I'm excited about the new RCA voice recorder delivered to me today. It's the RCA RP5130-A digital voice recorder. It has a 512 MB capacity. It's small, has a thick feature set uncommon amoung recorders for its cost, and it's easy to use. 

It's actually smaller than I thought it would be. The product pictures on Amazon didn't give a good idea of this recorder's size. Its about the size of a cell phone and holds comfortabley in the hand.

The recorder itself has 5 buttons on the front and 5 buttons on the side, a mic jack, an earphone jack, and a USB port.

I also like that it has a red light that indicates when it's recording.

I bought mine because I author articles on occasion and I hope to make my article writing more frequent and easier. My intent is to get away from my computer while writing. A lot of times my mind just goes blank in front of a computer screen, with my hands on the keyboard. Now, if I have a topic I'd like to write about, I can just walk around my house and dictate to my recorder.

The RP5130-A has a voice activated recording feature that is common on many similar devices.

I shopped around before deciding on the rp5130. My mind was almost set on the Olympus line of recorders. Olympus offers some lower price models with USB connectivity. What I found that moved me away from Olympus is that the feature set of the low cost RCA devices doesn't seem to be available with the lower end Olympus models.

There's one really cool & useful feature that stands out on this recorder. The rp5130 is a low cost recorder that has file editing features that are usually found in more expensive models. I haven't found many (if any) Olympus or Sony models that have such file editing features.

The RP5130's file editing features allow you to cut out certain parts of a recording directly on the device (you don't have to download your recordings to your computer for this function). For instance, lets say you have recorded something and you want to cut out 20 seconds of the recording from some part of it. All you would have to do is play back the recording, press the erase button at the point that you'd like to remove, press erase again at the end of the recorded segment you'd like to cut out, and then - just click a button to confirm the removal. Your chosen segment will then be removed without affecting the rest of the recording.

Another editing feature of the RP5130 that I think is even cooler than the ability to cut segments of audio is the ability to insert audio into a prerecorded sound file on the device.

For instance, if you have recorded some dictation while driving home from work and then later, while at home, you wish that you would have said some additinal information at 10 minutes into the dictation, then you can play back that recording and at the point that you would like to add more dictation, just press record again. The audo will be added into the file at the point you have chosen.

There's over 100 minutes (140 to be exact) of recording capacity on this device when the lowest sound quality setting is used.

The RP5130 also allows you to place bookmarks in any recorded file which will act as points that can be fast forwarded to with an easy click. I do wish that the device would allow more than 10 bookmarks for a file - but I can get over that for what I paid.

No software is included with the rp5130  nor is any software needed. The rp5130 records in mp3 format - files that are ready to play on any computer without the need to convert them to a compatible sound file format.

The rp5130 also allows you to speed up or slow down the playback of your recordings. And one thing good about it's playback speed adjustments is that it doesn't change the pitch of your recorded voice. Your voice will sound faster, or slower, yet it will still sound otherwise normal.

One thing that I noticed about the auto voice detection feature of this device (and other similar devices) is that you have to be careful when speaking into the recorder from a paused state. There is a tendencey for it to cut off the first one or two sylables of what you say. The manual recommends that before speaking into the recorder from it's paused voice activated state, you should first make some kind of sound. That way, it is the initial "trigger" sound that is not picked up, rather than the content of your speech.

I found that three taps on the microphone before speaking was suitiable for avoiding cut off speech.

All in all, I think this device is going to work out well for me. In fact, I wrote this review by dictating to my rp5130 while walking around in my kitchen.