Skip to main content

Goodmans GDB300HD review

High design and Freeview HD, but this budget box still struggles

Goodmans GDB300HD
You can change the resolution on the fly, although it doesn't do SD very well

For

  • Good HD pictures
  • Easy initial setup

Against

  • Awkward user interface
  • Poor SD performance

Goodmans has been a trusted budget British brand for yonks, so it was only a matter of time before it issued its first Freeview HD receiver. And for 'budget' read 'basic', although it's better specified than a number of Freeview HD boxes to hit the market of late.

The Goodmans GDB300HD is a nice looking unit – there's a central panel that features blue LEDs, and a fabulous-looking user interface carries on the neat design work.

Confusingly, although this Goodmans ships with a free HDMI cable, there are two Scarts on its rear – one for connecting it up to an VCR.

Connectivity is otherwise fair, with an all-important HDMI output joining a RF in and out, an Ethernet LAN for broadband TV in future, and a digital optical audio (SPDIF) output. The GDB300HD does boast Dolby Digital Plus compatibility, but for now that's simply a future-proofing feature.

Elsewhere there's also a USB slot, though sadly it's for software upgrades only and doesn't make any attempts with DivX, MP3 or JPEG files.

Also from Harvard International – owners of the Goodmans brand – is the near-identical Grundig GUD300HD. Similar in almost every regard, the Grundig has a slightly different look to both the front of the box and the user interface, though the chassis is exactly the same, with similar features to this Goodmans – an eight-day EPG and the same roster of ins and outs.