Sony RDR-HXD890 – Review

Rating - 7.0/10.0 - 7

Here’s a first… a hardware review :-) That’s right folks, the first hardware review on my blog, and its a good one. The Sony RDR-HXD890 harddisk recorder with analogue and digital televisions tuners.

Having been a VCR owner for many years, I felt a pang of sadness when Spirit told me my VCR was starting to chew tapes… a sure sign that its on it’s way out… but, considering it was purchased in 1999, it’s not done too bad.

So, time for a replacement… and this is it… the Sony RDR-HXD890 harddisk recorder.

A nice sleek black unit containing a 160GB SATA II harddisk, an analogue television receiver and a digital DVB-T. I will admit I dived in when Amazon had these on a special offer, but I did do some research before I ordered, and the rumblings were in general good about the Sony RDR series.

In terms of operation, setup was dead easy and took less than 5 minutes, and actually using the unit is also pretty easy. There are numerous compression settings, we started off trialling one that gave us in excess of 200 hours, but the quality of smaller items and fast moving features (we tried recording a grand prix) was not good, so we ended up settling for one that gives us about 108 hours (or something around that mark).

So all’s well that ends well… no?

Well, actually no… and here’s why….

The unit was working great, coming on every couple of hours to update the EPG, recording when asked, playback was good, and then *BOOM*. Thankfully, not literally but, the unit just stopped working one night. It was in warranty (although if I hadn’t insisted, I think I would have been fobbed off with a repair, but come on… under 3 weeks old and it stops working… thankfully Amazon were more than a little compliant) so a replacement was shipped out, BUT and here’s the crunch… it failed with a disk in the DVD drive.

After consulting with Amazon and Sony, I was told there was no way for a user to open the draw manually. Unlike most PC optical disk drives that have that little hole in the front for sticking a paperclip in to unlatch the draw, consumer drives seem to lack the forethought that actually they might fail with a disk in the drive. Now, I’m stuck with a unit that won’t power up that has a disk in it… and what am I told… BY SONY… take it to a repair shop. I ended up forking out money to get the disk out.

So, due to the lack of an emergency eject facility and the fact that the power supply went bang just under 3 weeks after delivery, I’ve given the unit a score of 7. Overall, it’s a fantastic unit that should (based on my past experience of Sony equipment) be reliable and of a good build quality (a view shared by the owner of the repair store that removed the disk), so I hope we were just unlucky.

I’ll keep you posted.

Leave a Reply


Bad Behavior has blocked 120 access attempts in the last 7 days.