We’ve noticed lately that some cheap meters have gone to having big colorful screens. The screens aren’t dot matrix, but still have lots of graphics that could be useful or could be distracting eye candy, depending. The really cheap ones seem more like a gimmick, but [OM0ET] took a look at one that looked like a fair midrange instrument with some useful display features, the GVDA GD128.
A lot of the display shows the current function of the meter. No need for an expensive multiposition switch or rows of interlocking pushbuttons. Many of these new meters also have non-contact voltage sensors, which is handy. Otherwise, it looks like a pretty conventional cheap meter.
Many of these meters now have an auto mode where they try to guess what mode you need for a particular measurement. Essentially, it looks for voltage, resistance, or a short circuit. Of course, you can select a specific mode, too. It also measures and displays temperature, if that’s of interest to you.
What we liked is that the bottom of the display has a bar graph so you get some of the advantages of an analog meter. Despite the prevalence of digital electronics, humans are still analog. That feature alone might be worth the $40 or $50 for the meter, depending on how you use a meter.
Of course, cheap meters have a history of being — well — cheap. Then again, a meter like this doesn’t have that poor reliability switch to contend with. If you want the ultimate meter, snag an HP3458A. But it is bigger and much more expensive.