Panasonic DMR-EX79 DVD recorder
The Panasonic DMR-EX79 DVD recorder has a reasonable price, but the lack of a high-definition digital TV tuner lets it down.
- Good DVD upscaling, 250GB hard drive, stylish design
- No built-in HD tuner, remote control could be better
The Panasonic DMR-EX79 DVD recorder looks good and has an excellent DVD upscaler, but its remote control is not suited to watching DVDs and the lack of a high-definition tuner means it can't display or record HD content.
Price$ 659.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic DMR-EX79 DVD recorder has a 250GB hard drive and an HDMI 1.3 port for upscaling DVDs to 1080p. Despite its inability to decode high-definition signals, it offers a reasonable feature set given its $659 price.
The Panasonic DMR-EX79 DVD recorder is a good-looking device with a piano-black fascia and a black aluminium body. The top-left of the face-plate is the drive tray flap while the lower section flips down to reveal composite out ports, a USB port, a FireWire port and an S-Video output.
On the back, the Panasonic DMR-EX79 has an aerial connection for the built-in standard-definition digital TV tuner, the HDMI 1.3 connection (useful for modern televisions), a digital optical audio connection, a component connection and two SCART connections.
Once an aerial and a television have been connected to the Panasonic DMR-EX79, it's a simple matter of letting the auto-tuner find the stations. A 7-day electronic program guide is accessed by pressing the green Guide button. You can use the EPG to schedule recordings. Changing channels takes three to four seconds.
Although the Panasonic DMR-EX79 recognises high-definition digital TV channels, trying to access them results in a black screen. This is a definite negative given that the 250GB hard drive is large enough to store HD video. It will be especially annoying for owners of Full HD TVs, because artefacts and motion blurring will be visible on large HD screens.
Panasonic marketing material states that the DMR-EX79 can start recording live TV with a one second delay, and we found this to be accurate. The quality of the recordings was quite good, but limited by the SD source. You'll be able to record 55 hours of video at the best quality settings and 441 hours at the lowest.
The Panasonic DMR-EX79 can record to both the hard drive and writable DVDs, but it's unable to transfer data to USB drives.
The Panasonic DMR-EX79 has a very good DVD upscaler. The quality of the upscaling is comparable to what you can find from similarly priced Blu-ray players, but if you're looking for the same level of quality as the Toshiba XD-E500-K-TY DVD upscaler you'll be disappointed. If you play a music CD, the Panasonic DMR-EX79 uses a copy of the Gracenote database to try to identify the track and provide information such as track names.
One negative point is the remote control, which lacks both a simple menu button for when watching DVDs and an eject button. They're odd oversights by Panasonic.
While the Panasonic DMR-EX79 is a capable DVD recorder with a decent-sized hard drive and excellent DVD upscaling, it is let down by the lack of an HD tuner. Even so, it's worth considering because of its price.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Synology DiskStation DS215j NAS device
- 2 Fitbit Charge wireless activity tracker
- 3 HP Stream 11 laptop
- 4 B&O BeoPlay A2 portable Bluetooth speaker
- 5 Acer Chromebook 11 (CB3-111)
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- Coinbase set to launch licensed Bitcoin exchange in the US
- Malaysia Airlines attacked, big data dump threatened
- NIST pledges transparency in NSA dealings over crypto standards
- North Carolina could be next in Google Fiber roll-out
- Conference calls a waste of time? In 1915, this one made history
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.