Sony ICD-UX570 vs Zoom H1n

Sony-ICD-UX570 vs Zoom H1n

In this post I am going to compare the Sony ICD-UX570 to the Zoom H1n.

If you are reader of our blog, you know I don’t like making these comparisons. And that’s mainly because voice recorders are not interchangeable.

The best voice recorder for you will depend on your intended use. And that will be the main focus of this post; functionality or best use cases for each recorder. If you want an in-depth review of each recorder, check out our Sony ICD-UX570 review and/or the Zoom H1n review.

In this post, I am going to share with you one feature (and corresponding use case) of each voice recorder that I like, and dislike while comparing it to the other recorder.

Let’s get to it.



The good

If you have read my review of the Sony ICD-UX570 you know that I love this recorder. And that’s because of the internal battery. I have to admit, when I first got its predecessor, the ux560 – I was skeptical about a voice recorder having an internal battery. But 8 years later, I have grown to love it.

That’s because the internal battery on the Sony ICD-UX570 make it very convenient to use. It takes the Sony ICD-UX570 less than a second to power up. I have timed it.

Within a couple of seconds, I can grab my Sony ICD-UX570, start it, and start recording. Within 2 seconds. That is very convenient.  

Compare this to the Zoom H1n. First I have to look for AAA batteries – you don’t want to store your recorder with alkaline batteries in it. Then insert the batteries into the recorder and power it on. Set the date and time, then start recording. That takes about 40 seconds. And if you don’t have an SD card inserted into the recorder, that’s another 10 seconds before you can start to record. With the batteries and the SD card in the Zoom H1n, it still takes 10 seconds to power up!

Once you factor in the time it takes you to find your batteries and a compatible SD card, it realistically takes you 2-5 minutes before you can start recording on the Zoom H1n. While on the Sony ICD-UX570, you can start recording in 2 seconds. That’s a huge win for the Sony ICD-UX570 over the Zoom H1n.

If you want an easy to use recorder, get the Sony ICD-UX570

The bad

Though I love the Sony ICD-UX570, it has its limitations. The glaring one, in comparison to the Zoom H1n, is its inability to record audio of higher quality than 44100Hz/16bit. While it’s nice to be able to record uncompressed audio you only have the option of recording LPCM 44100Hz/16bit audio on the Sony ICD-UX570.

There are instances where you may need to record your audio data at a higher bitrate, for instance if you are conducting oral history interviews. Or if you are recording in noisy location and you plan to post process your audio. So I do wish I was able to record higher quality audio with the Sony ICD-UX570.

Zoom H1n

Zoom H1n

The good

What I really love about the Zoom Zoom H1n is the design. This is a digital recorder that is built like a microphone. It fits perfectly into my hand. And I don’t currently own another recorder that is as good as being a handheld microphone. It just feels very comfortable in your hand. With the Sony ICD-UX570, you will need to get accustomed to holding it up – it’s designed to be placed on surface.

And for this reason, and the X-Y stereo configuration on the Zoom H1n (good for recording at proximity and less phase issues), I consider the Zoom Zoom H1n to be the best handheld digital voice recorder.

If you plan to conduct interviews in locations you’ll need to hold up a digital recorder to your subject (in the field, on the go), then this is the recorder you should get.  And that’s how I use it. But it’s also a great recorder when used as a USB microphone. So podcasting, Skype, screencasts, or when you are conducting remote interviews, that’s when the Zoom H1n shines.

The bad

One of the biggest gripes I have with the Zoom H1n is that it only compatible with microSDHC cards. I really don’t mind that it does not come with internal memory, so you always need to record into a microSD card. But the fact that you are limited to 32GB max SD card is really unfortunate.

If you record audio at 96000Hz/24bit, you only have 15 hours of recording capacity. That might not be a deal breaker, but microSDHC cards are becoming harder to find. I recently had a chat with Samsung and they were not forthcoming about when their microSDHC cards are going to come back to the market.

Have they discontinued production? That’s my guess.

A quick search at Amazon and you will find 64GB microSDXC cards that are at the same price or cheaper than 32GB microSDHC cards. And that’s not a good sign.

Hopefully, this is not going to balloon into a big issue for Zoom H1n owners in the near future. Knock on wood.

If you plan to record audio at 96000Hz/24bit, my advice would be to buy a few 32GB microSDHC, or remember to transfer audio to your computer frequently.

In conclusion

Sony-ICD-UX570 vs Zoom H1n

I recommend the Zoom H1n and the Sony ICD-UX570. If you are looking for an easy to use recorder, get the Sony ICD-UX570. However, if you are looking for a high fidelity, hand-held voice recoder consider the Zoom H1n.

That’s it for this post. Hope you enjoyed it and it has answered your burning questions on Zoom H1n and Sony ICD-UX570 comparison. If you have further questions or suggestions, let me know in the comment section below. Over to you.


Isaac here. At Weloty, we provide bespoke academic transcription services to qualitative researchers. If you wish to hire us, get in touch. Please note that if you choose to buy the products we recommend as a result of our research and testing, we’ll get paid some money through an affiliate commission from the retailer when you make a purchase. You can find out more here.

8 responses to “Sony ICD-UX570 vs Zoom H1n”

  1. Jose Booth Avatar
    Jose Booth

    Thanks for the review!! I just made up my mind about which one to get!! Thanks again!!

  2. Ray Avatar

    For my master’s thesis 30 years ago, I used a cassette recorder for oral history interviews.

    I’d like to do more now.

    I bought the Zoom H1n months ago. I am intimidated by it and have not begun my interviews.

    I’m considering SONY ICD-UX570.

    I don’t understand this:

    “There are instances where you may need to record your audio data at a higher bitrate, for instance if you are conducting oral history interviews.”

    Would you be able to elucidate?

    Thank You!

    1. Isaac Avatar

      I remember those tape recorders, they were good.
      The Sony UX570 can only record at the 44.1kHz sampling rate.
      While the H1n can record at higher sampling rate; 48kHz and 98kHz.
      Some oral history archival projects may require you to record at a higher sampling rate than 44.1kHz.
      If they do, get the H1n over the UX570, if not – the UX570 is much easier to use.
      Though, I am in the process of writing a series of how-tos for the H1n – it can be intimidating.
      Let me know if you have any pain points using the H1n and I’ll include them in the blog series.

  3. Ray Avatar

    Thank you for your quick reply, Isaac.

    After reading review/comparisons, I purchased the Sony way back in October.

    But unfortunately, it’s not user friendly, IMHO.

    I’ve watched many videos such as:

    But haven’t gotten far enough to have any specific questions.

    Would interviewing my Mom, Godmother, and other elders require higher than 44.1kHz?

    1. Isaac Avatar

      If you plan to submit the recordings for archival – then yes, it is recommended that you record audio at higher sampling rates and bit rates.
      For personal use – I don’t think it matters that much.
      Sorry to hear that you are having issues using your UX570. Check out this blog post. I penned it for the UX560, but it is very similar to the UX570 and covers all the basic functionality and settings you need to know to record interviews.

      1. Ray Avatar

        I have an Sony H1n, NOT a UX570.

        I will read your link.

        Yes, personal use.

  4. Jeff Avatar

    I think you must have misunderstood the storage capacity for the Zoom H1n. It can take micro SDXC cards up to 128gb. And I can assure you there is absolutely no shortage of micro SDXC cards. A 128gb card can be bought for between 10 and 25 bucks.
    If you’re only interested in recording speech, sure, the Sony is fine. But if you’re interested in recording, something more sophisticated, like music, the Zoom is light years better than the Sony.

    1. Isaac Avatar

      Unless there is a new model (the 2023 Model only supports microSDHC cards) of the H1n, you are limited to 32GB on the H1n.
      I have not seen a reduced supply of the microSDHC cards, though now I regularly see them sold as bundles of 2 or 3. That’s good – still more expensive than similar capacity SDXC cards.
      My main audience are researchers who are looking to record interviews/focus group discussions. And for that use case, I’d recommend the Sony UX570 over the H1n every-single-day.

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