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Multiplatform review: new, heavily enhanced version of LivePVR call recorder etc. out

Guest Menneisyys

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Guest Menneisyys

It was two and a half years ago that I’ve reviewed the initial version of LivePVR.

With the recent upgrade to version 3.0, a great deal of new functionality has been added to the newly-announced “Pro” and “Enterprise” versions, adding for example online backup (which is pretty much comparable to PMRecorder’s online backup support) and voicemail / answering machine capabilities. (The latter is pretty useful and has always been supported by other apps on the Symbian S60 operating system; and, lately, on Windows Mobile too – see iSecretary; also see THIS for more info.)

In this article, I only discuss call recording capabilities, stability and reliability, which is a central issue under Symbian S60 (and, to a lesser degree, Windows Mobile, where there already are three excellent apps to record calls: Resco Audio Recorder, VITO AudioNotes and the free (!) PMRecorder, making the demand for a call recorder smaller). Also note that, on Windows Mobile, call recording has lately been enabled; see my article Windows Mobile Revolution: call recording supported on almost ALL handsets! for more info. Finally, please check out THIS for the additional capabilities of the Pro / Enterprise versions. As I’m not really interested in them (as opposed to call recording, which is very important to me), I didn’t waste time on thoroughly testing these features (testing call recording on S60 and the two Windows Mobile platforms, using three versions, took me a lot ot time).

First and foremost, you need to remember that there are two sources of different LivePVR versions. Softtrends’ own homepage only has the old 2.08 (Symbian) / 2.90 (WM) versions, while the new livepvrplus.com page has the new one. Nevertheless, if you’re a WM user and want to give the trial version a try, you’ll want to prefer the former (old) version – the new (3.0) one has messed up recording. (Once auto-started upon a call, it won’t stop by itself. You’ll need to manually stop recording and, then, exit and restart the program entirely so that it becomes able to record new calls and play back old recordings.) Note that this doesn’t apply to Symbian S60, where the new version works flawlessly.

Purchasing, price

If you only need call recording (again, you will only want to purchase the current version if you’re on Symbian S60 – the Windows Mobile port of the new, 3.0 version is, currently, buggy, making call recording almost useless), I recommend the Standard version, which only costs $9.99. You can pay by PayPal and immediately receive a non-IMEI-dependent registration number.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re on Windows Mobile:

If you are looking for an app that you’d use its automatic call recording capabilities, do NOT install the current (3.00) version. Use the alternative call recorders instead; most importantly, Resco Audio Recorder, VITO AudioNotes or PMRecorder.

If you’re on Symbian S60:

Heavily recommended over the alternative titles (VITO AudioNotes, ALON MP3 Dictaphone), as long as the beeping isn’t an issue:

- Compared to ALON MP3 Dictaphone 2.87 (see review HERE),

a. it doesn’t crash when recording to a memory card (ALON crashes about once every five calls when using AMR);

b. while the ALON app can also record into MP3’s (when used as a standalone voice recorder, NOT recommended for phone call recording, where the native AMR is the best format to record into on S60), it continuously crashes even when recording to the internal memory. That is, its MP3 capabilities are pretty useless in practice; this means the lacking MP3 recording capabilities of LivePVR aren’t that big an issue. (And, if you do need them, get VITO AudioNotes for standalone (!) MP3 recording.)

c. Also, LivePVR auto-starts itself (if you do enable this under Options / Prefereces / Autostart On Device Boot) upon bootup, unlike the ALON app. (Still speaking of the menu settings, also make sure you go to Options / Settings / Recording Settings under the call recording icon (that is, NOT the main screen with the 3+ main icons!) and switch “PhoneCall features” to “Enabled” to enable automatic recordings. It’s also here that you can switch between the two (WAV and AMR) formats for recording; I recommend the latter.)

d. The definite problem: the ALON app surpresses the beep at the third/ fourth second. Not so with LivePVR – at least not on the v30 Nokia N95.

- Compared to VITO AudioNotes, it doesn’t have problems with cutting at the end – just remember to press the red button on the recording handheld about 1 second later that you stop speaking. It also supports boot-time loading and doesn’t seem to get killed upon “out of memory” situations, unlike AudioNotes (and like the ALON app). I’ve tested the latter quite a lot and (so far) couldn’t make the system (Nokia N95 running the v30 firmware) terminate LivePVR, which is definitely a good thing.

A chart of the OS compatibility of the currently available, tested versions (as you can see, I didn’t bother with the Pro 3.0 version; I assumed it has exactly the same call recording module as the Standard / Enterprise version and, therefore, doesn’t run on Windows Mobile:


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