I wrote about Zoom's nifty $99 H1 pocket recorder last year, and really loved its sound, so I was curious to see how the H2n recorder measured up. It's a bit shorter, just 4.5 inches high, but fatter and a little heavier. The H2n's body is shiny black plastic, but it feels more solidly built than the H1.
It has four recording modes: Mid-Side (MS) stereo, 90 degree X/Y stereo, two-channel, and four-channel surround modes. The H2n can record MP3 files (48 to 320 Kbps) or WAV files (44.1-kHz/16-bit to 96-kHz/24-bit). The "Gain Wheel" knob is a big improvement over the H1's up/down record-level control buttons, and the large 1.8-inch back-lit display is easy to see. A 2 GB SD card is included, but the H2n works with up to 32GB SDHC cards, and there's a USB 2.0 interface to transfer files to a Mac or PC. The H2n runs on two AA batteries, and Zoom claims they're good for up to 20 hours of recording time.
Connectivity is pretty basic; there's a 3.5mm mic input, a 3.5mm headphone/line output, a remote control jack, and that USB port I mentioned before.
I recorded a few musicians rehearsing for a session, and compared the H2n with the H1. Frankly, it was no contest. The differences in clarity and detail were bigger than I expected. The H1 sounded dull and lifeless by comparison; so it was harder to hear the natural reverberation of the room. The H2n is a great little recorder.
Amazon sells the H2n for $188.