It was only a few years ago that a Digital Storage Oscilloscope was an expensive, exotic instrument that few hobbyists could hope to own. Now, DSOs are very affordable, especially for this scope, with a special offer for SILICON CHIP readers. If you quote a special code (see end of review) you can buy this dual channel, 60MHz model with a colour screen for just $695 including GST – about 10% off normal price!
The UNIQUE UQ2062C is an attractive, compact unit. With an integrated carrying handle, it is very similar in size and configuration to many of its more expensive competitors, from companies like Tektronix, Rigol and GW.
The screen is the same size and resolution as most similar products – a 14.5cm (5.7”) 320x240 quarter-VGA display. It is bright and quite easy to read, although its blacks are not as dark as we’ve come to expect. There is a reason for that, as we will find out later.
It is supplied with an IEC power cable, USB cable and two 1.5m 60MHz 1×/10× probes. Each probe comes with an earth alligator clip, compensation adjustment tool and a number of different coloured plastic rings, which make it easier to tell which probe is connected to which channel.
It would be nice if the probes came with more accessories, such as earth spring clips but you certainly get enough to start with.
While there are cheaper DSOs available but they mostly have monochrome displays. In case you’re wondering why it’s worth spending some extra money to get the colour screen, the primary advantage is that it’s obvious at a glance which waveform is from which input channel. This allows for more flexible use of the display.
For example, if you scale both traces to the full height of the screen on a monochrome ‘scope, it can be hard to tell which is which – not so when they have distinct colours.
This also applies to the FFT read-out and the traces generated from the “math” menu. They can be displayed simultaneously with the raw traces and so have their own colours to avoid confusion.
The first thing you’ll notice switching it on for the first time is how fast it boots. It’s under three seconds from turn-on to operation – that’s pretty good for a digital scope.
The second impressive aspect is that the screen update rate is excellent. The rapid display refresh makes it feel a lot more fluid than many other low-end DSOs – something that a long time Cathode Ray Oscilloscope user would appreciate. This explains the lower-than-expected contrast, as contrast and refresh rate are a trade-off with Liquid Crystal Displays.