Top critical review
There's a lot better for the money.
April 11, 2014
I'm not one of those gear snobs who thinks you have to pay top dollar for everything, especially being disabled and looking for my first scope, but this Owon is really pretty bad. I wanted to warn other first-timers who may not know what they're not getting for their money.
I was impressed by the screen specs and mistakenly thought the whole scope must be that good. The one I got had a broken control shaft and had to be replaced. Before returning it, I ran some tests I found on various electronics sites and was severely disappointed with the scope's performance. The sampling resolution is so crude, and the refresh rates so slow, that some of the tests couldn't even be completed. The scope couldn't even catch the event or gave results so far out of range that they had to be wrong.
I started reading reviews and watching videos and was more confused than ever. Fortunately, I found mjlorton's Youtube channel and watched his video "Oscilloscope performance vs. specifications". It's long and technical but finally opened my eyes to what really matters. Watch the video and then compare the specs of some different scopes.
Owon SDS5032E, $300, 30Mhz freq, 250M samples/second,
30Mhz memory bandwidth, 10kpts depth, 8" screen - 800 * 600.
Rigol DS1102E, $400, 100Mhz freq, 1G (1000M) samples/second,
100Mhz memory bandwidth, 1Mpts (1000kpts) depth, 5.7" screen - 320 * 240.
Siglent SDS1102CML, $379, 100Mhz freq, 1G samples/second,
150Mhz memory bandwidth, 2Mpts depth, 7" screen - 480 * 243.
The only thing the Owon has going for it is the size and resolution of the screen. Ironically, for the extra processing power that takes (and this unit obviously doesn't have) it's only good spec is actually a detriment. I decided on the Siglent 1102CML, but I'd recommend almost any Rigol or Siglent over an Owon. Even a higher Owon, by the time your looking at comparable specs, the price is climbing into the $450-$500+ range.
Again, I'm not talking about spending a bunch more money, much less several 1000's. A scope in this range will do most people just fine. I'm just saying even for a cheap scope you can do much better than the Owon. By all means, decide for yourself, but watch mjlorton's video first, and don't be swayed by Owon's screen specs alone.