Phone Recording vs. Digital Voice Recording: An Overview

If you need to record audio as part of your job or just for personal reasons, you have the choice of using a dedicated digital recorder or your smartphone.

The proliferation of smartphones over the last decade has led to those devices being used for tasks far beyond calling, texting and web-browsing. For one, they feature a built-in sound recorder that you can use for recording meetings, classes and conversations.

Is the smartphone enough, or should you get a digital voice recorder for your task?

Here’s an overview of some of the factors that will play into your decision.

Quality of recording

Smartphone recording applications allow you to record audio, but there are some limited capabilities compared to digital voice recorders. For example, the digital voice recorder will deliver higher-quality audio files. You’ll get greater clarity out of a file resulting from a digital voice recorder than from a smartphone, which can be very helpful for delivering accurate transcriptions.


Smartphones might only let you record short audio files due to their limited internal memory. With digital voice recorders, they’re likely to have more storage for audio files, with the storage amount varying by the brand.

These days, you do have the option of purchasing smartphones with higher storage capacities (up to 256 GB), but storing a lot of sound files could cause the phone’s performance to deteriorate.


Both smartphones and digital voice recorders vary in price, but you can generally assume a smartphone will cost significantly more because it has far more features and is much more complicated to develop; however, most people already have a smartphone in their possession, while the same cannot be true of a dedicated digital voice recorder, so that is another factor to consider, as purchasing a recorder would be an added expense.

Editing of files

Digital voice recorders have functionality that allows you to do some editing of your audio files, including the ability to mute ambient sound. These features aren’t always present in smartphones, but that varies from app to app.

Battery life

While smartphones and voice recorders technically have approximately similar battery life, your phone’s battery will drain faster because you’ll use it much more and because the phone will constantly be running several apps at any given time. Your voice recorder battery only gets used up when it is used for recording or playback.

Ultimately, your choice between a smartphone and a dedicated digital voice recorder for your recording depends on your needs. If you intend to use one frequently and/or need particularly high-quality recordings, the small investment in a digital voice recorder is more than worth your while. If you don’t care as much about sound quality as you do about convenience or if you don’t intend to be recording frequently, a smartphone with a recording app should be just fine to satisfy your needs.

For more tips in making your choice, contact the team at Efficiency, Inc. We can set you up with the recording equipment and software you need.

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