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22 Jun 2019

Review: Zoom H5 Handheld Recorder

producer/hardware Review: Zoom H5 Handheld Recorder

We are now going to have a closer look at the Zoom field/hand recorder range consisting of the H1n, H5, and H6. Zoom is one of the leading brands when it comes to developing high-quality and innovative field recorders. Zoom managed to innovate with their field recorders, this resulted in some stunning functions we will point out to you in the review.

So, you are considering a Zoom field recorder? Read on!

What is the Zoom H5 perfect for?

The Zoom H5 is a great and small field recorder that can be used for many occasions! Put the H5 on top of your camera, use it to record guitar or other instruments or even to record your interview or a podcast.

Since the Zoom H5 can record up to 4 channels at the same time, it’s a great recorder to have that won't limit you in functionalities very quickly. It’s a bit more compact than the H6 and comes with a plastic case. So, you would probably never need the full 6 channels but if 4 is enough for you and you want a smaller device, the H5 is great! It’s just a smaller and simpler version compared to the H6.

In the box

The Zoom H5 comes with one mic capsule that you can switch. Also, a very compact plastic box that will make sure to protect the H5 from any damage when carrying it in your bag. It also includes batteries, windshield, USB-cable and a manual.

Just like the H6, you have enough to get you started with when you receive the box! And of course, the option to expand with all the other Zoom accessories. Please note that the extension to record 4 XLR/TSR at the same time must be purchased individually for around €60.

Important functions of the Zoom H5

The H5 records 24-bit / 96kHz audio and has an SPL shock-mounted X/Y capsule delivered with it. You can control the inputs individually and easily switch them on and off as well. Phantom power is also integrated when turned on.

The H5 has a built in speaker to play your recording instantly and for other people to check the recording. The display is very clean and easy to get an idea of the sound levels with your recording. It  is also enough display to see what is happening but compared to the H6 it’s harder to see everything since it is not a colored display and a bit smaller.

The H5 can hold 2 x AA batteries that are included and give you up to 15 hours recording time. It can also place an SD card up to 32GB. The H5 has a build in compressor, limiter, and low-cut filter.

Just like the H6 the H5 has switchable microphone options which are so great! There is no difference between the switchable mics between the H5 and H6.

The build quality

The H5 has a soft rubber outside which feels very solid. The input volume buttons are protected by a metal bar to avoid changing it accidentally when recording. It’s a very solid device and the case will allow you to avoid damaging it in your bag.

Taking off the microphone capsule is a very smooth process. The microphone that comes with the H5 has a very small but well- built shock mount. The microphone capsule is made from plastic and is maybe a bit more fragile.


The H5 is the smaller brother compared with the H6. The H6 is a bit of better build, has a stronger color display and can handle 2 more inputs. However, the H5 is perfect if you want to spend a bit less and don’t need 6 channels at the same time. 

In general, the H5 is really great value for the money and is used by many professionals in the music industry!

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