Review: Mitsubishi XD450U
December 16, 2004,
Mitsubishi has been building projectors as well as plasmas, big-screen TVs and other video products for many years now. They've got a lot of engineering and marketing depth in video systems and their products are always noteworthy. However, from time to time they come up with a product that makes you recall, say, Johnny Damon's grand slam that put the Red Sox into the World Series. That product is the XD450U.
Consider this: the XD450U is rated at a super bright 2600 ANSI lumens, and a high contrast of 2200:1. It has DVI input with HDCP. It has low fan noise. It has a sealed light engine with no air filters-which means no filters to change or clean every month or two. That combined with a 5000-hour lamp in eco-mode makes this just about the most maintenance-free projector ever built. Warranty? How about a three-year warranty, including a full one-year warranty on the lamp instead of the typical 90 days? But beyond all that XS450U has a DLP-based XGA resolution light engine that produces excellent video quality as well as superb data display. Put that all together for an estimated street price of just $2,995, and you have the closest thing to a grand slam that we see in the projector industry.
The XD450U features a 4:3 format native XGA (1024x768) resolution DLP chip, and a four-segment, 2x speed color wheel. The unit will display native 16:9 images in 1024x576 resolution, which is the same format as today's home theater projectors that use the Matterhorn chip.
Lens and throw distance. Manual zoom and focus with a 1.2x zoom range. A 100" diagonal 4:3 image is obtained from a throw distance of 11 to 13 feet, so the throw distance is about average for this class of product.
Lamp. 250W P-VIP lamp with 2000-hour life in normal operating mode and 5000-hour life in low-power mode.
Compatibility. DVI-D (HDCP), component and RGB HDTV 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i, and computer resolutions up to SXGA (1280x1024). NTSC, PAL, SECAM.
Connection panel. Located on the rear of the unit. Video connectors include one DVI (HDCP), two sets of RGB inputs (15-pin VGA) for both RGB and component video input, one S-video port; one composite video jack, one RS-232 control, one USB computer, and one VGA monitor output.
There are audio inputs and audio output for all video sources. So this unit can be set up with multiple video sources without the use of an AV receiver or other input switching device, in the event you don't care about multi-channel surround sound. Audio output can be fed into an external amplifier and speakers for conference room or presentation use if desired.
Note: There are no RCA component inputs on this unit, so analog component signals must be fed via a cable with 3 RCAs on one end and a VGA connector on the other, or with a standard component video cable and an RCA to VGA adapter. These accessories are easy to get from AV dealers, but they don't come standard with the product and must be ordered separately if needed.
Filter free. The large majority of digital projectors have air filters that require cleaning or changing on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, depending on how much dust there is in the environment. Failure to keep filters clean is a leading cause of shortened lamp life, and it can also cause dust contamination on the panels or chips that produces fuzzy spots on the screen. The XD450U does not have this issue. The light engine is sealed, so it has no filter, and thus no filter maintenance or dust contamination to worry about. This should be an attractive feature for those (like me) who cannot remember to keep those filters clean.
Warranty. Three years, with a standard one-year warranty on the lamp, which is a first in the industry. Most lamp warranties are only 90 days. Given the potential flakiness of high pressure lamps, this is a feature that can give the user some unique financial peace of mind.