Thanks for the post Diane. I guess putting the mental checklist out here for everyone (including myself) to read will help. Here it goes:
1) it must be able to record all of the sounds in a medium-sized classroom
2) it must be able to allow playback by folks who do not own it
3) it must have at least two days' recording capacity at the highest quality setting
4) it must last at least five days between battery recharges
5) it must be sturdy enough to last more than a month in my gym bag
6) stereo would be nice
7) studio quality microphones would be nice, since I am a songwriter
playing mp3 files would be nice
9) recording in various formats (mp3, wma, etc) would be nice for easily sharing the recordings
10) slim, attractive styling would be nice
11) advanced software support would be nice (speech to text, translation support, etc)
Well, it seems like a lot, but there are several devices that achieve everything on the list. Sony and Olympus are two manufacturers that I've found thus far with products that win, but I can't find any reviews on these products.
The more research I perform, the more I'm leaning toward the Olympus DS-40. The Sony SX-46 would do just fine as well. The price range (not one of my requirements) is $100-$200, and I consider that reasonable.
Does anyone have any suggestions? Does anyone know of any reviews I could read?
I will post a user's review of the Panasonic device, as well as other experiences.