Since its initial release back in 2013, the DPM 8000 has remained as Philips’ flagship offering in the field of professional dictation devices.
Now, with the recent release of the DS-9500, Olympus aims to set the industry standard in professional dictation. But how do these two devices compare?
Perhaps the most noticeable element when first comparing these devices is the striking similarity between these two offerings. Both feature 2.4-inch displays of identical resolution, slide switches for ease of use when recording and reviewing dictations, and a row of three function buttons directly below the display.
Prior to powering on the devices, the only major difference appears to be the housing for each device, with the DPM-8000’s impressive brushed stainless-steel standing in contrast to the more lightweight plastic of the DS-9500.
Once the devices are in use, more distinctions become apparent. The Olympus DS-9500 exhibits a much more minimalistic and elegant layout on its default screen and menus than both its predecessor in the DS-7000 and its counterpart in the Philips DPM-8000.
This ease of use is further enabled by additional function buttons below the display. This minimalism comes with a trade-off however, as the more tightly filled display on the Philips model packs in more information that may be relevant to the user, such as the current date and time.
Furthermore, in a bid to make their device more user-friendly to those who may be making the jump from an analogue dictation device, Phillips’ DPM-8000 offers a ‘Classic’ appearance mode that features a more pared down display in the style of a cassette tape recorder – quite fitting from the company that originally invented the compact cassette.
Under the hood, the recency of Olympus’ release starts to become apparent. In an effort to streamline dictation workflow, Olympus have fitted the DS-9500 with Wi-Fi functionality, allowing the user to immediately send dictations directly to the dictation module software or a chosen email address, without the need to connect the device to a PC via a cradle or USB cable.
This is not to say that the DPM-8000 is without its own set of unique merits and utilities. Most notable of these is the voice activation mode, by which a user can leave the device set to record and end up with a dictation that has only recorded when they speak, with any gaps or lengthy pauses being effectively trimmed out. Prospective users should note that while this mode is reliable in a quiet setting, the microphone will pick up background noise above a certain volume and activate the recording.
Most crucially, potential users can be reassured that both of these devices record audio in crisp, full, and clear sound. The DPM8000’s 3D mic technology holds up well against the DS-9500’s omni-directional dual mic setup, with both devices performing admirably in a series of tests conducted in quiet and noisy environments, and at different volumes of speech and ranges from the microphones.
One final observation on these devices that may influence the prospective buyer is the difference in their internal storage, or lack thereof. Olympus have fitted out the DS-9500 with 2GB of internal storage, with a SD card slot allowing for up to an additional 32GB of storage. The DPM-8000 does not come with this onboard storage, however Philips includes a 4GB memory card in the box to make up for this.
With these latest entries in the dictaphone market, both Olympus and Philips bring forth the most up-to-date technological and design advancements, to create devices that are reliable and practical. Functionally, both these devices can be trusted for the working professional. The decision will ultimately come down to either the slightly more robust and polished look and feel of the DPM-8000, against the more accessible and easily readable display and added buttons on the DS-9500.
Written by guest blogger: Alex Letts