Voice Recorder, Media reader

Introduction

One feature that iPod owners have been clamouring for is voice recording – and Belkin’s Voice Recorder finally delivers it, letting you record sound and download it to a Mac. The recorder itself is small, has a little speaker, and sports a green LED on top to show that you’re recording. The recorder plugs into the headphone and remote sockets at the top, which leaves it vulnerable to twisting damage. When it’s connected, the iPod switches on and goes straight to the memo screen, where you can record immediately. One useful feature is the ability to pause and resume recordings. When finished, these can be paused and saved, although you can’t review a memo before saving it. Access to the memos is through the Extras menu, and all memos are accessible after the recorder has been removed. This means you can listen to recordings through headphones, which is great because the built-in speaker is too quiet. Through headphones, you can hear words clearly, although background noise can swamp recordings that aren’t taken right in front of the mic. One extra feature is the ability to use the built-in speaker as an alarm clock. All this does is play the alarm through the speaker, which isn’t loud enough. One other feature we would have liked is a headphone pass-through, so it could be left plugged in, and music played through the headphones. Another accessory from Belkin is the Media Reader, which again works with all Dock iPods. It supports CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Secure Digital Memory Stick and MultiMediaCard. It’s quite a large device (8-x-10cm), and requires four AAA batteries to power it. A sliding cover protects the slots, but this can’t be closed when the reader is in use, leaving the empty sockets vulnerable. The device connects to the iPod using the dock, and opens the import window. It doesn’t recognize cards that are already inserted when it’s plugged in. Importing the pictures onto the iPod is as easy as selecting Import – and it’s a reasonably quick process. One useful feature is the ability to delete the files from the card, which is only available immediately after importing the files. Downloading the files from the iPod is easy, as it’s recognized in iPhoto; the pictures can be imported from there.
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