The box is easy to control using the eye-catching remote. The gloss black finish and silver menu control ring look great on the coffee table and its button layout is generally intuitive – some of the keys are a bit small, particularly Record, but on the whole it’s fine.
There can also be few complaints with the HDR-FOX T2’s picture quality. Live high-definition channels boast dazzling clarity, as demonstrated by BBC HD’s coverage of athletics at the Commonwealth Games. Members of the crowd are clearly resolved, likewise the texture of the track and intricate facial detail during post-race interviews.
Quick movement is also smoothly reproduced – sprinters in the 100m heats tear down the track without much by way of break-up or block noise – while colours are rich and nuanced and there’s pleasing depth and solidity to the picture.
Naturally the standard-definition simulcast on BBC One looks softer and noisier, but the Humax keeps block and mosquito noise to an acceptable level and conveys bright colours, like the Jamaicans’ yellow vests, with admirable strength and depth. Other SD channels, like ITV1 and Five, look a little scruffier but noise is part and parcel of the Freeview experience and pictures are generally enjoyable. We couldn’t discern any difference between live and recorded programmes, testament to some excellent internal video encoding.
After comparing the HDR-FOX T2’s considerable talents with those of its rivals, there can be little doubt that the Humax is the best of the bunch. The level of recording flexibility, immaculate onscreen presentation, slick operation and extensive feature list (with more to come) make it an irresistible proposition that its rivals can’t match.
The only downside, which for some may be the deal-breaker, is the price. It’s at least £70 dearer than the Philips/Pace and £40 more than the Sharp, which might put off buyers on a tight budget who may see its extra functionality as luxuries they could live without. But if you have the money, give the Humax a whirl – you certainly won’t be disappointed.