Panasonic DMR-EX89 review: Panasonic DMR-EX89

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The Good DVD recorder adds virtually unlimited storage capacity; appealing styling; decent picture and sound quality.

The Bad Pricey; lack of second Freeview tuner.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic DMR-EX89 is a sturdy machine that's a pleasure to use. It's expensive, though, and only offers a single Freeview tuner. That said, if you're happy to splash out for it, we doubt you'll be disappointed

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8.3 Overall

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Panasonic is a leader in the market for Freeview personal video recorders with built-in DVD writers, and it's not hard to see why. Its machines are sturdy, easy to use and reasonably feature-rich. For most of the operational facts about the DMR-EX89, you can read our review of the lower-end but similar DMR-EX79. In this review, we'll focus on the extra features that the DMR-EX89 offers. It's available online for around £380.

Added value, but added cost
One of the things we didn't like about the DMR-EX79 was its price: £280 or thereabouts. The situation hasn't improved with the DMR-EX89. You get the added bonus of a much larger hard drive -- 400GB as opposed to 250GB -- and an SD card slot, but that's about it. For those advantages, you'll pay about £100 more. To be totally honest, if the DMR-EX89 supported it, you could buy and fit a 1TB hard drive for that kind of money.

More storage for Jeremy Kyle
Because the DMR-EX89 has a 400GB hard drive, it can record 89 hours of full-quality video. This compares well to the 55 hours that the DMR-EX79 can achieve. If you're prepared to compromise on the recorded video quality, you can get up to 534 hours in EP mode, compared to 300 on the DMR-EX79. We'd recommend that you don't use the EP mode, however -- you'll reduce the quality of the recorded picture to the point where it isn't going to be pleasant to watch. Besides, as this machine has a DVD writer, if you want to hang on to shows, you can simply plonk them onto a disc and save hard drive space for new recordings.

Although the SD card slot is one of the bonuses offered by this machine over the DMR-EX79, you can't play video back via an SD card. You can, however, play both video and music via a USB storage device or DVD-R/RW. Video can be up to 720x576 pixels in size and up to 30 frames per second. The DMR-EX89 is basically a standard-definition product, which is understandable, as most devices like this can't actually play high-definition files, despite outputting at resolutions of 1080p.

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