For front projector portability, the plethora of so-called Pico models (based on Texas Instruments’ micro DLP imaging engine) can’t be beat. But, they’re lightweights in terms of light output, compared to standard-sized front projectors that are larger and heavier.
Casio’s XJ range of projector models fit right in the middle, with the upper end versions such as the XJ-A250 tested here sporting 720p, 1080i and 1080p HD compatibility, and they feature a unique optical system that includes a combination of LED and laser devices to produce the color image, as opposed to the traditional high pressure lamp which has a much more limited lifespan and is costly to replace.
Smaller than a typical laptop PC, the Casio is ideal for those looking for a lightweight portable projector that can output a sufficiently bright picture, and it will appeal to road warriors looking for a projector for on-the-go business presentations as well as for hard-core gamers who want to play their favorite shoot-em-ups on a really big screen.
Consider this projector if: you’re looking for a light and portable projector that’s just the ticket for on-the-go business presentations, or for toting around with your game console.
Look elsewhere if: HD picture quality is paramount, as there are 1080p projectors that retail for under a grand that provide a better overall picture.
• Overall picture quality (HD): 6
• Features: 6
• Connectivity: 6
• User interface: 5
• Value: 7
The main differentiator here is the solid-state light source, comprised of LED and laser devices to produce the red, green and blue primary colors. The rated output of the light source is 3,000 lumens, which is quite substantial given the projector’s diminutive size, and which carries a rated lifespan of 20,000 hours (although the warranty specifies a three years or 6,000 hours lifespan for free replacement). Should replacement be necessary, the projector must be returned to Casio, as the light source itself is not a user-serviceable part.
The imaging engine is a 1200x800 Texas Instruments DLP chip, and the projector has the ability to accept HD sources all the way up to full 1920x1080p via the HDMI input. The RGB PC input can accept signals at up to 1600x1200 resolution, which should be more than sufficient for business presentations and the like.
While the unit is certainly compact and eminently portable, the Casio is nonetheless equipped with motorized optics including focus and zoom that allows for quick and easy setup, a crucial advantage for road warriors on the go.
There’s one HDMI input, which can accept resolutions up to 1920x1080p, although the projector’s native 1200x800 resolution means that the resulting image sharpness with 1080i or 1080p video will roughly be on par with 720p projectors. The RGB PC input can accept up to 1600x1200 signals, which is more than sufficient for typical business presentations.
The XJ-A250 has an audio input along with a built-in mini-speaker for situations where there’s no other audio option. The RGB input can also double as a component video input, but that will require an optional adapter. The audio input can also do double duty as an A/V input with composite video along with sound, but that, too, requires an optional adapter.
A step-up model, the XJ-255V ($1,599.99, not tested here) includes a wireless 802.11/b/g/n USB adapter as well as software that allows for a multimedia presentation from a PC without the need for cables.
On Screen Display
Relatively simple in design, the OSD features crisp text that’s useful in adjusting the projector’s focus. However, the largish 16:9 menu occupies the entire center screen, which makes adjustments of critical settings such as brightness difficult at best. It would be better to have the OSD disappear save for an adjustment indicator at the bottom of the screen, as is usually the case with other projectors and HDTV flat panels.
A bare-bones affair, the Casio’s remote nonetheless includes dedicated buttons for zoom and focus adjustments, along with digital zoom and digital keystone controls. There’s a Freeze button to capture a still image, and buttons for activating the Eco dimmed brightness mode and changing the aspect ratio.