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Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 Freeview HD+ recorder review

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 recorder review 

Introduction

Good things come in small packages. Size matters not. It’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it that counts. And so on. Yes, the Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 is a super-small Freeview HD+ box that doesn’t take up much living room space.

But is there more to the RTI95-320 T2 than its space-efficient shape? 

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 Freeview HD+ recorder review

Let’s review the basics. The Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 is a Freeview HD+ set-top box that comes with a 500GB hard drive. On paper this gives you 250 hours of standard definition recording time and roughly half that amount for HD programmes. Full HD 1080p video output is guaranteed via HDMI.

From the programme guide you can choose to record a single show or make use of series links where available. There are two Freeview HD tuners inside the RTI95-320 T2, so you can record one programme while watching another, or record up to two shows at once. For those shows you can’t record or programmes you’ve missed, you’ve got access to the BBC iPlayer for catch-up purposes.

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 review 

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 Freeview HD+ recorder review

Design and Specs

As we said, the Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 is pretty small. Style-wise it is a compact black box with a simple, Spartan look. The actual dimensions of the RTI95-320 itself are more of a style statement than its exterior; a mix of matt and shiny plastic, all right angles that are offset by a circular Pokeball-shaped control – two semicircles for programme up and down, framing an on/off switch.

On the back there’s a handful of connections; just the basics really, allowing you to hook your RTI95 up to a standard definition or HD set as well as connections for audio.

Width: 26.162cm. Height: 4.34 cm. Depth: 15.24cm.

Connectivity: USB 2.0 port, Ethernet (10/100), HDMI, SCART, antenna input, antenna output (loopthrough only), red and white analogue audio, coaxial digital audio connector (S/PDIF).

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 Freeview HD+ recorder review

Controls: The Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 remote control

We’re less keen on the remote that comes with the Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2. It’s very basic and doesn’t feel like it would stand up to repeated use and general wear and tear.

While the essential buttons are sensibly located in the middle of the remote, the colour buttons are positioned so that it’s tricky to get at them without adjusting your grip. So not great for launching Connected Red Button services.

It was also a tricky to get a confirmed button press when adjusting the volume. It’s an okay controller but it just doesn’t feel very sophisticated.

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 Freeview HD+ recorder review

TV Smarts: Set up, Menus and Parental Controls

Setting up the Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 is a breeze. It’s a plug-and-play affair: you connect the aerial cable, turn it on and follow the on screen instructions. You’re required to tell the set-top box whereabouts you are to make sure you get the correct regional channels but it’s a case of selecting the appropriate option using the arrow keys and pressing ‘OK’. We were all set up and ready to rock in less than five minutes.

The menus of the RTI95-320 T2 are much like the design of the box itself, straightforwards, functional and to the point. The no-frills approach that we liked about the design of the exterior doesn’t inspire the same feelings when it comes to the menus. Sure it’s easy enough to navigate, but it doesn’t feel like much effort has been paid to its presentation. Maybe that’s just us – some will no doubt appreciate the super-stripped back look. Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 Freeview HD+ recorder review

However you feel about the way the menus look, we appreciate little touches like the ability to easily set series link recordings and the ability to watch another channel while you’re recording, or record up to two shows at once. Fairly standard features of Freeview+ HD gear, but they work well enough here.

One thing that we really liked was that Sagemcom has added the option for parents to sort recordings into specific folders. These folders can be then locked with a 4-digit PIN, preventing young eyes from watching anything that older viewers might have recorded.

While this feature is available to everyone, we think that mums and dads will appreciate the ability to safeguard their young ones from, say, The Only Way is Essex, lest you have to explain to young Timmy what ‘vajazzling’ is.

We were less keen on the built-in search function. Accessed by pressing the blue button when you’re on the TV Guide page, you’ve got a number of basic categories to sift through – Entertainment, Children’s, Sport, etc – and the option to search for HD and non-HD channels. It’s a bit of an effort to navigate and doesn’t pull up a very specific selection of programmes. There’s an option to search for specific programmes, which was better at zeroing in on specific shows like Come Dine With Me and The Simpsons, requiring you to enter no more than ‘COM’ and ‘SIMP’ in the search area.

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 Freeview HD+ recorder review

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 Apps

BBC iPlayer

While having one catch-up service is better than having no catch-up services, the BBC iPlayer on the Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 isn’t that quick to load programmes. The actual streaming quality of shows was fine and the HD shows in particular looked great.

However, navigating the menu is slow, sluggish and we found there to be a rather unimpressive gap between pressing ‘OK’ on a programme and it actually starting to play. Not quite long enough for you to go and make a cup of tea, but long enough for things to be annoying.

Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 Freeview HD+ recorder review

Value & Conclusion: Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 verdict

Right now you can pick up the Sagemcom RTI95-320 T2 for just over £100, which to us is a bargain price for a Freeview+ HD box with iPlayer access. It’s not as smooth-looking or flashy as Humax’s YouView box and doesn’t possess the polish and pizazz of the Pure Avalon but if you’re after a straight-up no-frills Freeview+ HD recorder we’d say this is a safe bet.

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