Summary: I have to put this out there: As a paranormal Investigator I own quite a few digital recorders for collecting EVP. It is a pleasant anomaly that I have pulled more EVP from recordings made with this older Sony model than all my other recorders, even most expensive high quality units. I can't say why this is but I know it to be the truth. I advise adding one to your equipment bag.
Summary: I have experience with the icd-p520. It is a good reliable performer for my purposes which is primarily for recording interviews conducted for market research. I was able to get it for about half of the model that I would prefer. The buttons and the recording indicator are a bit small but for my purpose as long as I push record before speaking then all is well and good sound although stereo would be nice. Great battery life.
Summary: I bought this recorder for class. I really like it, it is easy to use, clarity is good, and you can split up the recordings into folders (if set up before recording), the manual helps for some applications. It is small, easy to carry, and easy upload you recordings to your computer. Recordings can be played with itunes and ipods, and probably other mp3 players but that I am not sure about. I'm pretty satisfied with my purchase.
Summary: I needed a voice recorder for school, so I bought this item... It has GREAT range, and on high quality record with the mic sensitivity set to high, it doesn't miss a word from all the way across a large room. The VOX function is great, as it makes a seamless recording with undetectable starts and stops. Also, the connectivity to the computer was a plus, and the added feature of being able to separate one recording into many without aid of the computer is very convenient.
Summary: Very compact, very convenient. I bought refurbished as well so all that I'm hoping for is that it lasts at least 2 years. Other than that, I'm happy to have bought it since it will come in handy for my classes. Buttons and functions are actually pretty commonsensical... not sure why other reviewers are saying that it's hard to use.
Summary: I needed a small, efficient recording device to give my wife for some recording she needed to do with her family. This was just the product. It's simple to use and can be downloaded to a computer.