Griffin iTalk Review

Sorry for the delay, I just edited it as best I could to get it up. Enjoy!

I bought a Griffin iTalk. After using it for a few classes, I felt compelled to write an article on my real-world experiences.

Here’s the equipment I have:


I made sure the battery was topped off as much as possible before class.

iPod fast-charges the battery to 80 percent of capacity in an hour. However, it can take 4 hours to fully recharge the battery.

Source: Tips and tricks to get the most out of your iPod’s battery

So, I kept it plugged in for an hour, then unplugged it and replugged it back in for the rest of the evening. By then, it had to be full!


My first two classes (MWF) are about 50 minutes in length, while if I have accounting (MW), that’s about two hours. So, my iPod would have to last about four hours max.

I sat near the front in my first two classes, and in my third class, I’m in the back. I’m essentially testing the ranges, since I sit anywhere from 10 feet to 30 feet away.

If I was less than 15 feet away, then the teacher came in pretty clear. The one where I’m in the first row, when she gets excited in her lecture, then the audio gets a little distorted. My last class on Wednesday where I sat in the very back. At the end of my classes for that day, around the 3:30 mark, my battery meter was empty but still recording. No matter what, I wanted to record as much as I could – and it lasted.


I got in the car, turned the Belkin Auto Kit all the way up, the stereo bass all the way down, and listened to my Religion class (20ft). Pretty nice, not too loud. My English class (10ft) was next, and that was loud and clear. My last accounting class was (estimating) maybe 30-35 feet away, and that was too soft. The next time I recorded my accounting class, I put it at the side of the room by the wall, away from everyone but to the side of the teacher. When he was at the front, the iTalk picked up his vocals pretty well. Unfortunately, he’s one of the teachers that move around the classroom. (Not to worry, he’s still one of my favorites!)

The majority of the time, my iPod was on my desk. If I rustled some papers or coughed, it picked up the sound up very well.

Like all the other people that comment on the integrated iTalk speaker, it’s not suitable to listen to the voice recordings. It really was over-hyped. However, if you play a song at almost full blast thru the tiny speaker, it has the potential to be a decent alarm clock (if you’re not a heavy sleeper). Personally, I’ll use headphones or listen to it in the car when I’m driving alone the majority of the time. But even then, you need to turn the volume up fairly high.

Usage Ideas

One thing you can do is after your class(es) is you can talk into it with a proper intro explaining the class lecture for the day, and any points you felt were important. Then when you get home, you can listen to it and transcribe it onto paper, except in a more organized manner.

Last night, we watched a movie for my one evening class. Afterwards, he wanted us to write a response about the movie to turn in for next week. Right when I got into my car, and drove off, I had the iTalk plugged in and I was dictating a crud summary of what happened in the movie. That way, when I type it up, it’ll refresh my memory.

Another idea I’m going to try is memorizing vocabulary words onto it. I can have flash cards, but I can also read the words and definitions into the iTalk. Then at night, or in the car, listen to it. Hopefully it’ll sink in better!

Additional Notes

When I was taking notes in one class, in the margins I’d note the time on the iPod where the teacher switched topics. That way, if I’m studying and I can’t remember what the teacher explained, I can more quickly browse to the (almost) exact spot for that particular lecture.


There were times when the iPod would be on, I’d plug in the iTalk to record, but a few seconds later, it’d stop counting up. I can’t recall the source, but you’re more likely to avoid problems if you plug your iTalk in when the iPod isn’t on.


I would recommend this if you have to record audio for under 4 hours max, unplugged. With an electrical source, it could go for an even longer period of time. It’s definitely been a valuable tool for studying.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. Cat whisperer. Sometimes, a photographer and card magician.

13 thoughts on “Griffin iTalk Review”

  1. hi! i liked your description and tips on additional notes. i’ve got an italk about 2 weeks ago and am also fairly satisfied. the only problem i find is that static noise in the memo and was wondering wether this is normal of a mono recording or of the italk itself. do you experience the same problem?


  2. Wow, I didn’t know searching “iTalk review” would yield this post to be the 2nd listing in Google – sweet!

    Other than the hard drive spinning, I think mine sounds fine. When I record in my car, there’s a lot of different things affecting the audio quality, so it’s hard for me to say. In the classroom, it’s the same thing because I leave it on my desk and if I bump or rustle some papers, it’ll pick it up easily.

    I ordered a Griffin Lapel Mic over the weekend, and it should be in either today or tomorrow, so hopefully my audio will be near perfect (for what I want to use it for).

    Recording from iPod Linux was pretty good, but it was still finicky. At least it allows you to record in a higher bitrate.


  3. Yeah, I…um…haven’t used it since I bought it. I’m terrible, Eric, simply terrible. Lapel mic and iTalk is sitting in my car, so when the time comes, I’ll try to use it.

    Now that I think about it, I’m sure a standalone recorder would be better. I should save up for an iRiver or something.


  4. Did anyone else notice a loss of a second or two every now and then on playback? I can see the seconds skip while recording. I have a 30gig video


  5. @Eric2: I have no idea. I haven’t used my Griffin iTalk in a long time, especially since switching to recording with my iRiver Ultra Portable media player.


  6. i’ve had an iTalk for a few months and i use it for band rehearsals and i have the same very annoying problem of the audio skipping.

    if you only use it for voice recording you probably won’t notice it happening but with music it’s a real pain and makes the product pretty much useless for me.

    i’ve contacted griffin they said try another one – i did – no joy..

    it sounds to me like it can’t write the information quick enough either because they haven’t ironed out the technology or because the iPod doesn’t have enough contiguous freespace but either way when you buy something it should do what it claims..


  7. i’ve tried repairing my ipod using tech tool and disk warrior

    and i tried recording on the low quality setting on low gain
    so the problem of overloading the italk did not result in it
    having to write ‘too much’ data.

    all of these measures should not have to be taken but even so
    with all these concessions to the italk it still skips.

    i think i can say that i have exhaustively tested this item
    now more than any review of it that i have read and as far as
    i am concerned this is not a recording device.

    i am going back to my minidisc – at least that works


  8. ..and one more thing..

    i am fed up with being told that new technologies are so great – save us time, are smaller better – la la la

    at least when you bought a VHS recorder it worked – you didn’t have to check you had the latest drivers or some crap and if it didn’t work then you got another one – you didn’t get talked around by someone in ‘support’ practicing damage-limitation.

    from the griffin website – “Your recording length is only limited by the battery life of your iPod and by the amount of available hard disk space.”

    this is balls – it records when it feels like it.


  9. @Simon: I know how you feel. Some gadgets shouldn’t be toted as the end-all solution. I’m sure the iPod wasn’t meant for a serious recording utility. It’s too bad Griffin did.


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