October 3, 2011
Brightness Our XJ-M255 test sample got closer to its rated brightness than the XJ-A250V did, but it still fell short with only 2,225 ANSI lumens in its brightest mode (Bright setting). It actually is brighter when you first turn it on (2,400 lumens), but it slips to the 2,225 lumen level over the first fifteen minutes of operation and remains there for the duration. Many projectors do not meet their brightness ratings, but few miss it by 25%.
The ANSI lumen performance of the XJ-M255 is as follows: Bright - 2225, Normal - 1710, Eco (Manual) and Standard - 1470, Graphics - 850, Theater - 810, Blackboard - 935, and Game - 1200. In Eco (Auto) mode, the light sensor can reduce image brightness from 1470 lumens to a minimum of 910 lumens in four steps. Brightness uniformity was 83%.
Preset Availability Like its predecessor, the XJ-M255 only allows you to select preset modes (Standard, Graphics, Theater, Blackboard, and Game) when you have set the light engine to Eco mode. This means that in the projector's brightest modes (Bright and Normal), you are limited to only brightness, contrast, and one of three color temperature settings for computer and HDMI signals.
Menu Placement Unlike most projectors, the on-screen menu cannot be moved around the image nor can its transparency be altered. It is squarely in the middle of the image, and it blocks a sizable portion of the image when making basic adjustments such as contrast, brightness, and color temperature.
Casio's new XJ-M255 is a good example of the maxim "you can't judge a book by its cover." It is not compact nor is it light, and first impressions seem to destine it for a fixed mounting. But when you examine its capabilities and ignore the minor inconvenience of toting it around, it morphs into a real contender for multiple presentation environments... including the wireless variety that many road warriors face nowadays. If you deal with collaborative meetings or have colleagues who want to put their latest smartphone photos up for review, you will need to use a projector with all sorts of input versatility.
The XJ-M255 misses its brightness specification by a pretty wide margin, but it still has enough output to be useful in low to moderate ambient light. Its unique laser/LED illumination system eliminates the traditional replacement of mercury vapor lamps, and this light engine is designed to last for about 20,000 hours so it should still be working a decade after you purchase it under the most aggressive usage. Despite its lower-than-predicted brightness, the image quality of the XJ-M255 is excellent especially if you can use the presets available in Eco mode.
At $1,499 and 8.6 pounds, the XJ-M255 is neither the least expensive nor the lightest 1280x800 projector on the market, but it is solidly built, and it handles more presentation environments than many competing projectors. Considering the lumen shortfall, we cannot give the XJ-M255 five stars in the Performance or Value categories, since there are quite a few competing units with comparable lumen output and the same weight and resolution that are priced well under $1,000. Though the light source is rated for 20,000 hours, the long run savings on replacement lamps is factored into the premium price. However, the XJ-M255 does merit our highest rating for Features and Ease of Use. It is a solid contender where versatility is a key requirement. And if you do have a heavy usage application and plan to put more than 10,000 hours on your projector before upgrading it, the 20,000 hour light engine could definitely contribute to lower cost of operation in the long run.