PG-D45X3D isn't particularly memorable, but if you know how to read it, it tells you a lot of what you need to know about the projector. Reading backwards from right to left: it's 3D ready, which means it has a 120 Hz refresh rate; its native resolution is XGA (1024 x 768); it's rated at 4500 lumens, which means it's bright enough to throw a relatively large image without having to dim the lights; and it's built around a DLP engine. (The PG simply identifies the model line.)
What you can't tell from the name is that the PG-D45X3D also offers any number of useful conveniences, ranging from a reasonably good sound system to a pointer you can control from the remote. At $1,900 street, it's an impressive projector, suitable for a mid- to large-size conference room or classroom.
3D-ready. There are enough competing schemes for tricking the eye into seeing images as 3D that calling a projector 3D ready doesn't tell you everything you need to know. The 3D technologies that seem to be emerging as dominant for projectors for home and business create the 3D effect using active shutter glasses. The projector alternates between frames meant for the left and right eyes, and the lenses in the glasses operate as shutters, synchronizing with the projector to let light through one lens or the other to match the frame on the screen. Your brain takes care of integrating the two sets of images so you see the scene in 3D.
For this to work well, the projector needs a 120 Hz refresh rate, which effectively becomes 60 Hz for each eye. (Lower refresh rates tend to show a visible flicker.) But the critical issue is that the glasses need some way to synchronize with the frames on the screen. In the case of TI's 3D DLP-Link, which is the only 3D scheme that the PG-D45X3D supports, the projector itself generates the synchronizing signal on screen between frames, and the glasses include a sensor to read it.
At the moment, there is little 3D content available, which severely limits the possibilities for testing 3D capabilities. However, Sharp provided a 3D-capable computer and clips, so we can at least confirm that setting the projector up for 3D is easy, and the 3D effect works as promised. As promised in this case is pretty impressive, with my eyes insisting that it saw objects floating both several feet in front of, and several hundred yards behind, the screen.
Also worth mention, because many people might assume otherwise, is that even though the PG-D45X3D doesn't support Nvidia 3D Vision, a competing approach to producing 3D, it will work with a computer that's using an Nvidia graphics card. The only requirement, according to Sharp, is that the card has to be Quadbuffered and Open GL 3D compatible.
Bright image with wide brightness range. We measured the PG-D45X3D at 4355 lumens, or about 97% of its rating, which is a lot better than most projectors score. More important, it's easily bright enough to let you leave all of the lights on in a typical classroom or conference room and still throw a large, bright image.
For smaller rooms or rooms with less ambient light, various preset modes offer a measured 1366 lumens to 2894 lumens, making it easy to switch to an appropriate brightness level. For even more flexibility, there's also an eco mode that drops the brightness by almost a third. We measured the brightest preset with eco mode on at 3001 lumens. The eco mode also boosts lamp life by 50% according to Sharp, from 2000 to 3000 hours, and it saves energy, lowering the power use from a measured 401 watts to 292 watts. The fan noise level also drops significantly, if that's a concern.