The Humax HDR-FOX T2 has been a long time in the making: launched all the way back in December of last year, it was poised to be the first Freeview HD recording set top box to go on sale. It was pipped to the post in the end, but it’s now on sale – if you’ve been holding off on getting a Freeview HD tuner, check out our full Humax HDR-FOX T2 review to see if it’s been worth the wait.
We’ve made no secret of the fact that we love Freeview HD, and much prefer the convenience of it to installing a dish and having to muck around with the buttons on Freesat to get the same channels. But we’ve been waiting patiently for a decent Freeview HD recorder to come along which didn’t cost more than £600 and bung in a Blu-ray player when we’ve already got one – and you’ll be pleased to know the Humax HDR-FOX T2 is definitely it.
The Humax HDR-FOX T2 is a lovely, unassuming device. As per usual, it’s rocking that piano black look, but it’s subtle and won’t distract you from the show at hand, so it’s no bad thing. The LCD screen on the front is a welcome move, so you can see the channel you’re on quickly. Otherwise, all you’ve got are tiny channel and volume buttons, an Xbox-ish power ring in the middle, and a USB port tucked away on the front. Around the back of the Humax HDR-FOX T2, you’ve got your usual smattering of connections, including HDMI out, composite, another USB port, Ethernet, but also optical audio for surroundy soundy goodness (Dolby Digital multichannel).
But looks aren’t what the Humax HDR-FOX T2 is about, of course. The big step up from the HD-FOX T2 is the inclusion of a massive 500GB hard drive and Freeview + for recording shows in all their goodness, which will give you space for hundreds of hours of Come Dine With Me, in SD or HD, and twin tuners will of course let you record one channel while copping another, or pause live TV.
In this regard, the Humax HDR-FOX T2 works just as you’d expect, albeit without the compression options of the more pricey Panasonic DMR-BW880 – but with HD channels too, which for anyone not oversaturated by a Sky HD subscription, look fantastic. Standard def shows are upscaled to 1080i as well, which is always welcome.
The stand out point of the Humax HDR-FOX T2 however is its piece of cake UI. Set up is phenomenally simple and quick (Assuming you have Freeview HD reception where you live, of course), the setting are easy to navigate, and you’ll be stringing together Series Link recordings of your favourite programmes in no time at all.
Like many new smart set top boxes and TVs, the Humax HDR-FOX T2 also has some network skills. They’re pretty basic, and amount to playing the same media files you can play off a USB stick off a computer instead via the magic of UPnP, and you won’t be able to summon BBC iPlayer through it (yet – there are rumours), but it’s a welcome bonus nonetheless.
We like the chunky, solid remote with clearly labelled buttons and metallic control ring. But we do take issue with one build decision for the Humax HDR-FOX T2: it’s got no Wi-Fi built in, which might put pay to your home network dreams. Of course, Humax will sell you a dongle separately to achieve this end, but we’d prefer it was bundled in free, or just built into the box. We’re frankly sick of gadget makers’ assumption that everyone keeps every net connected device right by the router: with the new Xbox 360 showing that even Microsoft’s getting the message, it’s time for this to change.
The Humax HDR-FOX T2 is still pricey at £329, it’s true. But for casual couch potatoes who just want to see Dr Who and the Champions League in HD, it’ll make for a savvy investment nonetheless – you’ll use it for years to come.