ViewSonic PJL7201 review

£521
Price when reviewed

Short throw is the buzzword of the moment for projector manufacturers. Products such as the Acer S1200 (see above) are able to pull off some truly impressive optical feats, projecting screen sizes of more than 80 inches in diagonal size from a mere metre away.

ViewSonic has attached this phrase to its new PJL7201 projector, claiming on its website that it has a short throw lens. Examine the small print, however, and you’ll find that it’s is an entirely different type of product to the S1200.

From two metres it projects an image no larger than 69in in size – a good 13in smaller than the Acer. In fact it’s no better in this respect than many of the projectors we reviewed in our last business projectors Labs.

Don’t be put off by the false hype, however, for the PJL7201 is a highly capable projector elsewhere. Weighing 3kg and with fairly bulky dimensions – 325 x 260 x 112mm (WDH) – it’s designed principally for in-building use and permanent installation rather than for travelling sales people, and it excels at its task.

Its 2,700 ANSI lumens brightness rating ensures a crisp, clean image even in brightly lit meeting rooms, and the three transmissive, poly-silicon TFT panels inside guarantee fantastically consistent colours.

In our technical tests, gradient ramps were reproduced smoothly throughout the tonal range, and movies looked crisp, clean and realistic without the rainbow effect that afflicts some DLP-based machines.

Those in education will be happy to discover that, on top of the usual colour temperature adjustments and movie mode, there are presets for projecting onto whiteboards, blackboards and even green chalkboards.

Focus was good – much more so than the slightly compromised Acer S1200. And you also get automatic keystone correction 30 degrees above and below the horizontal.

This does a great job of straightening out your display without reducing the quality too much, and it allows for flexible positioning. Connections are comprehensive, with HDMI, component, composite, S-Video and VGA outputs all catered for. Plus, the lamp is easily replaced and the 3yr on-site warranty generous.

There are downsides. Noise is a little intrusive, even in eco mode, the resolution is basic at 1,024 x 768, and the price of replacement lamps isn’t cheap at around £190 exc VAT, especially as they last just 2,000 hours in normal mode.

All-in-all we’re not as impressed with it as we are the Acer S1200, but if brightness, colour accuracy, flexible vertical positioning and warranty are more important to you, it’s worth considering.

Basic specifications

Projector technology LCD
Resolution 1024 x 768
Lumens brightness 2,700 lumens
Contrast ratio 650:1
Keystone correction? yes
Speakers? yes
Speaker type Mono
Speaker power ouput 7W

Dimensions

Dimensions 325 x 260 x 112mm (WDH)
Weight 3.000kg

Optics

Max diagonal image size 7.6m
Measured image size at 2m 1.7m

Lamp & running costs

Lamp power 220W
Lamp life, standard mode 2,000hrs
Lamp life, eco mode 3,000hrs

Power & environment

Typical power consumption 255W
Peak noise level 34.0dB(A)
Idle/eco noise level 29.0dB(A)

Video inputs/outputs

VGA inputs 1
DVI inputs 1
S-Video inputs 1
Composite video inputs 1
HDMI inputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1

Audio inputs/outputs

3.5mm audio input jacks 1
3.5mm audio jacks 1
RCA (phono) inputs 1

Miscellaneous

Carry case yes

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