Stylish Writing Pen Voice Recorder
First impressions look promising with the beautiful black boxed packaging the Covert Pen Voice Recorder comes in. Sometimes one wonders though if the packaging is better than the product itself, but you will soon come to grips with the fact (as I did) that this isn’t just your average recording device neatly packaged. Again, I am quickly upto speed with the entire working operation made easy with the simple instructions.
I am sitting here with 2 other ‘Covert’ Pen Voice Recorders supplied to me – 1 being identical in terms of looks however on close inspection it is obvious why this upgraded version is the prefered choice. Quite frankly, I am shelving the others to concentrate on this fine looking upgrade which LOOKS like a normal Barrel Pen and has a nice weighed feel of quality rather than the cheaper bulky plasticy types. The front gold section of the pen must be turned clockwise/anti-clockwise to rotate the writing nib into view and yes, it does actually write! By twisting the front gold section away, cleverly displays a shortened ink cartridge and also supplied in the packaging is a 2 further shortend ink cartridges for convenience. The only visible modification being a very discreet button with a tiny hole located towards the top half of pen and to be honest even the picture cannot pick it up. The hole is for you to see the pens current status ie: red light = recording mode, blue light = charging mode, green light = MP3 mode. When using the voice recording function, the light automatically turns off after 5 seconds which is good. Compared to the other 2 pen recorders this version far outstrips in terms of discreet looks.
This Covert Pen Voice Recorder was tested out for useabilty whilst in the presence of another person unrelated to our office and from standby to record took approx 7 seconds. I felt very comfortable using this device and deliberately displayed the button several times of which the person did not give a second glance. From a laymans point of view this could easily be passed off as the pen nib’s controller and I am comfortable in saying this Covert Pen Voice Recorder can be used in complete confidence whilst either on full display or popped in the top pocket. The inconspicuous control to start/stop recordings do not emit any sounds and only gave a brief flashing indication to let you know it’s status before commencing recording. Saving recordings was a simple click of the button followed by a flashing indication for 5 seconds to let you know the recording has been saved to it’s internal flash memory.
Now I want to playback the audio files so here’s the clever part. The pen unscrews in the middle (the bottom half is the shortened ink cartridge) and the top half is the integrated flash chipset which allows you to connect the device to your computer using the supplied data cable. It is absolutely visually impossible to know this secret compartment exists or in fact to detect this pen is actually what it is. Simply click the pen on standby and connect into the USB slot of your computer and it will be immediately recognised (Windows XP) as a mass storage device. The options to playback the audio files are now available. To back up the claim this device works on Windows Vista PC’s is also true however you do need to go to START MENU/MY COMPUTER, and then double click the REMOVEABLE MASS STORAGE DEVICE to get the same effect.
Once a voice recording had been made, an automatic folder named ‘Voice’ is visible and inside this folder are your saved audio files. There is really no need to rename this folder as the pens constructive design easily passes off inspection that it could actually be a storage device which is quite handy for hiding those important documents.
This Covert Pen Voice Recorder is available in 2 versions being 1GB and 2GB, and both versions state a recording time of 8 hours before a recharge is needed although I found this to be 11 minutes short at 7hrs 49mins. This is no big deal however, I could see no other benefits of purchasing the 2GB version unless you are intending using the device as a mass storage for data as well but for an extra £20 it’s not a bad price to pay. Charging is as easy as plugging it into your computer where it automatically recharges the internal lithium battery. A blue light glows through the hole to indicate charging and this goes out once fully charged. On my evaluation I found leaving the Covert Pen Voice Recorder in my PC for just a tad over an hour suitably boosted its internal battery to 100%.
The beauty of this product is the combined ease of use but it’s clever design structure. This feels and looks more of a pen than it’s closest competitors and the mechanical operation of this device is just as described – ‘Plug and Play’. There are no drivers or software to install and only a single data cable to connect the device to your computer. Playing back the audio files is done either directly though your computers media player such as Windows Media, RealPlayer or QuickPlayer, or whatever audio software integration you may have installed on your computer OR you can use the supplied earphones which connect just the same as the data cable. Using these earphones is not just for it’s audio playback, you can store MP3 songs and listen back through the earphones too! I found the quality of songs extremely good clarity and no different to purchasing an MP3 player to do the same job.
The audio quality is fantastic! I was more than suitably impressed by the clear audio clarity and quality of the flash chip used in this device and yes it really did pick up conversations from approx 20 feet away. When tested outside the distance was considerably reduced, however it would be fair to say indoor/outdoor noise vibrations differ.
Summary: This Stylish Writing Pen Voice Recorder receives top marks for overall performance, ease of use, and superb audio pickup and playback quality (even at far distances) this is very very impressive.