Good brightness uniformity. The projector also did well on brightness uniformity, although not quite as well as you might assume from the measured 83%. Whether you see a variation in brightness depends on both the difference between the brightest and least bright areas, and on how close together they are. With the Christie LWU505 and a solid white screen, the area around the vertical midline of the screen was visibly brighter than the sides, particularly in one corner. However, the difference was little enough so you can't see it if you break up the screen with text or graphics.
Zoom lens standard, and a choice of lenses. The 1.7x zoom lens that comes standard on the Christie LWU505 offers a fair amount of flexibility in how far you can put the projector from the screen for any given image size. For our 92" diagonal test image, for example, the calculated distance is anywhere from 11.3 to 19.1 feet with a plus or minus 5% variation for individual lenses. The distance we measured was just within that 5% range.
In addition, Christie offers four other lenses at $2,127 each. Between them, they extend the range for a 92" image to anywhere from 5.3 to 47.5 feet. More generally, using the standard lens, the range for distance from the screen is 4.9 to 8.3 feet for the rated minimum 40" diagonal image size, to 48.2 to 81.1 feet for the rated maximum 400" size. Taking all the lenses into account, the range is 2.3 to 20.4 feet for the minimum 40" image, and 22.7 to 207.7 feet for the maximum 400" size. Note, however, that with the 4300 lumen brightness we measured, the image is likely to be too dim to be comfortably viewable at 400", especially as the lamp ages and looses brightness.
Tools for easy setup. In addition to the zoom lens and choice of lenses, the projector offers two other important conveniences that make setup still easier. The first is vertical and horizontal lens shift, which gives you more flexbility for where you put the projector. We measured the vertical shift at roughly two thirds of a screen height in either direction from the center position and the horizontal shift at roughly 12 or 13 percent of a screen width in either direction from center.
The second tool is a four corner keystone adjustment, which lets you adjust each corner separately to square off the image. Until you've used it, you simply will not believe how easily you can adjust the image to a true rectangle. Standard keystone adjustments don't even come close.
Extensive connectivity choices. Although you could quibble with Christie's choice of connectors, with only one VGA input for a computer or component video, there are enough choices to let you connect just about any way you can think of. For digital connections for a computer or video, there's both an HDMI and DVI-D port. A set of five BNC connectors (a common choice on professional video equipment) lets you connect a component video source using all five connectors (using R,G,B,H,V signals), or three (for the more common three-component video), or use just one for composite video. Similarly, a set of three phono plugs lets you use all three for componant video or one for composite video. In addition, there's an S-video port and a pass-through VGA monitor port.
For audio, in addition to HDMI, there are two stereo miniplugs and one set of stereo phono plugs. One miniplug is paired with the VGA and DVI-D inputs. In addition, menu options let you choose between pairing the HDMI video signal with either the HDMI audio or the miniplug. The second miniplug is paired to the BNC connectors. The phono plugs are paired to the S-video connector and the three phono plugs for video input.
The ports also include a miniplug stereo audio output, LAN and RS-232 connectors to manage the projector from a computer or a control box, a USB port for a computer to let you control the computer mouse pointer through the projector's remote, and a connector that lets you use the remote as wired rather than wireless. Finally, Christie also sells a $699 optional plug-in module for sending data over a network connection.
Near excellent image quality for data. The Christie LWU505 showed some minor color balance issues, with a slight tint in some shades of gray on a screen designed to bring out the problem. However, the tint didn't show on any real world images. Colors were fully saturated and suitably vibrant, both black and white and white on black text was crisp and easily readable even at the smallest sizes we test with, and images that tend to cause pixel jitter with an analog connection showed little to no jitter.
Average video quality. Video quality in our tests was short of top tier, mostly because of a lack of deep dark blacks, but it was better than many data projectors. Connecting to a Blu-ray player using an HDMI connection, I saw no serious problems playing either DVDs or Blu-ray discs. The projector handled skin tones well, delivered acceptable color in Cinema mode, and did an impressively good job of not showing issues like posterization (colors changing suddenly where they should shade gradually) or loss of shadow detail with clips that tend to cause those problems. The quality was good enough to watch a full length movie, particularly with a Blu-ray disc.