Philips Digital Voice Tracer LFH0667 review

Jim Martin
2 Aug 2010
Philips Digital Voice Tracer LFH0667
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

At this price, we'd expect a more accurate transcription


Philips' new Voice Tracer allows you to dictate notes or documents wherever you are, and then convert them into editable text when you're back at your computer, using the bundled Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 software.

The Dictaphone is the size of a mobile phone, and surprisingly lightweight. The old-style LCD display takes a bit of getting used to, and we'd have preferred a colour screen at this price. Still, once you know how to make recordings and play them back, it's easy to use. A handy feature is voice-activated recording, allowing the device to be used hands-free. It has a built-in mic and speaker, plus headphones and an external lapel mic (both with standard minijack connectors) are also included. However, there's no case to keep everything together.

Recordings are stored on the 2GB of internal memory, and can be saved in MP3 or WAV formats. You can set the sample rate and bit rate, and at the lowest-quality settings, you can fit 283 hours of audio on the Voice Tracer. At the highest quality, this is still 23 hours, and even in uncompressed PCM mode, you’ll be able to chatter away for 6.4 hours.

Philips Digital Voice Tracer LFH0667

If you like, you can copy MP3 or WMA files into the Music folder and use the Voice Tracer as a music player, although the mono screen means it isn't easy to navigate through lots of songs.

We recorded several files of dictation and general speech and loaded them into NaturallySpeaking to see how it would cope. The software asks you to choose a language and accent when you first run it, although for UK English the only accents are General, Australian, Indian and South East Asian. You then have to read several chapters from one of the sample books to help the software adapt to your voice. Depending on the breadth of vocabulary you use, the transcription ranges from poor to fairly good. In addition, it never coped well with technical terms, and you'll have to add punctuation yourself.

At this price, that's not good enough, and we were disappointed at how much work was still needed to get the document into a satisfactory state. If you don't need the software, though, you can buy the Dictaphone alone (the LFH0622) for just £61. Plus, the next version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is about to launch, and from our initial tests, it's in a different league to version 10. Yet another reason to hold off buying a product like this.



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