The Gemini offers all of the features you’d expect from a Freeview equipped product, including subtitles, digital text, favourite channels and parental lock, as well as interactive services. There are automatic and manual tuning options, and once you’ve tuned in the channels you can reorder and rename them if you wish. A button on the remote enables you to instantly switch between TV and radio channels.
The process of recording a second channel isn’t quite as simple as you might imagine, as there aren’t separate channel controls for the second tuner. You have to switch the main tuner to the channel you want to record, then hit a button on the remote which changes the ‘VCR’ tuner to the same channel as the first. You can then change channels freely while you record, or use another button on the remote to switch to the ‘VCR’ tuner and check what you’re recording. It’s all a little bit cumbersome, but it works.
However, it’s disappointing that the second SCART can only output in composite video (CVBS) and not S-video or RGB. While this isn’t a problem for VCR users, those using DVD or HDD recorders with RGB inputs won’t be able to make recordings in the best-possible quality.
The onscreen menu layout is easy on the eye and on the brain. The main setup menu uses welcoming shades of blue and lists all of its options in clear, legible white text. It isn’t always fast to respond to remote commands, but channel changing and digital text loading times are fast enough to compensate. We’re hugely impressed by the EPG, which has a Tardis-like ability to cram lots of stuff into a small area, including live TV, a programme synopsis, the channel list and all the available options.
The compact remote sports a pleasingly ergonomic shape that slips into the palm of your hand nicely, and the main menu control keys are perfectly placed. But some of the other frequently-used buttons, such as the programme up/down keys and the secondary tuner functions, are too small and awkwardly placed towards the bottom of the handset, which makes it a little fiddly to use.