The Sony ICD-MX20 is a professional-grade digital voice recorder that's especially recommended for those who do lots of dictation and transcription. It is optimized for use with Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech-to-text transcription software and earns that company's highest accuracy score. Among its other features, the Sony ICD-MX20 has more editing functions than you'll find on basic voice recorders. However, it records using proprietary file formats that must be converted before it can be used by other software, such as Windows Media Player, and the Sony player/conversion software is not compatible with Mac OS. At just 32 MB, the built-in memory is skimpy, but a slot for Memory Stick Pro Duo flash memory is provided, and the recorder accepts cards up to 2 GB. Opinions are mixed on the device's unique joystick controller; some users love it, while others hate it. If all you want to do is record lectures or notes -- or if you use a Mac -- the less expensive Olympus WS-500M or Olympus VN-6200PC deserve consideration.
PC World provides the most detailed analysis of the Sony ICD-MX20. Amazon.com has a fair selection of user reviews. VoiceRecognition.com, a website covering transcription software and hardware, also rates the ICD-MX20.
1. PC World
James A. Martin from PC World proclaims that the Sony ICD-MX20 is the best digital voice recorder, especially for speech-to-text transcriptions. Reviewing advantages and disadvantages of the recorder for an array of uses, he does presume that you are looking for a dictation device for use with transcription software like Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
Review: The Best Digital Voice Recorder, James A. Martin, April 23, 2008
A few dozen owners rate the Sony ICD-MX20 here, and the middling score (3.5 stars out of 5) fairly represents the split opinions expressed. Those who like the recorder rate it highly for its quality and its ability to play well with speech recognition software. Those who aren't satisfied with the Sony ICD-MX20 complain that it is hard to use and that the proprietary file formats and required conversion software make life difficult, especially for Mac users.
Review: Sony ICD-MX20 Memory Stick Pro Duo Digital Voice Recorder, Contributors to Amazon.com
This retail site specializing in voice recognition hardware and software rates digital voice recorders on compatibility with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the leading voice recognition software. Digital recorders are rated in four categories, including accuracy, features, ease of use and durability. The Sony MX20 is recommended for its long recording time and ease of use.
Review: Dragon NaturallySpeaking Mobile Solutions Center: Digital Recorder Overview, Editors of VoiceRecognition.com