Canon LE-5W WH
Portable LED Projector Review
August 2, 2013
Canon has just announced the LE-5W, a 1280x800 resolution, 500-lumen portable projector for the home entertainment and portable presentation markets. It features an LED light source expected to last 20,000 hours. The "W/B" simply defines the chassis color as white or black, so we will use "LE-5" to refer to the projector. List price is $799, but street prices have appeared in the $699-749 range.
The Canon LE-5 weighs in at 3.5 pounds with a footprint about the size of a piece of copier paper. With such a small volume, exhausting heat requires a small high-speed fan, so noise is a little distracting for those seated near the front of the projector. But the LE-5's dual 2.5-watt speakers can raise volume to a level where fan noise is less of a distraction. Engaging the Eco setting for illumination also reduces fan noise dramatically with a small reduction in brightness, so there are two ways to overcome this limitation.
A nice improvement has been made in the LE-5's menu system. In a departure from the norm, there are two separate menus. One is a Home menu for selecting plug in sources such as the SD card or the USB connections along with a Settings sub-menu that offers initial choices such as auto or manual keystone and display orientation. The other Presentation menu is for more frequent adjustments like contrast, brightness, and illumination mode. This reduces menu clutter and layering for everyday use. While you can make source selections for PC, HDMI, and video connections from dedicated buttons on the remote, you have to enter the Home menu to select other inputs like SD cards or thumb drives.
Another improvement is the switching speed of the LEDs themselves. Many inexpensive LED projectors using DLP chips exhibit more rainbow artifacts than bulb-illuminated designs because of the slow switching speed of their LEDs. Make no mistake, the LE-5 still has some rainbow artifacts in certain high contrast scenes, but they are far less detectable than most other LED designs.