Saturday, 26 March 2016

Windows 10 System Apps Review: Voice Recorder

Note: This page is a review which forms part of the post Windows 10 System Apps Review

What’s this app for?

Doing exactly what its name suggests, this app records your voice via the mic in your computer, allowing you to record your memoirs (perhaps) and then play them back later.

Does it do the job it was primarily designed for?

Absolutely, but there’s no bells and whistles here. Although one might argue if it needs to be sophisticated to do a basic job?

Leading the charge for universal apps to look bland, this app succeeds with its default appearance of a grey background everywhere, except for the blue mic button in the middle. Unlike other apps, such as sway, there’s no guessing here where you need to click to use the app, is there?

As soon as you click on the big blue button the recording starts, possibly catching everyone out. You’re then presented with a slightly different screen, with the blue button now displaying the ‘stop’ square in the middle, a smaller pause button below, and another button to add markers to the recording. This latter option is actually quite interesting and possibly more useful than it might at first appear because once you’ve finished making a recording and open the file up again in the app (see above), these markers show up on screen, so you know exactly where in the recording you wanted your attention to be alerted to. You can easily skip to the markers, delete them or create more. It’s a shame you can’t label the markers though. Additionally, when you open up a recording in the app, you can share it, trim it, delete it or give it a more useful name than the default “Recording <number>” that the app gives it. There’s also the ability to open up the file’s location in file explorer, which just so happens to be in your documents folder.

In case you’ve missed it, there is a hamburger menu to this app, but it’s down the very bottom right. The two options it provides (when you aren’t playing a recording back) are Settings and Feedback, and both offer very little. In fact, there are no settings if you click that option as it just shows you information about the app, such as version and copyright info. This is quite possibly the most strangely labelled menu name in Windows 10 System app history. Sure, there is the option down the button to go to “Microphone settings” but it takes you to the mic permissions part of the settings app for some reason and not to any actual mic settings which still reside in Control Panel. ‘Feedback’ naturally takes you to the right place in the feedback app to complain or upvote any Voice Recorder related items.

What’s the alternative?

The original win32 version is history sadly and not in Windows 10. There are other apps in the store that offer up voice recording abilities though, and probably provide more features than Sound Recorder does.

Hit, Miss, or Maybe?

Maybe; I’ve used this app a few times for actual basic voice notes. It does the job nicely, so I believe it has a purpose although it really only does the basics. Does it need to do much more? I feel it’s slightly undercooked this app and should probably give us a little more customisation and features; something we had more of in its predecessor, the win32 version, called Sound Recorder.

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