There are plenty of voice-recording apps in the Android Market, and they range in price and quality from simple one-touch voice recorders to feature-rich dictation tools. If you’re lucky, your Android device may have a voice recording app pre-installed. If you’re looking for one however, we think Tape-a-Talk is the best fit for people looking to record notes, interviews, or classes and lectures with their Android phone.
- Recordings are crisp and clear, and can be saved in high or low quality, with customisable bit-rates.
- Saves audio as .wav or .3gp files, your preference.
- One-touch pause for recording, seamless resume (.wav files only) to pick up later in the same file.
- Unlimited recording length (unless you run out of space on your device).
- Can record in the background while you use other apps or the screen is turned off.
- Supports appending future recordings to existing ones (.wav files only).
- Supports built-in sharing to Dropbox, email or other third-party services by long-pressing a recording.
- Pro: Set custom filenames (by default, filenames are date/time) and save directory (by default, all files are stored on the SD card).
- Pro: Fast-forward or rewind recordings in-process or record over errors for dictation.
- Pro: Cut and edit recordings before saving.
- Pro: Home screen widget for fast access and customisable interface
Tape-a-Talk is one of the most highly rated voice recorders on the Android Market, and for good reason. The free version functions well for a standard voice recorder and doesn’t place limits on the amount of time you can record voice notes. You don’t get much say in how the files are named or organised, but you can always upload them to Dropbox or email or text them to someone else if you need to get them off of your device. All of your memos and interviews are stored on the SD card to take up as little space as possible, which is a good thing if you want to record in high-quality, high bit-rate formats. You have the option to record in .3gp to save space, or go all out and record in high-quality .wav to take advantage of the app’s resume and append features. Tape-a-Talk can even “repair” recordings if you accidentally stop in the middle of a session, your phone crashes, or some other app needs to be force quit to keep going.
Go Pro for just over $4.95 and you get a more robust dictation tool that lets you correct errors you may have spoken while recording, a home screen widget for quick notes, and the ability to customise the app interface and the names/directories of your files, not to mention ditch the free version’s ads. The free version is likely enough for most people who want to remind themselves what to get at the grocery store, but if you’re conducting interviews or want to record a lecture, the Pro version won’t let you down.
The biggest drawback I could see with Tape-a-Talk is that even the pro version falls a little short of other, more robust apps that do more than just record audio. Granted, not everyone is looking for an app like Evernote where voice memos are just a part of a much larger tool, but it would be nice to see some closer linking with cloud services like Dropbox in Tape-a-Talk instead of just the options in the Android “Share” menu. Aside from this, the only thing that could use a little work is Tape-a-Talk’s interface. It’s functional, and if you prefer function over form, you won’t be disappointed, but it’s not exactly the prettiest application, and it’s not horribly inviting or exciting to use.
Voice Recorder (free) is probably the most popular voice-recording app for Android in the market. It’s probably a better option than Tape-a-Talk if all you want to do is record quick notes to yourself while you’re driving, away from pen and paper, or you have a brilliant idea while you’re lying in bed. Plus, the app’s search is better, and it can start recording on a timer so you don’t have to press record. You can tell the app to automatically send your recordings to Gmail, which is always nice — set a label for them and you’ve got a nice little system going. All for free. Not bad, but those features are really all it has, unfortunately. If you want a similar tool that can send your memos to any email address, not just Gmail, as soon as you’re finished recording, try netMemo Voice Recorder (free), which is also free, and lets you record in WAV, OGG or MP3 formats.
Identity, Inc’s Voice Recorder (free) is another option for those looking for a dead simple voice recording app. Open the app, press record to start recording, press pause to pause recording, and press record again when you’re done. The app will ask you for a filename, and that’s it. Play your recordings back from the file list. Move along, nothing else to see here.
Wave Recorder (free) gives you a remarkable number of bit-rates and audio quality options to record your voice notes — or anything else. The app is clearly designed for not just recording voice, but anything else you may want to pick up from your Android phone, and has the settings to match. It doesn’t have the features of other voice recorders, like append, or resume, but it’s not bad if you’re super-careful about storage, or want to record music with your phone as well as voice.
Dictadroid (free/$1.87 Pro) offers some great dictation options, but leaves out a lot of the audio quality options that makes Tape-a-Talk great. If you’re more into dictation though, it may be worth a look — just make sure to go ahead and buy the pro version. The free version limits your recordings to five minutes and enables Dropbox support. Both versions allow you to pause, resume, append to and overwrite errors in your recordings, record and play in the background, and easily share your recordings via email and SMS. You can even add a photo to your recording, although it’s not included when you share it.
Lifehacker’s App Directory is a growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools across multiple platforms.