Since I have used it from 84 to date I have had some experience.
Sanyo VCRs were slightly better than VHS, except top end
Sony cheap VCRs were slightly better than VHS
Sony top end decks were better enough to be obvious over the opposition
I had 3rd generation Beta copies better than someone else 2nd Vhs copies.
That is my copied off edit master better than their edit master.
Slightly larger VCR with 3hours 15minute recording vs slightly smaller with 30 minute.
That is THE Beta portable vs a JVC I think compact portable.
Actually there were not that many portable VCRs in the UK, only 3 were sales successes.
Mechanical Sony no
Most VHS, few bought as expensive heavy and not very good.
The other Beta one, why would you?
The big sellers were
a JVC Vhs-C deck, Panasonic NV180, Sony SL-F1UB
The same 3 companies also made the best cameras, JVC made the best tube camera, Panasonic just about the only CCD camera, Sony was basic but good colour handling.
The main reason that it came down to so few decks was simple.
Why buy an inferior recorder to the market leaders?
The F1 was so ahead of the other portables it was the most common recorder to be found at the end of a camera cable, the two other Beta portables were in comparison bad. JVC was small and compact, the NV180 was best non Beta, possibly the best non SL-F1.
Then came all in ones and the market disappeared for portables overnight. Pity really as you could mix and match. Many JVC cameras were plugged into Sony portables.
But for me 3 video cameras in 30 years is not bad, Beta seperates, DV, HDV, not sure what to do after HDV, but it still works!