Portable projector experts (including the Presentations and Projector Central Web sites, as well as computer-oriented print publications like PC Magazine, PC World and Mobile Computing) are nearly unanimous in declaring the Epson Powerlite 710c the king of portable PC projectors.
The top source in our All The Reviews Reviewed chart, Presentations.com, cites the Powerlite’s brightness, contrast, color, and video and image quality, as well as the fact that it’s the smallest and lightest zoom lens-equipped LCD projector on the market. The Powerlite sports a 1000 ANSI lumens brightness rating, 2000- hour lamp life, onboard presentation tools, optical and digital zoom, keystone control, infrared remote and support for native XGA (1024×768) resolution, as well as VGA (640×480) and UXGA (1600×1200), all in a package weighing only 5.8 pounds and measuring 2.8x 8.4×10.5 inches.
If you prefer a digital light processing (DLP) projector, reviewers say the unit of choice is the InFocus LP335. This projector offers high-contrast video and image capability, but less, lacks some of the Epson’s extra trimmings. As Projector Central points out, the differences in video and image quality between the two models is a matter of preference between the LP335’s higher contrast and better shadow detail and the Powerlite 710c’s more natural and accurate color and better saturation. The bottom line is, if you don’t need the Powerlite 710c’s extra features, the InFocus LP335 is your best choice.
Buyers looking for an even better value might want to consider the Boxlight XD-9m. Reviewers say this unit’s picture quality compares reasonably to the InFocus LP335, and costs around less. Reviewers also praise this unit’s seamless USB-based setup, but give it lower marks for subpar remote and audio. For this reason, we chose not to include the Boxlight in ConsumerSearch Fast Answers.
It carries a heftier price tag than the other projectors described here, but the NEC MultiSync LT140 garners praise from PC Magazine for its innovative use of PC Card technology, which allows users to give presentations without hooking the projector up to a PC. With its passable video quality and excellent image rendition, however, the LT140 is better suited to data applications and presentations requiring fine visual detail.
Entry-level consumers may find the Sony VLP-CS1 more to their liking; its video and image quality compares reasonably to the higher-priced models described above. While it’s not nearly as impressive as more expensive models at higher resolution settings like SXGA and SVGA, the VLP-CS1 acquits itself well at its native SVGA resolution.
Because of the speed with which the industry moves, projectors tend to have a shorter shelf life than most other computer peripherals. Units that were highly rated in our previous report – including the InFocus LP330 and Compaq MP1600 – have since been retired and/or upgraded. Compaq’s MP1800, the successor to the top-rated MP1600, boasts similar features as two of our Fast Answers selections, the Powerlite 710c and InFocus LP335, but in the end pales in comparison. While reviewers say the MP1800 is an excellent unit in its own right, with an 800 ANSI lumens rating, integrated zoom lens and Plug and Present technology that makes setup a snap, it doesn’t have superior features or pricing and lags behind the Powerlite and InFocus in video and image quality.
A similar situation holds with the Optoma EzPro 710, which reviewers say delivers better-than-average video and image quality, but has some drawbacks, including lack of a zoom lens and remote mouse capabilities, as well as usability issues. At a retail price of , the EzPro 710 is a difficult purchase to justify with the presence of several superior units within the same price ballpark.