Panasonic DMR-EX89 review

If you're after this sort of one-box solution, the Panasonic is a good option, but for the cash we'd like to see better functionality Tested at £400.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

This recorder will do a fine job, but we don't see a jump in quality or performance compared to the last generation


  • +

    400GB hard disk drive

  • +

    good tuner and faithful recordings

  • +

    1080p upscaled DVD looks solid

  • +

    Gracenote database on-board.


  • -

    DVD images should be punchier and sharper

  • -

    operation could be smoother

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The DVD/HDD recorder is a product that has been hit hard by Sky+, Virgin Media and Freeview PVRs. We see fewer models every year, from fewer manufacturers, and very little changes in terms of features and functionality.

Nevertheless, for the functionality of a PVR, with the ability to save content to disc and, of course, play DVDs, a DVD/HDD recorder is still the only one-box solution.

One-box functionality
The Panasonic DMR-EX89 has a hefty 400GB HDD with a best-quality HQ mode that allows you to record around 90 hours of content. You can pause live TV, use the EPG to set recordings, upscale DVDs to 1080p resolution and record to DVD-RAM and DVD-R/RW/DL.

You'll also find a USB input, an SD card slot and Gracenote's music database loaded inside the DMR-EX89 for automatic track labelling.

The functionality is here, but compared with Sky+ or other PVRs, pausing, recording and general navigation is nowhere near as slick, with interruptions and unnecessary screen messages slowing everything down.

Good TV tuner quality
Still, tuner quality is good, with natural colours, smooth motion and clean edges, and recordings in the top mode are utterly faithful.

Switch to DVD and we have few complaints – but compared with a much cheaper DVD or Blu-ray deck, it lacks a little punch and definition.

If you're in the market for this sort of one-box solution, this Panasonic is a good option, but for the money we'd like to see something extra in terms of functionality or an added sparkle in performance to garner the full five stars.

See all our DVD recorder reviews

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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