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Pros: Plugged it into a Synology DS213air. Even sitting on a carpeted floor in a room with no air conditioning the temps never go above 84F even when the room is at 77F
Quiet, and I'm not sure if it's my imagination or not but it seems to spin up out of sleep mode very quickly.
Cons: None so far. Hopefully it lasts.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Very good feel to the hardware, seems very solid and very cleverly constructed.
Low power consumption.
Cons: The user interface is excruciatingly slow. Just navigating menus can cause the CPU to hit 75% usage, . It's pretty severely underpowered.
You have to waste a lot of time getting past the marketingspeak to figure out what package does what.
The interface to Linux they've come up with is almost as good as Ubuntu in that it simplifies configuration - except that they use the infuriating marketingspeak so instead of using Webmin to "Configure Samba", you have to figure out if "Synology Dancing Cloud with Swooping Geese (tm) Happy Funland Version 2.3 Now With Extra Sprinkles" is the package you want.
It wouldn't be so bad except the documentation and their support website are poor. I've never been able to find a direct answer to any question/problem that I've had in setting it up.
For example, when first setting it up, it asks if you want to install DS from the internet or from a local copy. It couldn't connect, kept giving me an error 703. I tried both LAN and Wifi connections, both DHCP and fixed IP addresses, no joy, it always (eventually) It always would end with an error 703.
After searching their support site and being misdirected to at least half a dozen non-answers by their FAQ and forum posts, I was never able to find out what error 703 was, or why it could not connect to my rather simple network. After half an hour of fiddling I finally had to just download the DS image to my PC and install from there.
The "Synology Data Replicator 3" software for Windows is really sad. It literally gives you no useful information whatsoever - not even an indicator of whether your replica is valid or not. As an added bonus, whenever it pops up a notification, it switches context of your entire computer - so if you're playing Unreal Tournament 3 and "Synology Data Replicator 3 With Enhanced Coloring" decides it needs to spew some meaningless, low priority message at you, it interrupts your game and does a full context switch back to the Windows desktop to do so. You can then alt-tab back to UT3 to find yourself run over by a slow moving tank.
I arbitrarily set my user quota to 700GB but when I ran "Synology Data Replicator 3 With Fluffy Monkey Heads (tm)" and then noticed there was about ~695GB of data to sync. I have no idea if it ever successfully replicated it because every single time I opened the "Synology Data Replicator 3 With Sparkly Whizzy Things (tm)" console it gave me some insanely cryptic message about something it thought it should be doing, or that it would be doing if it weren't otherwise occupied presenting insanely cryptic messages to you.
I joke, but seriously, I can configure rsync from memory, but I have *no* idea what "Synology Data Replicator 3 Times Fifty So Nyeah! (tm)" was trying to tell me about my data. All their software did is get in the way.
Other Thoughts: In short, nicely designed hardware, and it's powered by Linux so it can (eventually) be made to work properly. Just ignore the extremely uneven user experience/user interface.
I was just hoping for a better user experience based on so many people giving the DS software good reviews. If you have some low power and reliable hardware laying around, Ubuntu Server + Webmin will get you 95% of what DS offers, and with a heck of a lot less waiting around for the UI to do trivial things.
This review is from: OLYMPUS WS-803 USB PC Interface Digital Voice Recorder
Pros: Useful configuration settings - you can tune it to work well in most environments. VCVA in particular can be tuned to work just the way you want it to.
Excellent audio quality.
Good battery life
Cons: I've got lots of Olympus recorders, including three WS-510M models that are fantastically good voice recorders. I managed to kill a couple of those (my fault - dropped in water) and I needed another backup so I bought this WS-803.
Everything about this 803 is bad/worse when compared to older models.
The buttons have no feel to them and take far too little pressure to activate. I typically record my ideas with the device in my shirt pocket and it's constantly turning itself off or triggering playback.
This thing is much bigger than the 510M, the worst part being how much thicker it is. It's quite bulky/noticeable in your pocket.
They put the mic jack on the side of the unit (510M and earlier have it on the top alongside the mic jack) This is a problem as you can't plug headphones in and drop it into your pocket unless the headphones have a 90 degree adapter.. In my case, I often use a very small Bluetooth dongle that I plug in to the voice recorder and use a Bluetooth headset for a wireless connection to my helmet communicator, but now it won't fit in my pocket easily with the dongle hanging off the side.
I've got my much (ab)used 510M and this one side by side. The 510 shows a fingerprint here or there after years of use, this 803 looks like I've been handling it after dipping my hands in oil and that's only after a week of use.
The 803 does not have the ability to set a default playback speed to "fast play", it only has a "Voice Play" that I haven't figure out yet. Problem is, I record while riding dual-sport motorcycles and often times my voice isn't loud against the background noise when I voice annotate my photos and video. The only way to find those bits in the audio now is to play the recording at high speed and listen. I have to play the recordings back on my PC.
The WS803 still stupidly uses the model # and a 4 digit sequential number (e.g. WS5101234.wma or 803_1234.wma) which causes overlaps if you happen to be using more than one of them.
I've also got an Olympus VN722PC. It is also even larger than the WS803 (but costs half as much, has 2x AAA batteries, not one, and much better button feel) and it does what you want/expect it to which is to name the saved audio files using the current date/time.
The FM radio on the 803 picks up no stations. I'm not in a big city, but there are some reasonably strong stations here that should be showing up. Fortunately it's a fluff feature I didn't want/need anyway.
Other Thoughts: I'm pretty disappointed as I really like all my other Olympus voice recorders. They take a great deal of abuse, have excellent battery life, and have almost every feature one could need for recording anything from live action to dictation while driving a car, to recording a large conference room with excellent clarity.
This WS803 is, for my purposes, a big step backwards.
Fortunately I've got the VN722PC as a backup and I hope that my last WS510M never dies because neither the 803 nor 722 are good replacements for it.
It's really annoying to have the WS series go backwards because the only high quality alternatives for voice recorders are Sony and Panasonic, and I've been jerked around by their proprietary formats/hardware/software enough times that I don't ever want to go back to them.