XGA DLP Microportable Projector
May 5, 2010
The new HX300G from LG is a microportable projector, perhaps better known as a "pocket" projector in some circles. It is larger than pico projectors, which have their own internal battery and (usually) abysmal light output, but it is much smaller than the typical five-pound portable XGA projector, too. Projectors in this in-between category have existed for quite some time, but the HX300G has some features that are sure to pique more interest.
The HX300G is the perfect companion to the presenter on the go. It weighs only 1.7 pounds, less than many netbook computers. It measures only 2.4" x 6.3" x 5.3", small enough to put in a briefcase. It produces 300 lumens of brightness in its brightest mode and has 2000:1 contrast. The native resolution is XGA, not SVGA like many other microportables. The HX300G has an onboard HDMI port for high-quality digital video, a 30,000-hour LED lamp, and an FM transmitter, allowing you to broadcast your audio to any sound system with an FM radio tuner.
With all of these features and a great data picture, the HX300G has an MSRP of $799. At this price range, there are several projectors available which are much brighter than the HX300G, though they lack some of its advanced features. However, if you need the HX300G's specific combination of portability and features, it is still a solid value.
Light output. The HX300G is one of the brightest microportables available, at 300 lumens theoretical potential. Our test unit measured 248 lumens maximum, using "Vivid" mode with the lamp set to "Presentation." This is enough for a 60" diagonal 4:3 image in a darkened viewing area, or a 40" to 50" diagonal image in a room with some ambient light--provided you're not too worried about contrast. For Powerpoint and other easy-to-read material, this screen size should work well for small group presentations.
The HX300G uses a three-setting lamp, with the settings labeled "Presentation," "Normal," and "Low." Normal mode reduced lumen output by 11% in all image modes, while Low mode reduced lumen output by 25%.
While Vivid mode is the brightest and best suited for simple material like text documents and some Powerpoint presentations, it is also noticeably overblown in certain highlights and does not optimize color saturation. For the best possible color, the HX300G's Cinema mode has better saturation and contrast than Vivid. Cinema also pushes color temperature towards the red, so purists may want to spend some time in the menu system and make some adjustments. Cinema mode measured 184 lumens with the lamp at full power. Photographs and data graphics will look good in this mode, especially if you can dim the lights.
Resolution. The HX300G has a native resolution of 1024x768, or XGA. Most other microportable projectors are SVGA, or 800x600. As XGA represents half again as many pixels as SVGA, the HX300G can be used for more complex and detailed documents, such as spreadsheets or text documents with small typefaces. If you are displaying photography or other graphics, XGA has a clear advantage over SVGA due to increased pixel density. Diagonal lines appear smoother, pixels appear smaller, and gradients appear more natural. It will also appear to have less screen-door effect than comparable SVGA projectors.