Sony ICD-MS515 (8 MB, 2.5 Hours) Handheld Digital Voice Recorder

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Almost perfect, but ruined by a design flaw

Apr 27, 2003
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: OK

  • Sound:
  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Battery Life:
  • Portability:

Pros:Compact Excellent editing controls

Cons:Horrible Play-button design

The Bottom Line: Sadly, I cannot recommend this terrific recorder because of what seems to be a stupid design flaw.


I have been a long time purchaser of Sony digital voice recorders. I can't quite remember the first ICD model I purchased, but I do remember that I eventually upgraded that one to an ICD-55 (which now resides on my nightstand). I eventually upgraded that model to an ICD-67 (which now resides in my study). And just recently, I upgraded that model to what I thought would be the best of the best, the ICD-MS515VTP.

And, at first blush, I thought the ICD-MS515VTP offered me almost everything I wanted in a handheld digital voice recorder. In particular, the ability to easily search through messages, partially record over messages, split and combine messages, insert bookmarks, establish any number of folders with folder names that I could change, etc. In fact, the only feature that was missing was the ability to reorder or insert messages in any order but I was soon satisfied by the fact that the PC software that came with the recorder would allow me to reorder my files AND my folder any way I wanted. (The LCD display on the unit could be a little bigger and squeeze in some additional information but that's a minor quibble.)

I really thought I had the perfect recording device...that is, until I started using it on a regular basis...

How is it possible that Sony could design such a small Play/Jog control on the side of the unit that was so easy to "MIS-PRESS?" Countless times now, I've meant to press the PLAY button but because my thumb (and, trust me, it's a fairly small thumb) was either a tad too high or too low, I inadvertently pressed the FF/ button or the Rewind/- button and subsequently lost my place in the recording.

I need to be able to repeatedly play and pause my recordings as I listen to the playback and all it takes is one slip-up, and I then have to waste time finding my place in the recording again.

All of my earlier ICD models had a dedicated Play button that made this kind of mistake impossible. And perhaps if this model either had a Play button that was separate from the FF/ and Rewind/- jog button or, at least, a larger jog control with a clear center/Play area to press, it wouldn't be so easy to mistakenly hit the wrong button.

As it is, I can't believe an obvious physical design problem such as this can ruin an otherwise terrific device. And because it seems that the entire Sony line of Digital Voice Records has moved to this new design and away from the more circular design of the earlier ICD models, I would presume that every one of your recorders now possesses this same design flaw.

Shame on you, Sony, for letting this slip through your quality control testing.


Recommend this product? No


Amount Paid (US$): $250

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