I'm gonna go ahead and give you all a full report on my recently purchased and returned Olympus ws710-m, as it pertains to blogging and fiction writing. Kind of a review, but one on the concept more than that particular device.
Recording in stereo was pretty awesome, The recording quality was definitely better with the dedicated device than it is with my phone or mp3 player. This is the biggest plus of having a dedicated device, if you need high quality audio, like for podcasts, reporting, basically consumption by others.
Also, a separate device was nice because my phone is clunky to record on. I never had to worry about missing calls or texts, stopping an mo3 to pull up the recorder on my player, that kind of thing. I never used any of the additional functions of the ws710-m (mo3 player, FM radio, can be used as usb drive), but it was nice that they were there if I did want them.
The fact that it was another device was a downside as well as an advantage. Having to remember to carry around a third thing, worry about power, juggle devices, the whole experience can be summed up by the phrase "three's a crowd". So the pros and cons of a dedicated device basically cancel each other out in this regard.
The other big con was the cost. This recorder was fairly expensive, compared to the cost of other tech in my life. As voice recorders go, the ws710-m is actually only mid-range or so, kind of the highest lower end product. Even so, the outlay of money was questionable for something that basically just did a job that something I already carried could do, even if it did it better.
This negative became even more glaring when I compared the cost of the other two devices, which do many things, to the cost of this one device. Basically, the recorder was more expensive, and narrower (a function of being really good at one thing.)
The final problem I had was uneven levels between the two speakers on the recorder I received. The left side mic was hotter, and always recorded at a higher gain. This was a deal breaker for me, no sense spending the money and hassling with a third device if it doesn't work flawlessly. The seller I bought it from was gracious enough to accept a return and refund my money, so that was a bright spot.
I was considering getting another one, but my recent problems uploading podcast to the hosting solution I chose are swaying that idea. I don't need a swank recorder for notes to myself, so if I'm not recording podcasts on the go, it's just not necessary. For Armadillocon, I am now just planning on using my mp3 player to record, as it does adequate quality.
The final nail in the coffin was me getting a Coby Kyros 7022 Android 2.3 tablet. The money that was originally slated for replacing the recorder is spent now. The Kyros is a 7" capacitive model, and I expect to get a lot broader use out of it than I would a recorder, so I am happy about this turn of events.
I will consider getting another recorder sometime in the future, if I find one I like better. Bang-for-the-buck is a big factor though, and the Kyros, at roughly twice the price, does so much more than twice the work.