If you have money to spend, go for the Marantz PMD-670 (see
http://www.d-mpro.com/). This is a piece of pro recording gear that uses
solid state memory cards. Lots of features, reliable, well designed for easy
use, good internal mic (which isn't usually the case), external XLR mic
support, high quality mic preamps, good metering, sounds filters, etc. Sound
quality is very good. UK cost is around 700 UK Pounds. As with a lot of this
type of gear, it's a lot cheaper in the US (US $600). In either case it
seems like a lot of money but if you're paying for a significant amount of
transcription the relative cost is trivial and you'll probably recoup the
money in reduced transcription costs anyway.
Other options that cost 1/3 to 1/2 as much might include:
* Minidisc. Sony just announced a major upgrade to the minidisc format
called Hi-MD. The first Hi-MD recorders will be available in April. See
* Olympus recorders e.g. DM-20. See
* Maybe something like iRiver iHP200 (see http://www.iriveramerica.com/).
Looks better than similar options like the Creative Nomad Jukebox, iPod,
etc. Bear in mind that none of these options are designed for high quality
recording using an external microphone. You can do it but does it make sense?