Journalists and public relations practitioners often find themselves conducting interviews or sitting through lengthy meetings with audio recorders in hand, ready to catch every word and piece of information for use in an article or press release. The biggest hassle of recording everything, however, is sifting through two hours of audio listening and transcribing important information from these lengthy meetings or interviews. One way to avoid this is by using the free Android app Cogi Voice Recorder, which moves away from large audio files in favor of recording the highlights of a conversation.
The Cogi Voice Recorder is relatively easy to use. Once a user launches the application they tap their screen to start a session. When the user starts a session, Cogi begins listening, but not recording the conversation. The user will tap the highlight button to begin recording what was said and tap again to stop recording. Cogi will continue to listen until the user stops the session.
What makes this recorder unique is its ability to rewind for audio highlights because it's listening to the conversation, but not actually recording it. A user can select in the highlight settings to rewind 5, 15, 30, or 45 seconds once they tap the screen to highlight. This way if something important or interesting is said, a user isn't scrambling to hit the highlight button and miss out on part of the conversation.
Cogi also lets a user type notes while an audio session is happening so they can save them for later; it also allows users to launch their phone's camera to take a photo, which will display on the session review page.
Once the session is ended users can review it in the next tab, which shows any photos or notes taken as well as the date of the session. Cogi supports tagging sessions with the name of one or more of a user's phone contacts for searching. It also uses Twitter-style hashtags to add descriptions for sessions; however, it doesn't allow for tags to be used on individual highlights.
Cogi Voice Recorder is a great way to record the highlights of a conversation, offering users the ability to add notes and photos to a session for future reference. The app is free on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Cogi is incredibly easy to use and set up and also has pricing plans for additional features starting at $15 a month. Paying for the Cogi app allows users to record and highlight conversations of phone calls, as well as transcribe recorded audio for $1.50 a minute. This can be extremely useful for journalists or PR practitioners who are on a time crunch and can't quickly transcribe audio themselves.
The biggest limitation of Cogi Voice Recorder is the specs of the phone it's utilized on. Cogi is completely reliant on the microphone embedded in the phone, so the recording quality is limited as a result. To mitigate this issue, users can plug a microphone into the 3.5mm headset jack of their device to capture higher quality audio.
On a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge the audio quality was good, although it isn't the greatest for isolating noise and will pick up the rustling of papers or anything that isn't a person's voice. The user's voice is also exceptionally louder compared to anyone else speaking. It's comparable to low-priced audio recorders, but can't compete with the quality found in expensive equipment.
While a user can change the description of the audio file in the application, they can't change the file name, so if they plan on transferring the sound files to another device the file names will remain untouched and unreadable.
Cogi is great for capturing highlights, but because it has limited storage space (500 free megabytes) an audio recorder would be more efficient if a journalist or PR practitioner needs to record a meeting in its entirety. An hour long meeting downloaded as an MP3 file takes up about 113 megabytes of space; this doesn't include highlighted photos.
Battery life is also a concern, as the app will somewhat drain a phone battery. On a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge the consumption wasn't too drastic, but on older phones that have shorter battery lives this app may pose an issue if it's utilized for long interviews or meetings.
Cogi Video Recorder is a useful app that's simple, easy to use and great for journalists and PR practitioners who desire accessibility and ease of use. However, the usefulness of the app is reduced for users who own a high quality audio recorder or use a DSLR camera to take photos.
The biggest draw is that it's free, so users don't have to shell out hundreds of dollars on equipment and materials that they have to lug around everywhere. The ability to record phone conversations and have audio transcribed under the paid plan is also an attractive feature of the application.
Many recording applications in the Play Store try to simply reinvent the wheel. The Cogi Video Recorder app actually brings something new to the table and should be considered by anyone who doesn't already own high quality recording equipment.