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Casio XJ-H1750 w/ LED-Laser review

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Casio XJ-H1750 Projector Casio XJ-H1750
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1400:1 Contrast Ratio
4000 Lumens
PC 3D Ready
Street Price: n/a
$2,099 MSRP
Casio XJ-H1750 merchants

Casio XJ-H1750 Projector
with LED/Laser Hybrid Light Engine

Marc Davidson, March 22, 2012
ProjectorCentral.com

If you have any doubts about how bright a projector with Casio's hybrid light source (LEDs plus a laser) can be, take a look at the XJ-H1750, the current top of the line choice for Casio's Pro models. Casio rates it at 4000 lumens, and we measured it at about 3700. Along with the convincingly bright image, the DLP-based projector offers 1024x768 resolution, excellent data image quality, and lots of extras, from WiFi support to reading files directly from a USB memory key. As with earlier Casio models, however, the light source remains its most interesting feature and a key attraction.

Casio uses red and blue LEDs for the projector's red and blue primary colors, plus a blue laser shining on a phosphor element to produce green. Replacing a traditional mercury-based lamp is an obvious environmental plus. It also helps keep total cost of ownership down, since the light source is meant to last the life of the projector. Even at the hefty $2199.99 price, not having to buy replacement lamps can make the XJ-H1750 more economical than a less expensive projector with a $200 or $300 lamp replacement cost every 2000 or 3000 hours.

Other noteworthy features include five Eco levels plus an automatic Eco mode, which adjusts brightness based on ambient light. The result is both intriguing and an attractive choice for a medium to large size conference room or classroom, particularly if you give extra points for being eco-friendly.

Strong Points

Excellent data image quality. The XJ-H1750's data image quality is easily good enough for any business or classroom use. In most color and brightness modes (there are several of each), it offers nicely saturated colors and suitably neutral grays. The only exceptions are for the two brightest modes, where some shades of gray show a tint, and yellow is a slightly greenish mustard color. However, most projectors' brightest modes have problems with color, so that's not really an issue.

Very much on the plus side, the XJ-H1750 handled both black on white and white on black text extremely well, maintaining crisp edges down to 7 point size in both cases. Screens that tend to cause pixel jitter weren't quite as rock solid with an analog connection as with HDMI, but it takes a close look to see the difference.

Better than par video quality. Video quality is just good enough to count as a plus. The XJ-H1750 handled shadow detail reasonably well and it showed only slight posterization on scenes that are particularly challenging to get right. However, image quality is limited by the 1024x768 native resolution, there is a moderate level of noise, and colors have the dulled down look typical of a low contrast ratio. Ultimately, the quality is best described as usable, which is better than many data projectors can manage.

Good audio quality. Audio is another plus. The XJ-H1750's 10-watt mono speaker puts out enough volume to easily fill a mid-size conference room or classroom, and at acceptably high quality. If you need stereo, you can plug an external sound system into the stereo output.

Eco(nomically)-Friendly. The mercury-free light source with its 20,000 hour lifetime -- long enough to last the life of the projector -- is the most obvious eco-friendly feature in the XJ-H1750, but there are others also.

With five Eco modes, you can pick the one that uses as little power as possible while still being bright enough. I measured power use ranging from 122 watts at the most extreme Eco mode to 249 watts at the least extreme, and at 287 and 340 watts in the two non-Eco modes. In addition, you can set the projector to turn off after not receiving a signal for 5 to 30 minutes.

Also worth mention is Auto Eco mode, although it delivers less than it could. What would make this feature truly useful is if it would keep track of the setting for the 1.2x zoom lens, measure the distance to the screen much like an auto focus feature, and pick the brightness level based on the ambient light and image size. Unfortunately, it's not that smart. With a given light level, it chose the same Eco setting whether I was a little over 12 feet from the screen with a 98" diagonal image, or 38" away with a 33" image. Even so, it can still be more useful than not having the option at all.

Outstanding Warranty. Casio's 5 year warranty is longest warranty in the industry. What may be unique to Casio, however, is the length of the light source warranty, at 5 years or 10,000 hours. The 10,000 hours works out to five years worth of eight hour work days.

Interactive-ready. File the interactive-ready feature under extremely minor extras, given that it's an extra cost option, and the XJ-1750's standard throw makes it hard to avoid shadows. If you want to add it, however, it's $249.99 for the software and interactive pen.

Test Results and Connectivity

Bright image with wide brightness range. The XJ-H1750 offers both a far larger brightness range and more levels within that range than you might expect, with two non-Eco levels, Bright and Normal, plus five Eco levels. In addition, it offers five color presets that also affect brightness, with those presets available only in the Eco modes. This works out to 27 different brightness levels.

I measured Bright mode at 3716 lumens, Normal at 2972, and the five Eco modes at 2405 to 1410 lumens with the default Standard color mode. The color mode settings drop the brightness further, down to 606 lumens for Theater mode in the brightest Eco mode. You can go even lower by combining the lower brightness color settings with the lower brightness Eco modes.

Unlike traditional lamps, the XJ-H1750's hybrid light source doesn't gain additional life by using Eco mode. However, lowering brightness lowers the fan noise considerably, with the fan winding up or down noticeably when you change brightness. Casio says the range is from 35dB to 28dB, but if you're sensitive to fan noise, it's helpful to know that it gets quieter with each step down the brightness ladder.

Excellent brightness uniformity. Brightness uniformity for the XJ-H1750 is excellent. I measured it at 79%, which is a good score. Just as important is that the brightest and dimmest areas are far enough apart, and the change between them gradual enough, that I didn't see any variation across the screen, even with a solid white image.

Good connectivity. The back panel on the XJ-H1750 offers all the connectors you'll likely need, including an HDMI port for a computer or video source, two VGA ports for computers or component video, a pass-through VGA monitor port, and both S-video and composite video inputs.

Audio ports include two stereo miniplug jacks, with each one paired with one of the VGA ports, and a set of stereo RCA phono plug jacks paired with both the composite and S-Video port. A stereo miniplug output lets you connect to an external sound system.

In addition, there's a USB A port that will let you plug in a USB memory key to read JPG files directly. It will also let you plug in the supplied WiFi adaptor to connect directly to send data images to the projector from a computer or most Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones and tablets. Finally, there's an RS-232 control port for a computer or third party controller; a LAN port for data and for controlling the projector over a network; and a USB B port, so you can connect to a computer to use the optional interactive feature.

Limitations

No color mode settings for brightest modes. The non-Eco modes don't have any color presets, so you have to either stay with the default setting, or adjust the color settings manually.

Rainbow artifacts. Rainbow artifacts are always a potential issue for single-chip DLP projectors. With the XJ-H1750, they show up infrequently enough with data that even those who see them easily shouldn't find them bothersome. They show up more often with video, which is typical, but less often than with many DLP projectors, making this only a moderate issue even for video. Those who are most sensitive to seeing DLP rainbows may find them annoying, but most people probably won't.

Limited 3D. The XJ-H1750's 3D is even more limited than with most 3D-ready projectors. As with most, its key shortcoming is the need to buy enough pairs of DLP-Link glasses for your audience, at $70 or more each. Unlike many, however, it supports 3D only over a VGA connection. This means you can't connect through a video converter to show 3D from a Blu-ray player, and you're limited to an analog connection even with a computer.

Conclusion

The Casio XJ-H1750 is a little different from most projectors, with most of the differences in its favor. The hybrid light source, with its mercury-free design and 20,000 hour lifetime, offers ecological benefits and lowers cost of ownership. It also helps that Casio backs up the light source with the extraordinarily long, 5-year or 10,000 hour warranty, the best in the business.

Adding to potential ecological and economic benefits are the seven different levels of brightness without having to change color mode. Instead, for the Eco modes at least, you can pick the most suitable color preset first, and then pick the brightness most appropriate for the lighting conditions.

The projector also scores well on more standard issues. It earns points for its excellent data image quality and usable video quality, plus the reasonably good audio quality and volume. Similarly, the 3700 lumen measured brightness is a solid 93% of the 4000 lumen claim, and easily enough to throw a bright image at a size suitable for a mid-size conference room or classroom. Whether you're drawn in by the ecological benefits, or just want a capable projector, the Casio XJ-H1750 is a particularly impressive beast.

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(11/22/17 - 06:26 AM PST)
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