The box's operating system is no match for the fine quality of its pictures. The low-ish figure of under 2W power consumption in standby contributes to a boot-up time in excess of 30 seconds. The GUI that greets you when you finally arrive at a picture and press the menu or guide button is frankly pig ugly.
The combination of a hideous grey and red colour scheme, old-fashioned fonts and clipart icons is a world away from the slick delights used by kit from the likes of Samsung and Humax.
To make matters worse, navigating the menu system is an irritatingly slow business. The box reacts far too slowly to the remote control (which is no great shakes in itself with cramped buttons) and having to move through the menus and EPG at the pace of a drunk snail is counter-intuitive.
As a PVR the RTI90-500 T2 HD works perfectly well. It offers a twin tuner, series-link, manual scheduling, live pause and a one hour HD buffer (two hours for standard definition). Recordings can be merged, manually renamed and moved into folders. You can fast forward and rewind at 4x, 10x , 60x or 300x but there's no slow-mo option.
Ugliness aside, the 8-day EPG is nicely laid out with a small window showing the current broadcast. Information of each show is plentiful apart from the lack of native resolution.
You can zoom in or out to show one, two or four hours ahead in list or grid view, plus there's day and date selection. Normally the channel number is displayed on the front of the box, but annoyingly, when recording a show this remains stuck on 'rec' so the handy reference of a channel number is lost.
At £250 the RTI90-500 T2 HD represents a significant investment. Compared with non HD PVRs it's very expensive, against other Freeview+ HD boxes it's neither a bargain nor a rip-off. A year from now - even by Christmas this year – prices will fall significantly as the market shifts from the early adopter into mass market territory.