Toshiba TLP-SX3500 review

Price when reviewed

Toshiba’s latest LCD projector looks to have everything a business could need for high-quality presentations in a wide range of environments. It offers a high brightness of 3,500 lumens, a top SXGA+ resolution of 1,400 x 1,050, and support for both 4:3 and 16:9 formats. There’s much more, as it has a huge throwing range and image size, motorised zoom, focus and vertical adjustments, a range of optional lens types, and more inputs and outputs than you can shake a stick at.

Toshiba TLP-SX3500 review

Tipping the scales at a mighty 7.7kg, it certainly isn’t compact and, as you’ll see further on, this may well be a problem for desktop usage. We also advise caution if you’re impressed by the interchangeable lens feature, as Toshiba is extremely vague about this – the manual doesn’t even discuss these options and it’s likely this would require an engineer to replace them. The projector also has an ethernet port for web management, but all you can do is access and modify the IP address details and reboot the projector.

Installation in our full-sized boardroom was swift, as you use the two drop-down legs at the front for initial vertical adjustment and then you can use the motorised lens adjuster. With the projector positioned 4.2m away from the screen, we were able to move the image vertically through 1.1m. Zoom and focus controls are also motorised, and we liked the wheel on the top panel that allows you to spin quickly through selecting each input, although there’s also an auto-select option.

The SX3500 scores massively for output quality, as our audience all said they were very impressed with the colour reproduction, claiming it was among the best they’d seen. The image is clear and sharp right to the edges, and our technical tests showed no banding across the red, green and blue colour ramps. Colours are vibrant, while colour balance for photographs was particularly good. Text was pin-sharp right down to relatively small sizes, with none of the smudging we normally see at this level. The projector offers a magnification function where you can instantly blow up part of the presentation, and overall quality, particularly for text, was maintained.

In standard mode, the fan noise was quite audible, although our audience felt it didn’t detract from the presentation. The whisper mode reduces this substantially and, although no figures are given, we’d estimate this drops light output by about 500 lumens, although even on this setting most of our presentations and films still looked good.

So far so good, but the projector let us down halfway through our presentation, as the right front leg suddenly collapsed, with the projector hitting the desk with a bang. It’s a great way to wake up your audience, but it will be an embarrassment nonetheless, particularly in the large venues the SX3500 is aimed at. Furthermore, the support was of no more use, as the metal leg had worn away the nylon lock, so to finish our presentation we had to prop up the projector with a book.

For the range of connectors and its quality output, the TLP-SX3500 is a real winner, but it’s very much a case of nice features, shame about the legs.

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