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With the market saturated with DVD recorders, companies must step up and offer something good to catch the eye of the consumer. Panasonic’s latest DVD recorder, the XW-300, allows a user to record two programmes at the same time (thanks to its twin HD tuners) and comes with a 250GB hard drive. But just how good is it?


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The XW300 is a good-looking unit – it sports a piano black finish with most of its buttons hidden under the front panel, giving it a clean look. Located on top of the unit are the power and the eject buttons, with the eject button somehow looking ‘misplaced’ as it is located on the far right hand side of the unit (the tray is on the left side with the power button).

Flipping down the front panel reveals a DV in port, SD Card slot, USB port, channel up and down, record, stop, and play buttons, in addition to an S-Video and composite AV-in ports for connecting a VCR or camcorder to the recorder.

Connectivity is excellent, with component, composite, S-Video and HDMI out ports, digital audio out (coaxial and optical) ports, Ethernet port, SCART, and additional composite AV and S-Video in ports present on the unit. The unit can output up to 1080p, which is perfect for users who have a full HD screen at home.

 


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The unit comes with a 250GB drive, which records up to 31 hours on DR (Direct Record) mode or up to 443 hours when set to EP (Extra-long recording mode). The seven-day EPG is pretty ordinary as it is the one provided by the networks, although it will do for those who haven’t experienced ICE TV.

The unit is fairly easy to use, with us pausing live TV with a touch of a button. Using the EPG to preset the shows we want to record is easy and will only take a couple of seconds. The unit can also record two shows simultaneously in case your favourite shows are on the same time. 

After recording, users can edit out ‘unwanted’ footage by using the ‘Partial Delete’ function. One can also give names to recorded titles, protect footage from deletion, divide a title into two, and even change the thumbnail. After editing, users can then rip the footage to a blank DVD.

 

The EX300’s DVD playback is impressive: pictures were crisp and well-detailed, with upscaled HDMI images delivering the goods.

Users who want to transfer audio, video, and photos can connect the respective unit to the XW300. Users can transfer AVCHD, and JPEG files taken from a digital camera or camcorder can be copied onto the device within seconds. Recorded footage from old camcorders can be transferred using the manual recording function.

Finally, the unit can also be used to copy/play music files stored on a USB drive or CD, instantly transforming the DVD recorder into a music player.

Although the price is a little steep compared to other DVD recorders, this unit is a product that can do a lot more compared to other recorders we have seen. It is available now for $1,099.

See page over for product specifications and final rating.

 

Panasonic DMR-XW300 Specifications:

No. of Discs: 1

CD-R Playback: Yes
CD-RW Playback: Yes
MP3 CD Playback: Yes
DVD Recordable:  Yes

Compatible Playable Disc Types: DVD-RAM
Compatible Recordable Disc Types: DVD-RAM, DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-R (Video), DVD-RW, DVD-RW (Video), DVD+RW, DVD-Video

Progressive Scan: Yes
Electronic Program Guide (EPG) Support: 7 Days

Inbuilt Hard Disc Drive: 250GB
Recording Time Available To Hard Disc (XP Mode): 55 hours
Recording Time Available To Hard Disc (SP Mode): 110 hours
Recording Time Available To Hard Disc (LP Mode): 221 hours
Recording Time Available To Hard Disc (EP Mode): 441 hours

Recording Time Available To 4.7GB Disc (XP Mode): 1 hours
Recording Time Available To 4.7GB Disc (SP Mode): 2 hours
Recording Time Available To 4.7GB Disc (LP Mode): 4 hours
Recording Time Available To 4.7GB Disc (EP Mode): 8 hours

TV Tuner Receiving System: PAL
Video System: PAL colour signal, 625 lines, 50 fields

Component Video Output(s): Yes
DV Input/Output (IEEE 1394): Yes – Input Only
Optical Digital Out: Yes
Digital Audio Out: Optical Terminal
HDMI Input/Output: Yes, Output Only
Card Slot: SD Memory Card Slot

Dimensions:
Width: 430mm
Height: 59mm
Depth: 315mm

Weight: 4.5kg

Panasonic DMR-XW300 | $1099 |  | www.panasonic.com.au

For: Twin HD Tuner; EPG built-in; Easy-to-use; Good recording quality; Can store videos, audio, and photos; A good device to convert analogue footage to digital
Against: Remote is not user-friendly; Cannot use the unit when burning from HDD to DVD
Conclusion: A reliable piece of gear from Panasonic

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