The RCA DRC8300N goes both ways
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.
Like other DVD/VCR combo recorders, RCA's affordably priced DRC8300N is geared toward consumers who want a multifunction device that can easily archive noncopyrighted VHS tapes and camcorder footage to disc. Retailing for $400 (though available for less online), this attractively styled, mirror-faced model measures 17 inches wide by 14 inches deep by 4 inches high and is about the same size (read: somewhat bulky) as the current generation of VHS/DVD combo devices on the market. The included remote control isn't backlit, but the important buttons--such as Menu, Volume, Channel, Record, and Stop--are easy to find in the dark, and a curved ridge at the bottom of the control fits perfectly between your index and middle fingers, making for a comfortable fit.
Copying VHS tapes to DVD+R or DVD+RW (DVD-R/RW discs can be played, but not recorded) is easy as long as you're within arm's reach of the recorder. Between the VHS slot and the DVD tray is a one-touch Copy button; press it, and a confirmation window pops up with the current recording quality and the time remaining on the DVD. Unfortunately, unlike the GoVideo, you can't change the recording quality from the confirmation window; you must take the annoying extra step of selecting cancel and digging into the settings menu.
Another small gripe: Copying from the main menu takes more steps than it should. Instead of being able to copy tapes or DVDs from the primary menu, you have to dig down to a submenu (one for disc to tape, another for tape to disc), and you'll have to back up and drill down into yet another submenu to tweak the recording quality. (In case you're wondering, the recorder won't let you copy any tapes or DVDs with Macrovision copy protection.)