Sound Quality, but Too Many Other Problems
I returned the R-26 within a few days. Sound quality was actually pretty decent, especially for the price. But there were a number of things that killed the deal.
1. Not usable hand-held. The plastic case transmits way too much noise to the internal mics. To get a clear recording, it must be mounted to a mic stand or frozen in your hand without movement of any kind. No fiddling with the menu or adjusting controls once recording has started. This is the key design failure. I got this specifically to use the internal mics in hand-held situations, without a lot of setup time.
2. The internal mic housing at the top of the unit looks beefy in the photo, but it's actually wimpy plastic, designed to look like cast metal. One drop and it would snap right off. Not robust enough for field use. Is there a law against using real metal parts? Even a simple metal mesh covering the entire top of the unit would be far better - the same proven system we've seen on hand-held mics for what, 50 years?
3. The display is pretty awful too; technology from 10 years ago. Not enough contrast for easy reading, more like medium gray on a light gray background. Max time in backlit mode: 20 seconds. That's all you get. There's no option to leave it turned on. Touch-screen action is also poor. If you think it's going to function and be responsive to touch like your smart phone, it's not. Not remotely close.
At the end of the day, I didn't feel confident using this Roland to record anything of value. It's too quirky and plastic. Too bad there doesn't seem to be a middle ground between low-end Roland and Zoom units and high-end Sound Devices units.