Neat devices are a dime-a-dozen, but only a few of them have a real practical function. Griffin Technology has been the torchbearer when it comes to developing interesting and attractive gadgets, and with the advent of digital music they’ve started to manufacture devices for Apple’s iPod. Last year they released the iTrip, a useful transmitter that allowed users to output their iPod through any FM receiver, and now they’ve released perhaps the most practical and useful device to date.
A large portion of iPod owners are college-aged students who have to cope with a number of responsibilities. In this hustle-and-bustle lifestyle it’s a rarity that anyone has the time to take down each and every task that they have. This is when the new iTalk comes into play. Plugging straight into the headphone jack, the iTalk effectively turns the iPod into a voice recorder with massive amounts of storage space. This means that you can effectively listen to music with your headphones while walking to class and then plug in the attachment and change it into a notation device in a few seconds. Forget about taking notes, just set the device to record and you’re set.
Griffin Technology packages a mini-instruction manual along with the iTalk but it’s doubtful that you’ll ever need it. When the device is plugged into the upper expansion slot of the iPod the screen immediately brings up the iTalk’s interface. You’re faced with two very difficult options, record or head back a screen. Upon selecting record you’ll see an on-screen timer along with the ability to pause the recording or end it entirely. When ended, the device saves the recording to your iPod where you can listen to it immediately thanks to the iTalk’s built-in minispeaker. In another nice design move, the iTalk features an additional headphone jack on the top which allows you to privately listen to the recordings without disturbing others.
To test out the device I decided to try it out in a number of settings. My first test was at E3 2004 at the Convention Center in Los Angeles. As usual, the floor was filled with thousands of raucous gaming geeks desperately trying to fulfill their geek fantasies. During my usual booth tours (which are generally done on the show floor in the middle of all the action) the audio came in quite clearly, although it had a huge tendency to pick up really high-pitched noises. Anything in a relatively quiet or secluded area came in quite clearly while anything near an overwhelming loud noise (read: EA or Square Enix booth) was impossible to hear. Nothing new here though as those were the same results I received from a normal voice recorder. The next venue was a college auditorium during lecture hours. For the duration of the lecture I had little trouble understanding what the professor was saying and could easily follow along with his voice. Overall the quality is clean and crisp, generally what you would expect out of your high-end voice recorder. The quality isn't amazing, so don't buy it expecting to fulfill your grandeur delusions of garageband stardom, but it definitely gets the job done.
Griffin Technology is becoming mighty good at developing innovative devices that are practical and simple to use. The new iTalk is no exception as it's probably the most functional iPod peripheral to date. Most certainly, it's not for everyone out there, but any iPod owner looking to take full advantage of their device would be crazy not to purchase the iTalk.
A highly effective device that turns your iPod into a fully functional voice recorder. Itâ€™s not for everyone though, but itâ€™ll definitely make your life easier if youâ€™re a college kid or a reporter.
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