Olympus WS-852 digital voice recorder review

The Olympus WS-852 is quality branded voice recorder with an affordable price that doesn't scrimp on features.

Olympus WS-852 digital voice recorder review
(Image: © Olympus)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The Olympus WS-852 is a feature rich voice recorder that keeps the price low but the quality high.


  • +

    Stereo mics with voice filter

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    Intelligent auto recording

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    Built in USB connector

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    110 hour battery life

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    MicroSD expansion


  • -

    AAA batteries required

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    Bulkier than some

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The Olympus WS-852 is a really comprehensive voice recorder that offers more features and greater quality build than many at this price. While this is not the cheapest, it's still at the lower end despite packing in some top-end features, which is why we think it's one of the best digital voice recorders there is.

The Olympus WS-852 uses dual microphones for great quality recording. It also uses smart filters to make sure the end result is top-quality. Yes, it uses AAA batteries which some might not like, but the microSD expansion, built in USB connector and features like a built-in stand all add to the appeal.

Read on to find out all you need to know from this Olympus WS-852 review.

Olympus WS-852 voice recorder: Design

Olympus WS-852 specs

Storage: 4GB onboard, microSD to 32GB
Power: 2 x AAA batteries
Transfer: USB built-in
Microphone: Dual

The Olympus WS-852 is bulker than some recorders but it's still a handheld and will fit into bags and even pockets.

The dual microphones are a big draw here since that ensures quality stereo recordings. Below them is a newly improved backlit display that offers lots of information.

Under that screen are the buttons to control recording, playback, menu navigation and more. There are plenty but it's still minimal enough to remain easy to use, even when in a rush. 

Olympus WS-852

(Image credit: Olympus)

The USB connector, which pops out of the top, is a great feature that allows you to transfer files anywhere without the need to carry a cable.

The rear is removable to add in two AAA batteries for power. To the side is a port for microSD, and a sliding power bumper as well as volume controls. On the other side you have ports for headphones and an external mic.

Olympus WS-852: Features

The Olympus WS-852 has a lot of features. We love that pop-up USB connector but also built-in is a smaller stand. This is a great way to keep the microphones elevated from the table surface when recording to ensure the best angle and that vibrational interference is kept to a minimum.

On the subject of quality, the auto mode is a great addition which will adjust the recording style to suit the room size and situation ensuring you get the best end result. This has a low cut filter which helps keep quality high even when outside in wind.

Olympus WS-852

(Image credit: Olympus)

The ability to playback at different speeds is a nice addition. This includes both double speed playback for scanning and also half speed playback, ideal for transcribing. There's also a voice activated feature that means this saves on battery and memory by not recording when the talking stops.

The Simple Mode is a useful feature. This keeps the display data to a minimum and makes menus super simple. It does this by displaying your most used options only. A great way to get quick and easy access. But should you want to go deeper then Normal Mode is available for more advanced menus and richer data readouts. 

Olympus WS-852: Performance

The Olympus WS-852 is a very good voice recorder when it comes to audio quality. That auto mode that adjusts microphone sensitivity works very well to get you a consistent sound no matter where you are. The addition of the low cut filter, voice filter and that vibration reducing stand, help to enhance that further.

Battery life is superb with up to 110 hours of use before the need to change those batteries out. There is a clear and accurate display showing that battery level so you can judge if you need to take out spare batteries each time you go to use this device.

Olympus WS-852

(Image credit: Olympus)

The amount of audio you can store varies depending on memory. There's 4GB onboard but you can expand that, with microSD cards up to 32GB supported. 

There's a useful file divide feature that has a dedicated button on the side of the device for easy use. Plugging an external mic, or headphones, is super easy and since the ports are on one side, with no other buttons there, these don't get in the way when using the device. 

The voice activated recording feature works well, cutting out any gaps where there are silences.

Should you buy the Olympus WS-852 voice recorder?

If you want a voice recorder that offers high-end features and great audio quality while keeping the price low then this big name and reliable brand option is a great choice. The Olympus WS-852 gives you lots of memory, loads of battery life and smart auto features which make this a doddle to use.

For those that don't want batteries, this isn't ideal. This also lacks top-end features like noise cancellation. But, for the price, this is a very impressive digital voice recorder. 

Luke Edwards

Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.