Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- HQ+ 15Mbps recording mode, plenty of functions and options
- No connection cables included, controls poorly integrated
The HX710 is an incredibly versatile and customisable recorder, but it can be difficult to use.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
While many of the Sony RDRHX710's features are great, they are poorly integrated, leaving the device disjointed and difficult to operate.
This problem is exacerbated by the controls on both the front panel of the box and on the remote. While the controls offer access to all the functions of the device, they are unintuitive and make navigating the various menus on the HX710 more complicated than necessary.
Operational irritations aside, the RDRHX710 has some impressive features. Its HQ+ 15Mbps recording mode is a must have for those wanting to capture every detail of the television signal. Although it offers exceptional quality, the HQ+ recording mode is very data hungry, and programs recorded at this level take up a lot of space. Fortunately, the HX710 packs a 160GB hard drive, leaving enough room for 21 hours of recording in HQ+ mode, or 269 in Super Extended Play mode (lowest quality). There are seven additional modes between the two extremes of HQ+ and SEP.
The Sony's DVD recorder supports all major DVD types except DVD-RAM, including dual layer, +R, -R, +RW and -RW. You can record to DVD at selectable bit-rates. It supports all the same bit-rate settings as for hard drive recording, except HQ+ mode. At the lowest bit-rate (SEP), up to eight hours of video can be fit onto a single-layer DVD. In our testing, the 9Mbps HQ mode still offered exceptional image quality and detail.
Dubbing recordings between the hard drive and DVD (or vice versa) can be a little sluggish. Transfers, while somewhat slow, are at least reliable, and we didn't encounter and copying errors during out tests.
While the core features of the RDRHX710 are, for the most part, streamlined and simple to use, its peripheral features, such as timer recordings, EPG and editing recording, are not well integrated. Many of the features provide a lot of options, but often at the cost of convenience.
For some strange reason, Sony has decided not to include cables with its product. Users who do not have composite, SCART, S-Video or YPbPr cables available will be forced to purchase some before they can use the device.
The Sony RDRHX710 would appeal to those looking for a DVD/HD recorder that packs as many features and options as possible. However, those interested in just the basic functions with an emphasis on integration and ease of use would probably be served better by a different product.
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