Sony GX300 DVD Recorder: Full Personal Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Paul Cooksley, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. Paul Cooksley

    Paul Cooksley
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    Sony GX300 DVD Recorder: Personal Review

    Before purchasing a new television or DVD Recorder, I always like to do some research first and I am always interested in reading other peoples opinions if they already own the item I am interested in.

    So, in order that I may help others with any impending choice, I have written my own personal review of the Sony GX300 DVD Recorder, which I hope may be of some use to prospective buyers:-

    For anyone wanting to choose a new DVD Recorder it will initially come down to two major factors: What you want from the machine and how much cash you are prepared to spend.

    For me, I wanted a DVD Recorder to basically do the following:

    Record Freeview/analogue broadcasts
    Be able to record and play back the '+' and '-' formats
    Archive old VHS recordings
    Connect to Home Cinema Surround System
    Be Reliable

    Having purchased a Philips DVDR70 which is starting to display the symptoms plagued with so many Philips DVD recorders, the final point about reliability was very important to me.

    With all these factors in mind, I spent ages looking on forums like this, reading review magazines and seeking opinions from others who have various makes of DVD recorders.

    For me personally, with the above factors firmly in mind, I chose the Sony GX300. I knew that it would be able to do everything on my list successfully and I managed to spend within my budget of £250.00 and purchase from a local dealer at a price of £239.95. (You can purchase online from various retailers for about this price or just above). As I have a Sony 32" CRT television (CS70) and Sony Home Cinema Surround System, I felt this DVD recorder would compliment the existing equipment.

    The machine it's self was simplicity to connect with on screen prompts and automatic download of channels - you couldn't really go wrong (It did however take me a while to connect it in to the minefield of scart sockets and cables/leads at the back of my television!!)

    It's quite a "big" machine - and alot heavier than the Philips DVDR70 that I had previously. Having said that, there is an air of "solidness" about it which I like. The Philips machine seemed quite flimsy and light compared to this Sony.

    Once connected and all the automatic features like channel download/clock setting etc are complete it is ready for use. The instruction manual isn't the easiest in the world to quickly refer to or understand - however, this machine boasts excellent and quite simple on screen prompts when pressing either "Title Menu" or "Tools" on the remote. Talking of the remote, the record functions are all hidden under a slide down cover, which I guess, stops you from accidentally recording something you don't want. There is also a handy "picture format" button on the dvd recorder remote to change the screen size from 4:3 (which seems to be the default) to either 14:9, 16:9 or Smart (I am referring of course to a Sony set here, not too sure about other makes of tv)

    This recorder records (and plays back) the plus and minus formats. On this machine it is more advantageous to use the -RW format simply because it allows for greater flexibility with editing functions (for example you can re-arrange scenes and change the thumbnail image for example) Personally, I am not at present interested in doing this, so I am carrying on using the +R/+RW discs that I have for my Philips machine. It also plays back MP3's and VCD/SVCD discs (something I could find no reference to in any other reviews or specs on line)

    It has six recording modes: 1hr, 1.5hr, 2hr, 3hr, 4hr and 6hr. The first three modes up to and including 2hrs are perfect for achiving recordings with good image resolution and little pixellation. Anything below 2hrs and the picture quality does start to suffer. Interestingly enough on the 6hr mode, video taped programmes look almost film like!

    This machine has a TBC (Time Base Corrector) built in which helps stabilise VHS recordings for example when archiving, so it's a fairly good machine if you want to do a lot of this type of activity. It also has noise reduction for improved quality when recording.

    My only small gripe is the fact that it has a fan which sometimes kicks in and can be fairly loud - this only is noticeable if the recorder has been sitting in the "on" position for a long while with no disc playing or say if you pause a disc for a long time.

    Other than this, it really is a superb machine and for the price (£239.95) I don't think you can do a lot better.

    Obviously these opinions expressed here are purely my own observations and feelings - and of course, what one person likes - another will dislike - but - I hope this review might prove helpful to anyone thinking of purchasing a DVD recorder.

    Paul
     
  2. TommyVecetti

    TommyVecetti
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    Good review, it's good idea for people to do personal reviews of DVD recorders, I often spent ages googling for reviews of machines and come up with zilch.


    Ah, that's because PAL video uses 50 interlaced frames a second. In 6 hour mode it chucks out one frame/field so it gives it a filmised look.
     
  3. baxter

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    Good review Paul.

    I own a Gx 300 also and would have valued an impartial view before buying.

    Would I be over stepping the line by suggesting a new forum set up purely for peoples views and review of their machines? It's just an idea but it seems a shame that well presented reviews will be lost over the days and weeks as other threats shunt them down the pages.

    Thanks Baxter
     
  4. C.Wolf

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    Cheers Paul, What do you think of playback quality of pre recorded dvd's compared to the philips (I own a dvdr75 and am thinking about the sony). I read in a review that it has component video out, have you used this?
     
  5. figrin_dan

    figrin_dan
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    Cheers Paul,

    Have you tried playing the recorded discs on other makes of dvd player?
     
  6. NC11

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    excellent review!

    I've currently got a DMRE55 and a Sony GX300 , but am not sure which one to go for.

    All I want is to archive VHS and recordings from Sky+ , I'm not interested in editing and I've got a seperate player.

    Any ideas?!
     
  7. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    What do you want the machine for? Archiving Sky+ or for playing on another DVD player? If the former then the E55 is best (as it has Flexible Record and high resolution recording), if the latter then the Sony is the best choice as it records onto compatible re-writeable media (DVD+RW/DVD-RW - use the former if you don't want to edit, the latter if you do).

    Personally for those who want to record from Freeview and want a Sony then I would suggest looking at the Sony GXD500 - this has all digital recording and it shows.
     
  8. Paul Cooksley

    Paul Cooksley
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    Hi there - and thanks for all your positive comments so far...

    I know when I was looking for a DVD recorder I would have loved to have read something like I typed out - hence why I did this - for others to get some sort of "average joe's" opinion on the item - rather than a hyped up magazine review...

    Yes, pre-recorded discs played on this machine (and I presume you mean commercial film titles etc) are wonderful picture quality - looks richer and more stable than the Philips machine. Same goes for recording quality when played back on the same machine - 1hr mode looks no different to the original broadcast (even 2 hr as I say in the review is pretty good and perfect for archiving)

    Recorded titles on other machines play fine.

    As I say, thanks for all your comments so far and I hope I may have been able to help someone make their mind up a little better..... Just a shame, as Baxter says, that this post will slip down the list and virtually disappear, so it is a pity that a separate section or something could be made for personal/customer reviews which as I said earlier, I find a little more "down to earth" than some of the magazine reviews.
     
  9. mray

    mray
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    Great review Paul. Very informative.
    Do you know if the GX300 has a zoom mode? I know it has buttons for a zoom feature, but on the GX3 this was only for use on some menu screens. Is this also the case for the GX300?
    Thanks for your help.
     
  10. navito

    navito
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    Paul

    Thanks for taking the time to write the review, very helpful. :clap:

    I'll second you on your thoughts about a way to make product reviews more accessible. :smashin:

    Rgds

    Navito
     
  11. Paul Cooksley

    Paul Cooksley
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    mray

    The GX300 does have a "zoom" button on the remote control - all this does (as far as I know) is, as you suggest for the GX3, to zoom up the title menu from just text to text and thumbnail images with date info etc.. So probably exactly the same as GX3

    Hope this helps

    Paul
     
  12. mray

    mray
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    Thanks Paul.
    It's a shame you can't actually zoom in the picture with those buttons.
    Still, it's only a minor thing. Most other recorders are the same.
     

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