AAA batteries, too! Way to go, Sony!
55 comments268 of 280 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 24, 2011
I just retired my Sony ICD-B600 Digital Voice Recorders (I had several) and replaced them all with this Sony ICD-PX312 unit. When I saw the Amaz. delivery promise for this PX312 had shifted to "1 to 3 months," well I figured the PX312 for out-of-production ... and so this was as low as prices were going to get. So I snagged several off the pegs at WorstBuy.

The primary reason I upgraded is that the PX312 makes it very easy to save audio files on my hard drive. It has a female A-Mini-USB plug on the side and so I can use my Zip-Linq Retractable USB to A-Mini-USB Cable to connect it to the computer. The PX312 then appears on my computer as a plug-n-play flash drive, no software drivers required. Then I can just copy any audio files off of it and on to my computer. The PX312 stores its audio files in MP3 format, so there are no file conversions involved. In fact, there's no software or drivers needed at all for this gizmo. Sweet!

The Sony website offers a download titled "Sony Sound Organizer for IC Recorder v 1.1" to help you do things like create/move/delete folders on the device. I wouldn't bother. My experience with Sony software and drivers is that it's usually buggy-as-cr@p, so why complicate my computer's environment for such trivial stuff. Any recordings made are found in the Voice/Folder1 folder, and that's all I need to know or do to snag them or erase them.

[The B600 had no computer software, no USB, etc. to support sound transfer. The only option for transferring its recordings was to use the speaker/audio out jack. I ended up using Windows Sound Recorder and the microphone in jack on the back of the PC, and even then there was some odd tweaking required to make that solution work. At the time, I would have had to cough up another forty smackers or so to get the model that provided file transfer support ... and it required software drivers to do it.]

The PX312 also has gobs of memory and will even accept an M2 MicroSD card for expansion. When some reasonably sized M2 cards get cheap as dirt, well I'll snag 'em ... but I probably won't even need them.

The weird "hold" button thing that was going on with the B600 is solved. On this PX312 there is a ON/OFF/HOLD slider switch. Pull down to turn on, pull down again to turn off. (You do have to hold it there for a few seconds sometimes.) Pull the slider switch UP for the hold function. That function locks all the buttons while the device is powered up (so you won't accidentally punch one). On the B600 the "HOLD" slider was actually nothing more than an ON/OFF slider. But anyone could have gone crazy trying to find the ON/OFF slider. Since it was cryptically labeled "HOLD."

Also gone with the PX312 is the weird "erase" function that was on the B600. With the B600, if you followed the instructions for erasing a recording, it resulted in the entire recording being played 10 times before it was erased. Why anyone would have a need for THAT to occur is beyond me. But simply pressing the "Erase" button twice in succession while playing the recording would erase the recording instantly. That approach was undocumented in the instructions. With the PX312 it's much smoother. Push the 'erase' button and the recording to be erased starts to play. The screen asks you to confirm the erase. Select "Yes" and it's gone.

Also solved: The PX312, unlike the B600, has an auto-power-off option and the timer can be adjusted by the user.

The PX312 does bring forward some unresolved shortcomings from the B600. The PX312, as was the B600, is way "over-engineered." The basic operation/buttons and the display screens are not as simple as they could be. It took a bit of reading/plowing through the manual (and reading reviews here on Amazon) to get oriented. And there is other functional overkill. I don't need five storage folders (or a way to transfer files between them), an alarm clock (and a way to select a message for the alarm), the ability to go back and splice previous messages, the ability to append recordings to existing recordings and other such what not. All those functions and buttons just complicate the device/screens/menus needlessly, imho. I just wanted a gizmo that would make audio recordings at the push of a button, that would let me move them to my computer for storage and that made them in a format that didn't require any conversion efforts. And I suspect that is just about all most users want out of these devices. I guess Sony thinks it has to load up a bunch of this useless functionality to justify the asking price.

The price of the Sony devices with this level of capability had been steadily dropping, of course, and so these PX312s cost me no more than what I paid for the ICD-B600s a few years ago. Now the ICD-B600s will be sold on eBay ... and so I've upgraded for practically nothing. Double Sweet!!
4040 comments421 of 444 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 29, 2011
I use this recorder for recording class lectures lectures. Works very well even with a low talker(although I would advise sitting up front)since the volume goes up fairly high. As far as my use goes I simply record the lecture and then plug in a pair of headphones to listen on the way home on the train or sometime play it without headphones in the car, and for that it does the job wonderfully. I can't say anything pertaining to computer use. Comes with software, warranty, manual, batteries and usb cord.

Only major thing I wish is that the battery was rechargeable, however I must say it does well on battery life it would just be nicer to just be able to recharge instead of buying new batteries. Also if there was a back light button for the screen just to be able to see in the dark, not a major deal though.

I would recommend this for any college student.
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on May 17, 2011
I have never used a digital recorder as such. I've had PDA's and Phones that will do that job but do not do a very good job of it. So I have no frame of reference. I am very pleased. As is typical of me I keep wanting to do things with out reading the instructions. So there is a little of ADD getting in the way. The sound quality even on the low mike setting is remarkable to me. It's very small. I expected it to be much bigger. I love that you have the option to use an external microphone and head set. I've ordered some for it, one omnidirectional and one unidirectional. I'm not sure of my choices. I'm an old ham operator so I only knew about Sure microphones and they were very expensive. I also love that it is digital. One problem I had with the old tape version is that after a while the motors started making noise that was picked up by the recorder.
The only flaws I have found is that there is no option for external power and no LED back-light. In strong light or very dark areas it is hard to read. My normal solution would be to make a shade but you have to have a back-light to do that. I may look into attaching one of those cheap key-chain lights and make a flip up shield. I researched the reviews on this same product but with different sellers and it fared well. For the money this looks like my solution for now. I'll update it later if my opinion changes. I do recommend directional and omni external mics. Another thing I may look into is making some sort of shock/wind cover so that if you have it outside or in your pocked you do not ended up recording that stuff.
Hope this helped.
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on March 29, 2012
I bought this recorder in December 2011, but only used it a few times. I had recorded less than five hours. In March 2012, in the middle of a recording, I noticed that the screen had gone blank. Thinking maybe the batteries had died I replaced them, but no good. It's pretty much a brick. It doesn't work even when plugged in to my computer or to mains electricity via the mini USB port.

The Sony warranty does cover replacement for up to a year, but there are two hitches.
1) it costs $29 + tax to participate.
2) the replacement is likely to be a refurbished model.

There's also the matter of my data. I recorded it on the internal memory, and now it's inaccessible. All but one of my recordings had been transferred to my computer, so that's good at least. The remaining one, which I was recording when the device kicked the bucket, is still there and I have absolutely no way of retrieving it. Sony customer service referred me to a data recovery service; they told me that since it's on the internal memory I am SOL. I'm sure there probably is a way of doing it, but that it would cost far more than what this thing is worth.

Anyway, the thing quit on me and I've lost my data in the process.

If you choose to go with this one anyway (I bought it because it had the best reviews for the price point), get yourself a micro SD card and record exclusively on that. Then when it dies at least you'll still be able to get at your data.
1616 comments236 of 258 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 21, 2013
I purchased this recorder January 2013. Great product, but...

The "but" is that in just 2 months of use, many of the markings on the device have worn off or are wearing off, such as the markings on the "enter" button. Figuring this was just an anomaly I called Sony service and was passed along to Customer Relations. The only solution they could offer was that I return the device to them, they would evaluate the problem, and perhaps send a new device. When I explained that I use the recorder very frequently and returning would be a problem, they would not budge. I suggested that they send me a new one in advance, and then I return the recorder I have, but the customer relations person really gave the impression of not caring, even when I suggested that Sony did not have a very user-friendly policy. I then asked to speak to the customer relations person supervisor, and he insisted he was the end of the line in complaints. I asked for a US number for Sony corporation, and the answer was that he had no such information.

It is really too bad. Sony makes fine products, but if this is an example of how Sony deals with its customers, and how little Sony cares about keeping customers coming back to their products, then I suspect I'll never buy another Sony product again.

UPDATE: A day later I found the names and emails for some senior people at Sony and picked one and sent an email asking that my concerns be addressed to someone who has some authority. To my surprise, I received a voice mail a few days later from a person in the presidents customer relations office. I called back and the treatment I received was totally different. This person, in Florida, could not have been nicer and he not only immediately agreed to replace the recorder, he offered me an upgrade since they did not have this recorder in stock. I had to call back a few days later (due to a tiny mix-up) and the person I spoke with then was equally pleasant and helpful. So, the question is why is it not possible to get THIS customer relations group when first trying to get help from Sony, and why, when the people at the number given on the web are adamant about their customer-unfriendly policies the group in Florida are so totally willing to bend over backwards to help a customer?

Out of curiosity to see if the number I called was on the web, I discovered that Sony does not, apparently, give it out. However any number of people have posted after having the same issues I've raised - terrible overseas customer service and excellent service from the US after finding the "secret" number. So, the number to call for problems with Sony products, and to get a really caring response, is (239) 245-6475.
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on July 22, 2011
I wanted an easy-to-use digital recorder to record my song-writing on guitar, with reasonable sound quality and the ability to save files to a PC, without paying a lot. The Sony ICD-PX312 fills the bill nicely. Using a separate PC microphone plugged into the recorder, I get good recorded sound from the guitar, and upload to a PC is a snap. The built-in mic works, but is harder to position close so I went with a separate mic. The small speaker in the unit cannot produce any bass (as expected), but upon playing the MP3 files on larger PC or stereo system speakers, the full spectrum of sound is there, and the bass comes through. This recorder has many sound file editing features I might never use (mark, split, merge), but nice to know they are there if ever needed. I have not used the recorder for voice yet, but since it handles guitar so well I'm sure it handles voice at least as well. All-in-all, a very good digital recorder for a very good price.
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on September 3, 2011
I am very impressed with this little recorder. I had read the manual online at Sony's website before buying it and was disappointed that it says its best quality is 192 kbps Mono even though the microphone input is stereo. I decided to buy it anyway. I am mainly going to use it for mono recordings with a lavalier microphone and decided I probably wouldn't use it for stereo line-in recordings much anyway even if it was stereo. But it DOES record in stereo. I have a 1/8 in. stereo microphone and it records in stereo that way ... and it records in stereo using the line-in feature. Just a few minutes ago, I decided to experiment a little. I have a Voice Live 2 harmonizer that I use in churches. I connected an MP3 player to the Voice Live 2 and played one of my recordings that I use as a track in churches. I connected an XLR microphone to the Voice Live 2 for singing and playing the trumpet with the MP3 song ... and then connected the output of the Voice Live 2 directly to this little Sony ICD-PX312. The results of the sound quality were impressive. The actual MP3 file I used to sing and play the trumpet with came out sounding virtually the same as the original. You can listen here: [...]. I wasn't trying to make a professional recording, just experiment with the sound quality of this Sony recorder. It was done in one take, no editing. After the recording, I just connected the Sony recorder to my computer with the supplied USB cable, copied the MP3 file over to my computer's hard drive, changed the attributes of the file itself, like the name, album, etc. and uploaded it to my website so you could listen to the quality. For under $40, it's an outstanding value. I'll also mention, the recordings I've made using the lavalier microphone create a good sounding MP3, and even the built-in microphone does a really good job. The ability to divide a file to edit out unwanted parts, or to make several smaller MP3s out of one large one ... to do this right on the Sony unit itself ... is quite convenient.

Tony McCanless
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on August 19, 2011
The recorder is light, easy to carry, and gives lots of recording options & features. Fits easily into my purse so I can take it with me for work. The options for the different recording situations are great. Its one drawback is that it is not exactly intuitive, to learn all the different features you have to read the manual. It has good quality clarity and sound. I can transfer the sound files to my computer for editing and/or copying to cd. I had not had a digital recorder before but this one has been great. Highly recommend this recorder.
0Comment32 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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