Digital dictating machines tend to be split up into 3 areas, digital notetakers, digital dictation with push button technology, digital dictation with slide (function) switch control.

Olympus, Philips, Grundig and Sanyo all offer their own digital notetakers. Basically these are for personal use. The main reason for this is that everytime you stop and start whilst recording, a new file is started. This means that if you downloaded these files and sent to them to a secretary, the secretary would find it very difficult to transcribe. Additionally some of the recorders will record in a file type that cannot be easily transcribed using the normal digital transcription kits. These tend to be priced between £30 and just over £200 depending on size of memory and accessories.

Dictating machines
When it comes to proper or true digital dictaphones, then there are a number of factors you want to be aware of. Some for example have buttons that need pushed, which is awkward if you are used to using the analogue tape based systems with the slider switch on the side.

Many have various folders you can use, so for example you could have folder A for work notes, folder B for dictation, folder C for reports etc. Most digital dictaphones will also allow you to edit the recordings before you transfer them. For instance, how often have you ended your dictation, and added something at the end that should have been in the second paragraph? Well now you can insert the extra bit exactly where you want it, without overwriting your work.

Another factor is the ease of use with the software. Will you be using your digital recorder on a one to one basis, ie one author to one secretary? If so then an entry level system costing under £200 per user will be fine.

If however, you will have several authors to one secretary, or many authors to a typing pool of secretaries, then the more professional systems would be better, these can be from around £300 per user.

Something else worth considering is the transfer of the data on the digital dictaphone. All digital dictating machines will have USB cables that you can attach in order to connect to the PC for transfer, however for a regular user this can become a chore. Therefore you might need to look at docking stations.

Docking stations have 2 advantages, firstly for the ease of transfer of the data and secondly many of the professional dictating machines can have their rechargeable batteries charged up whilst in the docking station. Be aware that not all machines will charge up on docking stations, fully check the specifications of the dictphone before you buy it if this is a feature you require.