CNET First Look
Zoom H2The Zoom H2 is one of the most affordable handheld audio recorders on the market, and it's packed to the hilt with cool features and handy accessories. Unfortunately, the Zoom H2's cheap construction quality, underwhelming recording performance, and a...
^M00:00:01 [ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Hi I'm Donald Bell, Senior Editor for digital audio and MP3 and today we're taking a First Look at the Zoom H2 Handheld Audio Recorder. The H2's biggest kind of fame is the fact that it is a really small design and it's the least expensive high-end portable audio recorder you can buy. Its retail price is around 329 dollars but its street price is closer to 200 dollars, so this is about 100 dollars less than its closer competitor which is the Edirol R-09. The Zoom H2 includes excellent file resolution and format supporting. You can also record direct MP3 files; anything from a variable bit rate recording to a 320 kilobit per second MP3 file. Some of the things we didn't like about the H2, we didn't like the fact that a lot of the coolest features in this are buried in the menu system. It's a really cheap plastic construction, that's another thing about the H2 is that you kind of get what you pay for when it comes to build quality. One of its better features and a feature that's not on any comparable recorder is that there are actually two sets of stereo microphones. It can also combine both sides into a stereo mix for a very surround style recording. Despite all the cool features that are built into the Zoom H2, the actual microphone quality or maybe it's the pre-amp quality, we can't quite tell, is not great. For the 200 dollars you'll spend on the H2, it does come with an impressive amount of extras. Some of these extras include a built-in wind screen; it also comes with a little tripod stand; it comes with a little adaptor that makes it fit perfectly into a microphone clip. All of these extras are things that competitors like Edirol or Sony would probably charge you 50 or 60 bucks a pop just to have. All in all the H2 is a great choice for people who aren't going to be very picky about the audio quality that they're going to get from the recording. It is a very useful, affordable and handy little recorder to have around. The people who really want to get the best possible recording quality from a mobile recorder will probably want to spend the extra money. So I'm Donald Bell and this is a First Look at the Zoom H2.