A digital recording device that takes pictures? Absolutely. But the problem is, multifunctional units often don't perform any of their functions very well. Alex G takes a look at the Olympus W-10 to see if it truly does kill two birds with one stone.
There has been a tremendous growth in the number of digital recorders since flash media was introduced in the early 1980s. With their compact size and longer recording times (compared to tapes), their popularity has been growing year after year. As consumers became more computer savvy, the digital media market expanded so much that it finally started b-siding the ever-popular MC (microcassette) format for good. Looks like pretty soon we are going to see the MCs follow the old path of 8-tracks and their relatives.
I am sure most of you are familiar with the concept of a digital recorder. I mean, it sure beats dragging that big tape machine around with you. Since the average recorder size now is half of its predecessor's, a window of opportunity opens for all the new uses. You can use it to record classes, your own thoughts and sure enough all of those "I told you so”s without having to carry tapes in your pocketbook. Today we are going to take a look at a product from OLYMPUS, a recorder that incorporates a digital still camera in the same device. OLYMPUS W-10 has been out for a little while and we decided to have an up close and personal look at it, just to see if killing two birds with one stone ever works.
Bird # 1
What we want and expect from a good digital voice recorder.
First off, the recorder has to have good quality of recording, good quality of playback and a decent range. Next, we'd like simplicity of use. I mean, there's a few more buttons than play/stop/pause on the recorder. Since we are dumping our analog devices, there's got to be a learning curve when it comes to operating the unit. Design/usability and battery life come next.
What we possibly want from an "okay" digital camera that is built inside.
Many of us have cell phones with cameras, so the concept of having it built into a particular device isn't new. So we should expect at least that level of quality from the W-10 camera - cell phone camera quality or better. Some new phones these days come with high resolution cameras of 1.3 MP and above, but we aren't going to set the bar that high. Let's just see how it compares to the good old 640x480 resolution that is common among picture phones these days.
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