If you are a frequent flyer of the on-the-go business set, you know having the right tools to do your job is a make or break deal. The ability to quickly and easily record voice memos falls into that must-have category for many. Even though Android does have a built-in voice recorder, it's not always the best tool for the job. If you do a search of voice recording apps, you'll come up with a large number of results. So I've narrowed the list to five outstanding apps that will help you record and organize your memos, meetings, and notes.
Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.
Dictomate (Figure A) is a handy tool for those who don't want to have to dig through their app drawer or even bother to launch an app to record. With this quick-access widget, you can record memos without a single tap. Dictomate records in real-time portable MP3 format. It has a VU meter, allows you to edit filenames, and has a bookmarking feature so you can quickly get to sections of a recording. You can bookmark as you record, so you don't have to go back and listen through the entire recording to add bookmarks.
Once you've recorded the memo (or meeting), you can start the recording from the beginning or from any one of the bookmarks by tapping the play button. The quality of recording is outstanding (even with background noise). You'll find a free version and a paid version ($4.11 USD). The paid version adds an equalizer, sharing, pause playback with auto-backspace, and much more.
2: Voice Recorder (by MobiStored)
Voice Recorder (Figure B) is for those who depend upon a voice recorder for more than just reminders to pick up milk. (Google Now is much better for that anyway.) With Voice Recorder, you not only get a solid recording tool, you'll enjoy easy categorization, clear sound (even from a distance), customizable file prefix name, a customizable default save folder, among other things. The quality of Voice Recorder is quite good and the ability to categorize recordings makes organization a breeze.
The interface is well laid out, with zero learning curve: Just install and record. You can also create your own categories to further organize your recordings. And even though this app is free, there are no ads. The one feature Voice Recorder lacks is a bookmarking system for recordings.
3: Voice Recorder (by Mamoru Tokashiki)
This Voice Recorder (Figure C) is unique in that it allows you to easily record memos (with a no-frills interface) and then save the memo or save and share the memo. It offers timer recording, an easy access widget, the ability to set recordings as ringtones and edit titles, and more. Although this voice recorder software doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, its simplicity makes it easy to use and the recording quality is on par with the other apps. There is a widget associated with the app, but it's a bit poorly designed. (When you tap record, the screen momentarily goes blank and then returns.)
Tape-a-Talk (Figure D) has a cutesy name, but don't let that nod to cute put you off. Tape-a-Talk is a nice app that will get your recordings done in high or low quality, allow you to seek backward/fast-forward during a recording, save in .wav format, record directly from the widget, append to recordings, change sample rate and sample format, send to multiple recipients, and much more. The quality of Tape-a-Talk is probably up there with the best memo recorders for smartphones. If clarity of recording is what you're looking for, this should be one of the first apps you try.
I'm including Evernote (Figure E) not for quality of recording, but for integration into one of the most popular note-taking tools on the planet. Evernote can record decent audio, but it doesn't have a built-in player. When you tap on an audio file from within Evernote, you will be prompted to select a player to use. Although you're not going to get high-quality recordings, you will be able to record audio notes and then add them to notebooks. If you're looking for a program for dictation or to record meetings, Evernote is not what you want. But if you're looking for a recording tool to keep track of your personal notes and manage them within the framework of an even more powerful tool, Evernote is what you want.
No shortage of choices
Many audio recording tools are available for Android. Take a look at these five and see if they don't get you where you need to be. You should find plenty of features among this selection. But if you don't find what you're looking for, hop on back to the Google Play Store and poke around. You're sure to find an app that will do the trick.
Have you discovered an audio recording app that trumps the ones listed here? If not, what are your specific needs that aren't being met by the current crop of tools?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.