Today I finally heard what is being planned for the WS series digital voice recorders in Australia. If you have been reading my posts over the last few months you would have seen many changes in the Olympus Australia recorder line up. We have seen the DS range or digital dictaphones fully replaced and just recently the same was on the cards for the WS series.
Already the WS-311M and WS-321M recorders are discontinued and I hear that the WS-210S and WS-331 are close to being retired also in the coming week or so. These massively popular recorders are going to need something pretty special to take their place and here they are:
A complete new range of WS series recorders soon to hit Australia, the WS-450S, the WS-550M and the WS-560M. Yep they look similar, they are a similar size and carry the same features as the old recorders like multiple folders, multiple recording modes and amazing audio pickup. The main differences I can see from my first look are:
- More available memory.
- Retractable or slide out USB connector.
- Battery recharged while USB connected (WS-550M & WS-560M only).
More available memory
Only to be expected as the price of solid state memory falls and becomes more affordable that Olympus cram more into their WS series recorders. By having more memory available the recorders can start to again compete to be multi function devices, not content with being some of the best digital note takers around they can also act as your memory stick for storing your digital media and also, in the case of the WS-550M and WS-560M, will function as your music player.
Maximum recording times for the new WS series recorders:
Olympus WS-450S – 1Gb of built in flash memory
- [ST XQ] mode: 17 h. 20 min – stereo
- [ST HQ] mode: 34 h. 45 min – stereo
- [ST SP] mode: 69 h. 35 min – stereo
- [HQ] mode: 69 h. 35 min – mono
- [SP] mode: 137 h. 00 min – mono
- [LP] mode: 272 h. 25 min – mono
Olympus WS-550M – 2Gb of built in flash memory
- [ST XQ] mode: 34 h. 30 min – stereo
- [ST HQ] mode: 69 h. 40 min – stereo
- [ST SP] mode: 139 h. 25 min – stereo
- [HQ] mode: 139 h. 25 min – mono
- [SP] mode: 247 h. 10 min – mono
- [LP] mode: 544 h. 55 min – mono
Olympus WS-560M – 4Gb of built in flash memory
- [ST XQ] mode: 69 h. 30 min – stereo
- [ST HQ] mode: 139 h. 35 min – stereo
- [ST SP] mode: 278 h. 10 min – stereo
- [HQ] mode: 278 h. 10 min – mono
- [SP] mode: 547 h. 25 min – mono
- [LP] mode: 1,088 h. 05 min – mono
Retractable or slide out USB connector
This is something new and from me something very welcome. The old WS series design, although ingenious, did not lend itself to blokes like me. The units themselves used to pull apart seperating into two pieces, one held the battery the other the USB connector and display unit. The release button which had to be held down while pulling the unit apart was small and for large handed people like me a bit tricky. This new design looks fantastic, its simple and doesn’t require you to have small fingers to operate it successfully. A slide switch on the side of the new WS series models extends out a high speed USB 2.0 connector from the bottom of the unit.
Battery recharge while USB connected
Oh Olympus you were so close to perfection with this one. The WS-550M and WS-560M recorders come with a single rechargeable AAA battery (BR401 is the code if you ever need to order one) which can be recharged by the unit itself when USB plugged to a computer, very handy. What I would have loved to have seen would be the units actually powered by USB, never mind, USB recharge of batteries is a step in the right direction. From a single battery you still get an impressive 15 to 20 hours of recording time (depending on the recording mode selected).
No news as yet on the price of these new Olympus models or their release date. I would expect them to all be available in Australia before the end of August and I would estimate that they will come in at similar pricing to the outgoing WS-210S, WS-311M and WS-321M models.
For more information on these and other Olympus voice recorders in Australia contact us via: twitter.com/dictates – firstname.lastname@example.org or on the phone at 1300 787 092