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Mitsubishi XD205U Projector

Small projector, bright and sharp image By Charlie White

Mitsubishis XD205U ($1995 list) is a new small projector aimed at the presentation market thats highly portable and packs a powerful punch. This 5.29 lb. DLP unit is scarcely bigger than a Websters dictionary, but projects images comparable to units that are much larger and more expensive. Its small size and high quality make it a worthy companion for a small notebook computer, resulting in a great system for setting up presentations almost anywhere. Here at our Midwest Test Facility theater, we ran this little projector through our computer and video obstacle course, and liked what we saw.

Mitsubishi XD205U projector

The XD205U is small, but its not as tiny as the mini-Mitsubishi unit that we reviewed earlier on these pages. However, at 10.28 x 8.58 x 3.42 inches (L x W x H), its small enough to be portable, yet big enough to still be able to output image quality thats good enough for almost any presentation scenario. Included with the projector is a ballistic nylon carrying case into which you can fit the projector and its connecting cables. Overall, its a package thats easy to transport from one place to another.

Setting up the projector was a snap. You can plug in either VGA, S-Video, or composite video into the back, and it also has an audio input. Fire it up, and youll notice that its projection angle is set up for tabletop use. Its angle of projection is such that it will point at an upward angle of approximately 12 so you wont have to support the front of the projector in order to allow it to project onto a screen thats high enough for everyone in the room to see. The projectors keystone control, conveniently located on the top of the unit itself and also controllable via the included remote, can be easily accessed without diving into a thicket of menus. Good thinking, Mitsubishi?those who are doing presentations often dont get to decide where their projector is placed, and in that case, usually the keystone control is the first one thats needed. Youre able to quickly square off the screen using this simple keystone control. Theres no way to control the individual corners as you can with more expensive models, but in most cases the keystone control will suffice to make the projected image appeared to be squared off on its corners.

The remote fits in your hand quite well. It's just the right size, and well-contoured. It feels similar to a TiVo remote. It's one of the better small remotes I've seen included with projectors at any price.

I connected the video output of our test laptop to the projector via its VGA port. Sure, it wouldve been nice to have a DVI port, but in this price range VGA is probably the most we could expect. Projecting a 1024x768 computer image through this unit looked clear and bright. We ran our DisplayMate multimedia test suite, and switching the computer through our video obstacle course, the Mitsubishi projector fared well. I noticed the whites were very bright, and the colors were vibrant and saturated. All sizes of text looked remarkably clean and sharp.  

The blacks were a slight drawback, looking more like a dark gray than black, and making the overall picture look not quite contrasty enough for my taste. In fact, in some scenes the blacks looked a bit washed out even in a completely darkened room. Looking at the blacks on a chip chart supplied by DisplayMate, theres not a whole lot of resolution that can be seen in the darker areas, and at the brightness levels of 4, 8, and 16, (with absolute black being zero and pure white being 255) you cant really see a whole lot of difference between each one of those chips in the black range. Only when you get to the 24 level can you start to discern a difference between the black chips.

On the plus side, the whites were bright enough to overcome moderate ambient light, and overall, to my subjective judgment I thought the brightness of the picture looked very good. Using our DisplayMate white chip chart, I could see quite a bit of difference in the highest levels of white, where contrast was discernible even at the 253 and 255 level.

That it was time to fire up some high-definition television, and using the S-Video connection on this projector, it did a respectable job of reproducing the output of our 1080i HDTV signal. Again, the blacks were not as black as Id like to have seen, but the images were extremely sharp, and it looked as though this projector was as well-suited for watching HDTV as it was for giving presentations. Yes, at 1024x768, the XD205U can't display native HDTV, but it still looks quite good, and much better than standard definition television.

Next, we watched a variety of DVD material on the projector, and noticed that it, too, looked quite good, and displayed resolution that was high enough to show exactly what was on the DVD. The playback of DVDs with this projector looked smooth and almost film-like, and I found it quite pleasant to watch.

As we watched a variety of DVD, HDTV and computer material on this projector, I noticed another strong attribute of this unit, and that is its silence. In fact, I noticed that its quieter than most projectors weve tested here. Thats a very important attribute whether youre watching movies or giving presentations?no one wants to try to speak over a loud cooling fan whining away in the middle of the room.

Next it was time to break out our precision light metering equipment and take a look at the evenness of the projected image. Placing the projector so that its image measured at our standard 60-inch diagonal size for these types of tests, we took light readings at nine points of the screen, and noticed that the top right of the screen was noticeably dimmer than the rest. On the top right grid coordinate, the light level measured 957 lumens, compared to the brightest area of the screen on the bottom middle coordinate, which measured a bright 1572 lumens. Overall, the screen seemed dimmer on the right side than the left, but when we were viewing a computer image and watching HDTV and DVDs, the difference in evenness of lighting on the screen was not as apparent. Even though our measurements showed numbers that were significantly shy of the Mitsubishi-quoted 2000 lumens, we still found the projector to be adequately bright for a presentation even in a well-lit room.

Summing up, Im surprised how much projector you can get these days for a street price of just north of $1000. This product represents a tremendous value, especially at its street price, which could go even lower as time goes by. Native 1024x768 is a great resolution for presentations, while it will also serve you well if you want to watch HDTV or DVDs. This little projector is great for road warriors, and could find itself a place in a respectable home theater as well. For its price, its tough to beat. Highly recommended. 9.3 out of 10 stars.

Mitsubishi XP205U Specs:
Display technology: 0.55, 1-Chip DMD, 12 deg. DDR, DDP2000
Projection lens: F= 2.4 (Wide) 100@3.2 m (Wide)
Resolution: 1024 x 768 (Total 786,432 pixels), 550 Video Lines
Picture size: 40-300 diagonal inches
Video compatibility: NTSC/NTSC 4.43/PAL (including PAL-M, N) /SECAM/PAL-60, Component Video; 480i/p (525i/p), 576i/p (625i/p), 720p (750p), 1080i (1125i 60Hz), 1080i (1125i 50Hz)
Inputs: RGB: Mini D-sub 15pin x 1, Audio: Stereo Mini Jack ( 3.5mm) x 1, Video: RCA x 1 + S-VIDEO x 1
Input Terminal: USB terminal for Page Up/Down (with optional cable)
PC compatibility: Resolution: 640 x 480 - 1024 x 768 + Compressed 1280 x 1024 Sync on Green available

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Related Keywords:Mitsubishi XD205U, presentation, portable, DLP, notebook computer, projector, video obstacle course, review

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