What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 19 Sep 2008, 12:00pm

Toshiba RD98DT

Tested at £240
80100
4

This is a good recorder but there's some great competition about, meaning the Toshiba doesn't do enough to be considered a five-star all-rounder

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For

  • 250GB hard disk drive
  • strong spec and features
  • fine DVD playback

Against

  • Underwhelming interface and remote
  • slight flaws in TV tuner and highest recording modes

The ink was almost still wet as we leafed through this machine's manual, so hot off the press is this product. We were big fans of the Toshiba RD97DT – five-star rated back in March 2008 – and now we have that model's successor.

The price here is based on 'real world' examples that we've found at the time of publication, but we wouldn't be surprised to find this recorder for less, so hunt around if you decide to buy.

Inside the slender body there's a 250GB HDD, plus of course a DVD disc tray capable of recording to DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, as well as dual layer DVD-R discs. If you're in the habit of playing MP3s or DivX movies through your recorder then you're in luck here, too. On the video side you have a version 1.3 HDMI and 1080p upscaling.

First impressions are underwhelming
Up and running and the Toshiba's first impressions in use are a little underwhelming. The remote is a head-scratcher at first look, with a host of identical buttons not helping the casual flicker.

Still, get your head round it and the Tosh remote does have a number of key functions just one button press away, which is wise.

We'd try and avoid dipping in to the RD98DT's menus wherever possible, being, along with the EPG, rather dull and dated in terms of styling.

The digital TV picture is good but not flawless, with bold colours and decent detail let down by some signs of noise at times and an overall lack of picture refinement compared to the best here.

Excellent DVD pictures via HDMI
Naturally, recordings are going to be hampered a touch by this but the top two recording modes are solid enough, with only the third looking on the soft side. The addition of pause TV and chasing playback add to the appeal.

Toshiba has plenty of pedigree when it comes to making budget DVD players so it's perhaps no surprise that the DVD picture via HDMI is excellent. Bright, sharp and colourful, and with decent insight in to black corners, solid sound backs-up an enjoyable DVD delivery.

Bags of functions and features, a huge HDD on board and sterling DVD playback are all good positives, but when it comes to doing the key job required of this recorder, the tuner and subsequent recording quality are good but quite not up to the standard of the best rivals.

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