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Zoom H1 Handy Recorder White

by Zoom
4 customer reviews

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Product Information

Technical Details
Model NumberH1W
Item Weight136 g
Product Dimensions20.3 x 12.7 x 5.1 cm
Batteries:1 AA batteries required. (included)
Manufacturer Part NumberH1W
Additional Information
Best Sellers Rank 116,281 in Office Products (See top 100)
Shipping Weight204 g
Date First Available17 Sept. 2012

Product Description

The Zoom H1 Portable Digital recorder is Zoom's smallest recorder ever. It is an ultra-compact pocket recorder with renowned recording technology at an affordable price. The H1's on board microphones are configured in an X/Y pattern, for stunning stereo imaging. Get high-resolution, 24-bit and 96 kHz stereo recordings, from a pocket sized recorder. To increase the maximum recording time, you can switch easily from uncompressed PCM recording to space-saving MP3 mode. Thanks to USB 2.0, you can rapidly exchange your recordings with your PC. With a single AAA battery the battery life is around 10 hours. Combining powerful recording capability with elegance and simplicity, the Zoom H1 suits everyone.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Winkle on 18 Feb. 2013
After trying both, I would still stay with the Tascam range of products. You do get what you pay for. But this device scores highly because of its price. The built in mics perform well with good clarity. But I do think the Tascams have the edge for all round use.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. Bauhahn on 3 July 2013
Verified Purchase
This is an excellent and relatively inexpensive device for digital recording. I would recommend supplementing it with a lapel mike (such as an Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone) if you want to record a wandering speaker/singer. I've bought three Zoom H1's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sujana on 3 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase
I just loved it. excellent quality. and the seller delivered it the next day as promised. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for inexpensive and high quality recorder. this product is just too good.
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By Irish Buyer on 28 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase
Great buyer for budget filmmakers. Very good and worth the money. It needs a quality audio cable when connecting it to a dslr. and an audio splitter when you want to monitor and connect.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 661 reviews
387 of 397 people found the following review helpful
Best Little Recorder that Could *updated* 7 Sept. 2010
By Iacobus - Published on
Style Name: H1 Black
***UPDATED, IMPORTANT EDIT*** September 2013: Zoom has released a new firmware (v. 2.10) at their Japanese website (which acts as a download center for their US consumers). The update adds USB 3.0 support.

Go to and click the "downloads" link at the top. Find the link for the H1 under "Recorders." There's an updated manual for version 2.0 as well in Acrobat format. Enjoy! On to the (updated) review...

Straight to the point: If you're considering getting a digital recorder and your needs are simple, seriously consider this one.

The sound is quite phenomenal for a recorder this size and asking price. (Zoom claims the H1 has the same frequency and SPL handing as their popular H2.)

Button/switch placement is intuitive and couldn't be simpler. Need the lo-cut filter? Slide the switch in the back (and the LCD will tell you it's on). When you're ready to record, simply press the big red button on the front. When done recording, press it again. If you want to hear what you've just recorded (via the built-in speaker or the line out jack), simply push the play button on the side of the unit.

There are several functions that will prove useful including adjusting the input level manually (from 1 to 100; *really* useful for loud situations like a rock concert) and being able to actually monitor audio during recording via the line out jack.

The unit records in MP3 and Broadcast WAV formats, in many bit-depths and sample rates. (Max for WAV is 24-bit/96 kHz and 320 kbps for MP3.) Broadcast WAV functions just like any other WAV with the addition of having metadata (like time and date) stamped into the file, which is great for identifying WAVs in audio editors that support the format. The H1 allows you to place markers into WAVs during recording for easy transport/identification during playback in audio editors as well. (The H1 will also jump to these markers while in playback mode should you push the "<<" or ">>" buttons during playback.)

I have not tried the newly-added function of being able to use the H1 as a USB audio interface, mostly because I did not get the H1 for that purpose, though it's very nice to know that such a feature is available to me should I need it. ASIO drivers are available at Zoom's website.

File transfer to your computer is quite fast. (For comparison's sake, the H1 uses Hi-speed USB 2.0 versus the H2's Full-speed USB 2.0. In layman's terms, the H1 is quicker than the H2 file-transfer wise.) The unit is firmware-upgradable and version 2.00 is available at Zoom's website. (Mine came with version 1.02 initially and now runs 2.00.) When you connect to the computer using a (Mini-B to Standard-A) USB cable using version 2.00 of the firmware, the H1 will ask if you want to use the H1 as a card reader or an audio interface. It will eventually default as a card reader if you do not do anything. Otherwise, you simply choose what you want the H1 to do with the record button.

I knew that the H1 was small but I wasn't exactly prepared for how small. If you were to lay your hand flat, the H1 would fit inside it with room to spare. (I have average-sized hands.)

The H1 is so light even with one AA battery that it feels delicate. I wouldn't suggest banging it around. There's a connector for a wrist strap at the bottom of the unit (near the speaker) so if you're concerned about dropping the H1, it might be worth your while to connect a strap.

The cover to the microSD card slot can come open with just a nudge which might annoy you while handing the H1. (I should also note the cover is made of a hard plastic but looks like it might come off and break with enough force; just be careful as you open it.) The tripod mounting joint is also made of plastic so you might not want to overtighten when mounting the H1. Like most recorders, the H1's sensitive mics are prone to handling noise.

There doesn't seem to be any way of recording in mono; it would have to be done post-production.

Get the H1 Accessory Pack as well but also get a RedHead windscreen (or similar) to boot; the included windscreen in the Accessory Pack is great for voice/plosives and all but horrible for wind noise (which is not surprising since it's a foam windscreen). One needs more to baffle the wind only a "dead cat" type windscreen can provide.

I know I forgot things but I wanted to make this as concise as possible, pros and cons. It's simply a great recorder and I was not disappointed.

UPDATED EDIT 2010: Since my initial review, two months have passed by, so I thought I'd give my updated thoughts. There are some reports that the H1 is draining batteries faster than normal even while the H1 is off. This is obviously not in every unit as I do not have this issue. (I had mine since official release, which was August 20, 2010.) A quick way to find if you have a defective H1 is to simply check the battery within a day. If it's quite low or no battery power, contact Samson (in the U.S.) and let them know.

There are users who claim that the H1 is shoddily built. My challenge to that is, What were you expecting for $99 USD? Gold? As I said in my review, the H1 is so darned light with a battery in it it's hard to not think of it as delicate. Is it so shoddy that users who are careful with their electronics shouldn't pick it up? Oh, heck no. It's not like the H1's casing is made of plastic that's so pliable it's pathetic. It feels solid enough at least in my hand.

Obviously, if your needs put you in a situation where durability is a concern, the H1 might not be for you. I would think this was common sense all things considered.

Of course, a note on the sound: It is quite superb. I've done (far) more than a bunch of recordings already and there are times where I have to check to see if what I'm hearing is coming from my monitors or in the real world. (I thought someone was presently mowing their lawn off in the distance when, in fact, they were not.) It's that good.
99 of 104 people found the following review helpful
Zoom quality audio 18 Sept. 2010
By Peter Hyatt - Published on
Style Name: H1 Black
I had the Zoom H2 for years and loved it. One day, I plugged in the wrong AC adaptor and fried the unit. ugh!

I was familiar with the H2 and was comfortable with it but its tiny screen was hard for me to read and it took quite a bit of time for me to get used to the interfacing.

The H1 is simple and having the controls on the device make it far more user friendly. It is tiny, smaller than I thought, which is great.

The sound quality is equal to the Q3, though this tiny unit feels fragile compared to the Q3. The plastic concerns me as I'm not sure it will hold up well. The Q3 feels more solid. I don't have a professional musician's ear, but the sound quality seemed to me to equal the recordings I have done with the H2. The "cd quality" sound is what I got when recording guitar, harmonica and vocals.

Other reviewers have wisely recommended the protective case and the mics are highly sensitive. The lo-cut feature (just a switch) nicely cuts out background noise.

Strangely, the unit is not made well for standing up straight. If you use the H2 platform, for instance, it means laying the H1 on its side. However, for best recording, Zoom recommends aiming the microphones directly towards the subject.

The mics appear to have a little "give" to them, as they wiggle slightly, and the plastic dome that covers them does not appear strong. This concerns me.

The door that opens for the microcard is very fragile and I thought I broke it the first time I opened it. I plan to leave it alone and not swap cards but transfer songs via interface. Handle with care; or as another reviewer said; put in the card and leave it alone. That is my plan.

With these issues addressed, the bottom line is the wonderful Zoom recording quality for a great price, with user friendly controls that can be learned in under 10 minutes. For guitar, piano, vocals, recording bands, bluegrass jams, etc, it seems to sound as nice as the H2 did, without the complex interface. If the unit was just a bit sturdier (like the protection of the mics), it would be a 5 star recorder. The audio sound is 5 star quality.
125 of 141 people found the following review helpful
Great but not idiot proof 12 Sept. 2010
By Bob Costa - Published on
Style Name: H1 Black Verified Purchase
I own a Zoom H4N. I bought the H1 so I could do casual recording of live music while out in bars. The Pros: It has great mikes, like all ZOOMs. It does a nice job of being directional (and minimizing crowd conversations, etc). At one gig, it was set a couple of feet in front of us on the table, and picked up almost no talking. It is VERY tiny, and you could probably turn it on and stick it to a wall with some double-sided carpet tape (getting above the crowd noise). I am working out how to bungie cord it to a pole. Although starting it up take a full minute with a 16GB card, once it is on it is unobtrusive and fits in my pocket even with a mini-tripod attached.

The Big Con. The auto-level will drive you insane. After recording three different bands, I can say that unless I learn more than I already know, using the autolevel is useless in a band/bar environment. It will record at full volume for a while (5-15 seconds of the song) , and then dramatically cut the gain (50% or more) to the point that the recording can really only be used if you get with an editing program later on and fix the screwed up volume levels. I would not even give the unedited recording to the band, as the volume switching is insanely bad, IMHO, the auto level switching algorithms need to be reconsidered and tweaked for a less-techie environment. Perhaps faster and more gradual adjustments? But I am not a pro-engineer, just an amateur with enough knowledge to be dangerous. I have worked with other AGC circuits that are much more useful.

I am going this afternoon to record another band, and will try it with manual-only settings to see if that is practical. I suspect it will have its own issues, since bands tend to change levels from song to song. Monitoring is not practical, and adjusting volumes is tedious. This device is VERY sensitive to handling noise. I will post an update to this review if I learn anything useful about how to solve this problem.

I also agree with the other comments to get a RedHead windscreen. They are awesome, whereas foam windscreens are mostly useless. The door for the MicroSD card seems very fragile. I thought I broke mine opening it. Be careful installing it, and then never touch it again. If you really want to monitor recordings, get some good noise-isolation ear plugs, and forget earbuds or cheap headphones. I did NOT buy the accessory kit, since phones, windscreen, etc are useless. Buy ala carte.

My hope was to have a real one-button solution to recording bands (set it and forget it), and I am not sure this device meets that target yet. I have also not yet tried a calmer environment like a solo performer. That is in the plans for tomorrow. The AGC may work fine there.
57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
ZOOM H1 Unpacking & Overview 16 Nov. 2011
By Miles Baker - Published on
Style Name: H1 Black Verified Purchase
Video overview of what comes with the Zoom H1, what it looks like, and some if it's features and characteristics. After further testing I found the audio quality to be incredibly good!
106 of 127 people found the following review helpful
Serious battery drain when not in use 7 Nov. 2010
By Bmcgar - Published on
Style Name: H1 Black Verified Purchase
This unit does exactly what it's supposed to, and does it well. I'm very satisfied with its performance.

However, I own three of these, and when turned off, they all drain a fresh battery in about 24 hours. Apparently Zoom/Samson acknowledges that this is a problem with many of the units they've manufactured, and will fix the problem when found, but I'd prefer to have a recorder that doesn't have basic problems, and not have to go through all the rigmarole required and the time spent to send it back to the manufacturer for a fix.

If you buy this recorder, and you get a bad one, you can either send it back or put the battery in only when you use it.
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