This review is long over due, since I’ve since purchased a new scope, but it needs to happen, so…
I purchased a Rigol DS1052e in May, 2013, to help with my electronics learning, and repair. I purchased the unit from Tequipment.net for just under $300 using their already low price, plus their 6% discount given to eevblog.com readers. Anyway, got the scope, and all and all, very happy with it. Yes, it’s old. Yes, the screen is small. No, it doesn’t have an analog-like screen, or amazing memory depth, etc. But, it works. And it works extremely well. It’s very easy to “hack” to a 100Mhz scope, and it’s worked great for everything I’ve used it with (repairing a couple multimeters, an LCD monitor, and a few other things). The scope has really been reviewed to death, so I’m not going to post a lot of really new information other than to say, if you need a scope, and have an easy $300 around (but not enough for the higher end DS2000 series), I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to buy the DS1052e. Now, with the release of the DS1000z series, that might change my mind (since they’re not really much more, and offer features comparable to the DS2000 series), but for the money, it’s really hard to beat the Rigol. Yes, Owon, Hantek, etc all make similarly priced items, but I’ve never heard anything really positive about the scopes other than their price point. The Rigol works, and works quite well. The probes that came with it weren’t THAT great, but I picked up a couple of cheap 100mhz probes on the suggestion of an eevblog forum thread, and they worked quite well. The nicest thing about the other probes were that the compensation adjustment was on the plug end, rather than the probe end.
Scope control, and readout via USB to a computer works quite well as well. I never tried over RS232, or printing directly from the scope, but really, those seem a bit gimmicky for most things. The scope sat on my bench, so really, I didn’t need any of that stuff… just for it to work as a scope, which it did great! So if you need a scope, and only have $300 or less to spend, I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute. It works great, and I wouldn’t have been able to diagnose and fix the projects I had. Sure, a cheap analog scope probably would have worked as well, but why? =)
Spec wise, the scope compares pretty well to much more expensive scopes from only a few years ago (or even current Tektronix scopes). Build quality was very good, and the unit is quite light. Really the only complaint is the same thing many have said, is that the fan is pretty loud. At some point in the future, if I don’t sell the unit, I plan to open it up and replaced the fan with a near silent computer fan. Many have done this, and had good results. The biggest trick is getting the casing off without breaking the power button. But, hey, I silent scope would be much nicer. Even the DS2000 series is a bit loud. =/