Our Verdict 
We’re struggling to get excited about a no-frills DVD/HDD recorder but this does a fine job of the basics
For 
Smart styling, easy to use
good tuner, faithful recordings
decent 1080p DVD over HDMI
Against 
Tired interface
low on frills
relatively small HDD
Reviewed on

This past year has seen a real dearth of DVD recorders. In fact, our DVD/HDD recorder duck was only broken in November when we cast our eye over Panasonic's DMR-EX89.

That £400 machine came with a 400GB hard disk. The DMR-EX769 is its budget sibling, with a specification list that's suitably stripped.

No-frills in every way  That all-important hard-disk drive weighs in at a smaller, but still manageable 160GB – this should give you around 35 hours of recorded content in the highest XP mode.

You'll find no USB input or SD card slot, so if you want to play MP3s or view images, you'll have to get them on to a CD or DVD. There's also no support for DivX playback or ripping content to the HDD.

The more expensive 'EX89 also has a built-in Gracenote music database, allowing it to deliver track, album and artist information which you won't find on this machine.

More after the break

Bright, clear TV imagesTV images are bright, clean and clear via the incorporated Freeview tuner, and features such as pause live TV and chasing playback are still here.

We'd stick to XP mode to get faithful recordings – drop to the lower modes and you get increasing instances of mosquito noise.

The EPG is intuitive enough but does look a little dated, especially with Sky's GUI as a barometer.

Using the HDMI output it's a decent DVD player, too, with Star Trek looking colourful, detailed and stable, though it's comfortably beaten by DVD performance from a similarly priced BD player.

But if you're on a budget and this does everything you're after, there's little to quibble with in terms of performance.

See all our 2009 Best Buys

Follow whathifi.com on Twitter