Digital Voice Recorder vs Smartphone Recording: Pros and Cons

The smartphone is perhaps one of the most heavily used devices in recent years, probably for the fact that you can practically accomplish anything using the phone. You can listen to your favorite songs using music apps, set appointments using calendars, and even record audio. For the latter, we will look into how smartphone recording stacks up with a digital voice recorder.

If you’re into sound recording, you probably know that both smartphones and digital voice recorders can do the job of capturing sounds and storing them in specific file formats for easier storage and distribution. In the case of voice recorders, you need to check which device or model will suit your needs.

A Brief Background on Smartphones for Voice Recording

Did you know that the number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to surpass the five billion mark by 2019? This only shows just how much mobile phones have become extremely significant to a lot of people. The convenience that it brings has transcended to several types of media, and has made its way to audio and voice recording.

Smartphone Voice Recording

For someone who doesn’t use voice recording as part of their jobs, the built-in sound recorder in most smartphones may already be enough. But what about situations that require high-quality recordings? Can smartphones deliver, or should we opt for digital voice recorders?

What does a digital voice recorder do?

A voice recorder captures sound and converts it into an audio file that can be easily transferred (preferably through a USB cable or any similar accessory) to another device like a laptop or computer.

People who have voice recorders may use them for various reasons:

  • To record lectures or seminars. Not everyone has such a photographic memory. Therefore, some students bring a voice recorder to take note of the professor’s lecture or talk.
  • To record interviews. Journalists may find this device extremely helpful, particularly to ensure that they are able to note the exact words that their interviewees have said.
  • To record the last words of a dying relative. It may be unusual to do this, but some people find it comforting to keep an audio memento of relatives who have gone ahead of them.
  • For transcription purposes. Doctors dictate the condition of patients to nurses, who in turn are supposed to write the details on the patient’s records.
  • As legal evidence. In any kind of court proceedings, it is important to present any kind of evidence that both parties can provide. A recorded audio clip can be a determining factor for the jury. The same can be said about preparing a last will and testament.
  • For capturing thoughts and ideas. For writers and bloggers, the voice recorder can help capture ideas as they go on their everyday lives. Instead of writing whatever comes to their minds, clicking on the video recorder makes it easier for them to express their thoughts and record a random idea.
  • For fun. Some people may use the voice recorder for fun like scaring others or setting up a prank.
  • For making personal audio files. If you are an aspiring singer and you want to hear how you sing, having a voice recorder can help you determine which part of the song you need to improve the way you sing. The same goes for budding public speakers who want to evaluate their verbal nuances, mannerisms, and grammar issues.

Comparison on Smartphone Recording VS. Dedicated Digital Voice Recorder

Most smartphones have a built-in voice recorder app that you can use anytime. However, if you are a heavy user of voice recording for your tasks, would you opt to just use your smartphone or would you rather buy a digital voice recorder?

Here are some points that will help you decide on whether to stick to your smartphone or to use a dedicated digital voice recorder.

Recording capability

Although a smartphone enables you to perform several tasks in just a few clicks – including a built-in voice recorder – it has limited recording capabilities compared to a dedicated digital voice recorder.

For starters, a digital voice recorder has the ability to capture superior quality audio files. Although it may affect the recording time or space needed to store the file, it ensures that you have a better audio file compared to just recording using a smartphone. In other words, a digital voice recorder has significantly better sound quality than a smartphone recording.

Internal memory

Some smartphones will only allow you to record short audio files due to a limited internal memory. As for digital voice recorders, depending on the brand, they usually have more storage for audio files.

Sure, some of the latest smartphone models already come with higher storage capacity (reaching even up to 256 GB). However, storing a huge library of sound files may cause the phone to lag and even freeze in some instances. That’s because the smartphone still has to perform other tasks alongside file storage and playback.

Audio quality improvement

A digital voice recorder has the functionality to edit audio files. Some digital voice recorders have the ability to mute ambient sound, therefore producing better a quality audio file. This feature isn’t present in smartphones recording.


Smartphones vary in prices the same way as voice recorders do. It’s difficult to compare smartphones and digital voice recorders in terms of price. Bottom line, more features in a device usually translates to a higher price tag.

Battery life

Your smartphone may have a battery life of up to 48 hours, the same as some digital voice recorders. However, your phone’s battery power is dependent on how often you use it. On any given day, your smartphone will probably be running a few apps, all of which can drain the battery gradually – and that doesn’t include the actual voice recording yet!

With the digital voice recorder, the battery gets used up only when it is used for recording or playback.

The choice between using a smartphone or a dedicated digital voice recorder ultimately depends on the user. If a voice recorder is frequently needed to comply with a requirement for a job or any task, then purchasing a digital voice recorder should be the best option. However, if sound quality doesn’t matter as much as convenience (of bringing only one device to perform several functions that include sound recording), then having a smartphone will be enough.






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