I bought a Rigol DS1052E oscilloscope, on the basis of Dave Jones eevblog #37 tear down, in May this year for £257.76 + £31.20 postage, tracked, (well worth it to watch it approach across the world, took two weeks) from BestOfferBuy. I am delighted with it, and I see it is now priced at about £215, exc postage. There is another version with a 16 channel digital analyser included.
I have no connection with Rigol or BestOfferbuy except as a delighted customer.
This press release allegedly describes how they can produce it so cheaply without sacrificing quality:
Outsmarting local competition wins global recognition
The late Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Tip O’Neill once
said, "All politics is local." Rigol Technologies, a Beijing
instrument maker, may have written that statement’s corollary: "All
business is local."
Founded in July 1998, the company launched its first product -- a
virtual oscilloscope designed to work with a PC -- in less than a
year. Its success led the company to develop complete, standalone
oscilloscopes as well as to branch into other instrument-related
areas. In 2006, the company introduced the DS 1000C digital storage
oscilloscope, which won wide acclaim in China.
The scope was a breakthrough for Rigol, providing a small form factor,
deep memory, wide bandwidth options, and low price. And its success
also brought a common form of flattery: imitation. By 2007, Rigol was
the No. 2 DSO manufacturer in China, producing over 40,000 DSOs a
year. The same year, copies of the scope from a few Chinese
manufacturers also began to appear. In China, where
intellectual-property protection is still maturing, the practice of
"knocking off" someone else’s design was common. (Rigol has since
successfully sued the copyists.)
The rapid copying of Rigol’s products made the company examine its
business strategy. Getting out of the low-end market was not really
possible, given the importance of the education market to Rigol’s
current and future business plans. The other possibility was to find a
technical way to distance itself from the copyists. Wang Yue, the
founder and president of Rigol, as well as the key system architect
for most of the company’s major instrumentation platforms, decided to
use Rigol’s R&D resources, buying power, and low manufacturing costs
to create a product that even those who copied it couldn’t undersell.
Because Rigol uses off-the-shelf components, it is the world’s largest
purchaser of commercial ADCs and other DSO parts. So it used this
purchasing power to reduce parts costs. Believing it could double
volume again as it pushed price down, the R&D team set out to create a
fast turnaround project with a one-year product design cycle. The
manufacturing team created a way to increase volume at little extra
cost and at an overall lower average cost.
The result was the DS 1000E product group. The line not only is
succeeding in its home market, but in Europe and the Americas as well.