One of my coworkers wanted a simple audio data recorder to do some interviews. Here was my response to her:
Sorry to take a few days to get back to you on the audio recorders. I think you said you wanted a digital audio recorder that you could use to transfer files back to your computer, that eliminates several of the sub-$50 models and so the cheapest ones are all in the $50-100 range and above.
There are a couple of Sony models in this price range, but I find that Sony usually has complicated user interfaces and really bad software, so unless you're a huge Sony fan, I'd generally avoid:
I'd instead recommend Olympus. They tend to have simpler interfaces that are easier to use and harder to mess up:
There are models that go on up from there, but unless you want to record live audio (concert performances, etc.) then they are overkill.