@Bill, EDN did something like that in 2003 with The Scopes Trial. We invited Tek and LeCroy to write specs for tests and then we would compare their high-end scopes at the time (4GHz adn 6GHz). Tek backed out at the last minute, but LeCroy have a TDS7404 so we did some tests anyway.
I remember back when Tektronix 'scopes were notorious for having the on/off switch in a different obscure place on each 'scope. A good test for a job candidate "C" was to sit C in front of the 'scope and ask C to turn it on -- and time how long this took.
Bill wrote: ...they get cars with subtle and challenging problems, they have to first diagnose and then fix.
And whoever comes up with the most expensive repair immediately gets job offers from the local dealerships :-)
Too bad we can't have a "face off": an all-day event, with say 5 or 10 debug problems posed by experienced engineers, and each vendor has a team to try to find the problem. It would be very stressful but lots of fun, espcially if all team members were "miked". I have seen this done for auto-mechanic students, it's quite an event--they get cars with subtle and challenging problems, they have to first diagnose and then fix.
But somehow, I don't think this will happen....too many logistical and financial issues. Plus the team members would want extra-hazard bonuses.
@Bill if only we had the time to try them all. We editors get to see many types of test equipment, but it's almost alwasy at a show to staged demo. I at least try to push the buttons and see shat happens. Of course, the scope makes heve demo boards designed to make their scopes look good.
Ideally, it would be nice to try each unit for a few weeks to see which works best for you, whether through a loaner or actual rental. But I suspect few EEs have time to learn each unit and how to use its features to maximize use of it in a given application. So it's back to data sheets, vendor videos, maybe an hour or two of demo, and then decide!
I had a chance to see the Tek MDO3000 about two weeks before Last week's release. I had a phone call with R&S and will get a live demo later in March. Of course, products usually work well in demos. It's when you try to use them to solve realy problems that deficiencies arise.
Tek was not the first the make a USB flash drive that looks like an oscilloscope. Fluke did that a couple of years ago with a flash drive that looks like a ScopeMeter. The MDO3000 flash drive is really too heavy and bulky, but it's clever.