Portable Classroom Projector Review
October 20, 2009
The XD280U from Mitsubishi is a new XGA DLP projector for the classroom. It incorporates several advanced features that educators will appreciate with a low operating cost that administration will love. While the manufacturer's description of "micro-portable" is a bit of a stretch, the projector has a small form factor and weighs less than eight pounds. It is an ideal choice for either ceiling mounting or A/V cart use. The XD280U is a great projector that's designed with the classroom in mind.
Brightness. With the projector's Color Enhancer set to the default User mode, and the lamp set to Standard, our brightness testing returned a screen average of 3,070 lumens, nicely matching the published claims. The User mode stores the settings you make on the Image menu, but out of the box its default settings are nearly identical to Presentation mode, with the full brightness typically used for a computer display input. A pleasant surprise was the Low lamp mode, which is purported to double the lamp life from 3,000 to 6,000 hours but only reduced light output by 19%, which measured 2,500 lumens in this mode. Presentation mode measured 3,010 lumens. Standard mode, which measured 2050 lumens, reduces image brightness somewhat compared to presentation mode but improves contrast and color. Theater mode reduced brightness to 1,200 lumens with lamp on full power, but offered the best color and contrast performance of any image mode.
Audible Noise. We did not find any published specifications for fan noise, but we measured 36 dBA at 4 feet in Standard lamp mode. This is an acceptable noise level. At a small conference table with the users sitting nearby, it may be desirable to use Low lamp mode, which reduces fan noise to 27.5 dBA. This will reduce lumen output by 19%, so a smaller screen size - or more thorough light control - should be used.
Throw angle. There is no lens shift available, but at a projection size of 60" x 80", the fixed image offset puts the bottom of the image at 9" above the lens centerline, or 15% of image height. This is convenient for both ceiling mounting and tabletop use.