Once upon a time the iPod mainly played music, now with a host of accessories available to it you can turn it into almost anything. One of the main criticisms however was that there was no voice recording option on the player. Surely by adding a voice recorder option and that much space you could sign up all those business users in a flash. In steps Belkin with its add-on voice recorder module that plugs onto the top of your standard iPod and gives you the power to talk forever it seems.
On the plus side the addition of a voice recorder option for us is a great idea as it not only saves the hassle of dealing with clunky old cassette tapes and MiniDiscs but also means that you only have to carry one device to the meeting making it possible to turn your iPod into a device for business and pleasure. Combine that with the size, it surprisingly doesn't add that much height to your iPod and you've also got a unit that still fits in your pocket.
On tests the add-on overall performed well coping with quiet situations easily, however sudden loud noises or noises recorded near the mic seemed to give the recorder difficulties and there is no way to set the levels according to the situation.
When it comes to recalling the voice files, the Belkin unit taps into the iPod's operating system and offers the files in WAV format, displaying them just as it would MP3 tracks. This not only makes for easy search and find, but also means that deleting or recording over is very hard. When downloading back on to the PC or Mac you again simply access it in the same way you would any other music file. Being digital, the recording can be dropped into a voice recognition software application or better still, sent to a dedication service with minimum of fuss.
Overall, we were pleased with the performance of the recorder, perhaps not enough to use it for interviewing in a bar or restaurant with the hum of surrounding chatter (there goes the long interview lunch) but enough to be content in a boardroom.
One final concern we did have was the effect it had on the battery life, and our suggestion would be to make sure you have plenty of charge before you go into a long meeting. In our tests the battery life did seem to suffer and may leave you high and dry in the middle of the meeting without the ability to swap the batteries out like you could in those good old tape cassette Dictaphones.