I am a university EE Lab Manager. I have used this model as the go-to scope for most educational purposes since it first came out. It's easy to use, easy to teach on, and includes all the features students need from a workhorse oscilloscope.
- I love the multi-color screen, although I wish the default wasn't a black background. - I love the easy ability to save data and screenshots to USB drive (with minimal setup), although I wish the saved image was higher resolution than the small screen res. This feature finally made it easy for students to print a plot for their lab book or report. The ability to save data as a .csv file (or other type) allows you to analyze the data later with Excel, Matlab, or whatever software you like, and to make high-resolution plots of your own. - The softkey system is relatively intuitive and easy to use, making accessible a myriad of features not found (or not understandable) on button-and-dial-only scopes. - I also like the measurement that on earlier models used to say "f=" now says "1/dt=" which more clearly illustrates what the measurement (actually calculation) means. I can't tell you how many students are tempted to assume that's a magic frequency measurement instead of a mathematical inversion of the delta-time between cursors... so the new, more accurate, labeling helps.
In the end, the lifetime warranty is the best selling point for Tektronix scopes. As an institutional customer who looks after more than 100 instruments, being able to get these repaired without hassle is a very big plus (even though it is not needed very often). Most other manufacturers have shorter warranties, and some stop supporting the units after a certain amount of time, making it exceedingly expensive to repair aging units which otherwise would have plenty of life left in them.
- My number one complaint is the difficulty in using the cursors. As soon as ANY manufacturer decides to offer a scope with separate knobs to control each cursor I will buy it in a heartbeat. This model doesn't handle the single-knob setup very well, you have to use the softkey menu to select which cursor you're controlling, which I find exceedingly tedious, and students hate it, justifiably. The older Tek scopes used the 'vertical position' knobs for this purpose, which had its own frustrations, but at least you didn't have to go to a menu to select which cursor to move. The easy answer: Put two knobs on the scope dedicated to cursors. End of story. Everybody uses cursors, it's probably the most-used feature on the scope, so why not put some dedicated knobs for it? It can't be that expensive, and it would increase user-friendliness exponentially. Until that happens, no 5-star usability rating from me.
- Another downside from the educator's perspective is that you can't disable the 'auto set' button, which students invariably use as 'the magic button' which allows them to easily make (and just as easily misunderstand) measurements without knowing anything about what they are doing. I and many of my colleagues feel that detracts from the learning experience we need them to have, so we wish we could disable that button (some other manufacturers allow that).
Good and bad aside, this is a great scope, I highly recommend it for student use and any other basic oscilloscope needs.
Yes, I recommend this product.
Response from TektronixBy Nina Yang, Product Marketing Manager, May 25, 2012
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