These annoyances continue and though none of them make the W800F unusable, taken together they amount to a frustrating experience. To give a last example, when you enter the OSD under DTV, a small window shows what you were watching while you make adjustments. This is a nice feature, except that the volume controls don’t work anymore because they do double duty as navigation buttons. Fair enough, but the dedicated mute button has also been disabled, which is unnecessary and can be very annoying.
Image quality is another problem. When receiving analogue TV, images are uniformly bad, with lots of noise. Of course, anyone who has a choice in the matter will be using digital, but that also has its share of problems. While the output is watchable in terms of noise and scaling, colours are hideously oversaturated.
Admittedly this was also the case with analogue, but at least there it could be easily corrected by lowering the saturation setting – whereas in digital mode saturation was already at its minimum. Consequently, garish colours were also a problem for material played back off the USB drive, which means watching films using the W800F is pretty much a no-no.
As far as music playback is concerned, the VideoMate W800F claims compatibility with WMA, but failed to even recognise our WMA test files. MP3s worked, but having to turn the monitor on in addition to the awkward controls and slightly noisy output mean you’re honestly better off using any MP3 player.
Using the W800F as an image viewer is also out of the question unless all your photos are a small file size. If you try to view high-resolution shots it’ll take ages for the device to draw them to the screen.
Unfortunately a firmware update didn’t provide any solace either, since Compro currently offers only a Beta update that only affects subtitles. Basically, FM radio is about the only secondary function Compro’s unit performs well. Of course its primary use is as a tuner and it does this well enough for undemanding viewers, but the final nail in its coffin is that at around £74 online, the W800F isn’t particularly good value for money either.
A classical case of Jack of all trades, master of none, Compro’s VideoMate Hybrid TVFM W800F mostly does what it says on the box, but does none of it well enough to really appeal. Only those who aren’t that fussy about the quality of their TV viewing and have no more than a passing interest in its other functions need apply.
Score in detail