Instant recall with CallRec for Palm OS

CallRec turns your PDA into a tape recorder, capturing audio memos and phone calls with the push of a button.

Editor's note: CallRec was tested on a Treo 650.

Pros: Records independently of app, tracks remaining storage, two recording input options, multiple ways to share
Cons: No trigger hot key, two-second lapse with phone call recording

At a baseball game last summer, my friend recorded the incessant howls of a boisterous seatmate with his smart phone, replaying it in my ear with tinny imperfection. Too bad he didn't have a Palm device with CallRec tucked onto his memory card to forever capture the fan's clamorous "woo-woooos" with lifelike clarity.

CallRec is a midsize piece of commercial software (207KB on-phone storage; $30) that makes clear recordings of your notes-to-self and phone calls, and has enough options for tweaking the recording quality to cut out most background noise. The clean, understandable interface provides screen-touch buttons to start, stop, and replay recordings, though you can also initiate and end sessions by pressing the Treo's side button. CallRec names recordings with a time stamp, but it's easy to rename files, and to organize them by file name or duration.

The preferences usefully track the available space on your memory card and convert that into how much recording time you have left. For example, with 30MB of free card space, I can record nearly 24 more minutes at an 11,025 recording sample rate, the second-lowest setting. Change that to a 16,000 sample rate and I now have room to store only 16-and-a-half minutes of audio. It's always possible to reduce a recording's file size by dropping its quality or compressing the file, though if you're a voice-documentation enthusiast, you may be happiest leaving the settings intact and purchasing more memory instead.

My test recordings of voice memos and phone conversations both sounded clear, though CallRec didn't capture the first few seconds of my call after I initiated the voice capture. While the program records fine while other applications run, there's no trigger key to launch the recording independently of the CallRec app. That made recording my incoming phone call a much more belated process, and a more conspicuous one by the time my stylus tap dance was through and the program was open. Top-secret recorders better practice launching CallRec quickly and noiselessly with their fingertips.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.