New Olympus WS-802 and WS-803 Portable Digital Recorders


Two new portable digital recorders from Olympus do an excellent job of spanning the gap between being useful voice recorders (for recording memos and lectures), and high-resolution audio recorders (for recording music and detailed ambient sounds). The WS-802 (available in metallic gray and blue) features a pair of sweet sounding condenser microphones and a healthy 4GB of memory (as well as a microSDHC slot). The WS-803 has all of the same features, with the inclusion of a whopping 8GB of internal memory and a built-in FM radio.

Both models share features that make them attractive voice recorders. A "Voice Balancer" function automatically adjusts the recording levels so that multiple voices sound more uniform in volume (so one voice doesn't totally drown out another), as well as noise cancellation (which suppresses background sounds). A "Voice Playback" function skips over non-voice sections of a recording on playback (which is useful for listening to your notes or transcribing).

A retractable USB connector is built into both models, so no cables are required to connect to a computer (Mac and Windows compatible). They're powered by a single AAA battery, and if you have a Ni-MH rechargeable AAA, it will charge when connected to a computer through USB. Both models also feature a built-in speaker.

If you're looking to create high resolution audio recordings of music and ambient sounds, both of these models enable you to record CD-quality 44.1 kHz/16-bit PCM files. The built-in stereo microphones are the best sounding in the WS series. You can adjust the recording sensitivity manually while recording on the WS-802, and fine tune the recording levels when in PAUSE or RECORD on the WS-803. Both models have automatic gain control as well.

You can just listen to the FM radio on the WS-803, or you can choose to record the radio as well. Its 8GB of memory enable you to record up to 2,043 hours of audio (or 12 hours of CD-quality audio). The built-in microSDHC slot is compatible with cards of up to 32GB in size on both models.

  WS-802 WS-803
Recording Format PCM, MP3, and WMA PCM, MP3, and WMA
Recording Media 4GB 8GB
PCM Recording Time 6 hr 12 hr, 5 min
Card Slot microSDHC microSDHC
Card Capacity Up to 32GB Up to 32GB
PC Interface USB port USB port
Folders Messages 5 / 200 per folder 5 / 200 per folder
PCM Frequency Response 40 Hz - 21 kHz 40 Hz - 21 kHz
Speaker 18mm round dynamic speaker 18mm round dynamic speaker
Microphones 2 x directional condenser 2 x directional condenser
FM Radio No Yes
Input 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo mic 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo mic
Output 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo headphone 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo headphone
Power Supply 1 x AAA alkaline or 1 x AAA Ni-MH 1 x AAA alkaline or 1 x AAA Ni-MH
Battery Life Approximately 27 hours (lp) Approximately 27 hours (lp)
Dimensions 3.9 x 1.6 x 0.6" (100.2 x 40 x 14.8mm) 3.9 x 1.6 x 0.6" (100.2 x 40 x 14.8mm)
Weight (including battery) 2 oz (57 g) 2 oz (57 g)



Hi Mohamed -

The Olympus WS803 is now discontinued.  It has been replaced by this current model:

The Olympus 8GB WS-823 Digital Voice Recorder can record and playback audio files using LPCM, WMA and MP3 formats. The internal 8GB memory supports up to 1980 hours of recording and the included rechargeable battery can power the recorder for up to 37 hours. The WS-823 also has a microSD card slot, so you can add an additional 32GB of external memory. It is equipped with a built-in USB 2.0 connector as well, which supports direct connectivity with your PC or Mac - no USB cable is required. The recorder has a built-in zoom mic with noise cancellation technology, but it also has a microphone jack for connecting an external mic. It supports Voice Balancer, Voice Playback and Voice Changer functions as well. Other features include a calendar search function, a scene select function, six folders that hold up to 200 files each, and support for up to 99 index marks per file.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:

Good job using descriptive language about these products that don't sound like an automaton spit it out of a machine.  Thanks!