Toshiba TDP-P7 review

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Every presenter wants to make a strong impression on their audience, and the Toshiba TDP-P7 projector is a good way to get started. At just 186 x 182 x 63mm (WDH), and encased in a smart silver livery, this is a great-looking device that also weighs a very portable 1.28kg, or 1.9kg with the bag and accessories.

Toshiba TDP-P7 review

It’s been well designed for life on the road too, with a nifty built-in lens cap that there’s no chance of leaving behind. Twist it round 180 degrees, and a slot opens to let the image through. The lens is set behind the front fascia and, together with the solid lens-cap mechanism, it adds up to a good degree of impact protection. Focus and zoom adjustment rings are exposed by a cut-out in the top surface.

Projection distance ranges from 1.2m up to 14.2m, with an impressive diagonal image size of 66cm to 7.62m. That image comes courtesy of a 130W lamp rated at 2,000 hours, with an eco mode of 114W. Maximum brightness is 1,100 ANSI lumens, which is enough for most situations, although it may struggle in large or particularly bright meeting rooms. Sharpness is helped by the DLP system’s impressive contrast ratio of 2,000:1.

Focusing is generally accurate, with only a small decrease in clarity at the top corners visible with our test patterns. The native resolution of 1,024 x 768 leaves you with a practical amount of screen real-estate while keeping text sharp. Colour balance is reasonable too, and although the lower end is slightly murky, subtle differences in shades of white are separated fairly well.

DLP projectors occasionally give a rainbow effect while watching movies (when you move your eyes quickly across the screen, highlights separate into primary colours), but it’s minimal in the TDP-P7. However, the loss of detail in the shadows and fan noise mean it’s better restricted to business use. There’s also a problem with heat around the lens, to the point that thermals visibly waft over the image from the front exhaust vent. Its effects are relatively faint, but anyone who notices will find it distracting.

At full power the TDP-P7 is also rather noisy – a result of trying to expel so much heat from such a confined space – but it’s just on the right side of acceptable in a typical air-conditioned meeting room. In eco mode the pitch drops but a harsh edge to the tone means it still seems almost as loud.

Given the dimensions, it’s no surprise that the connection options are minimal. There’s a standard D-SUB for connection to a notebook, S-Video and composite video inputs, a 3.5mm audio input jack for the perfunctory 0.5W speaker, and a USB port for mouse control. The remote control also simplifies flicking over to the next slide, and a built-in laser pointer lets you highlight where necessary.

The end result is a projector that doesn’t quite match up to its impressive looks. It remains a portable unit that’s easy to use, and we appreciate the clever design for protecting the lens. But the slight whine in the fan’s tone and the heat distortion over the image mean it isn’t the best in class – if you can justify the extra £300, the Casio XJ-350 will put in an all-round better performance.

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