Panasonic PT-LC76U and PT-LC80U:
Beautiful Blend of Form and Function

Elizabeth Jefferys, August 29, 2003
Contents
Overview

Pros: Slim, stylish units with comprehensive feature set and quick and easy set-up

Cons: Menu operation is distracting; security features are confusing to implement

Summary: Panasonic packs a load of features and high brightness into a slim 4.9 lb. package at a great price Panasonic PT-LC76U & PT-LC80U

MSRP:
$2,599 (LC76U), $3,999 (LC80U)

Street Price:
$1,799 (LC76U), $2,399 (LC80U)

Major Differences:

  PT-LC76U PT-LC80U
Lumens 1600 2000
Contrast Ratio 300:1 400:1
Keystone Correction Vertical only Vertical & Horizontal
Additional Feature   Blackboard mode

Overview:
With the HDTV-compatible LC76U and LC80U, Panasonic is setting a new standard in the sub-5 lb. XGA LCD projector class. At the time of this review, the LC76U and LC80U compete with 4 other LCD projectors in the mid-range of the mobile class - the Panasonic models are quieter, provide longer lamp life, have more powerful speakers, and are less expensive than otherwise comparable units. Measuring 2.6 x 11.7 x 8.2 inches, these feature-packed projectors are targeted to the traveling professional or tech-savvy educator who is looking for the versatility of multiple connectivity options without having to sacrifice quick and easy setup.

User Experience:
Open the box and the first words that come to mind are sleek and sturdy. Panasonic's XGA LC76U and LC80U projectors are nearly identical twins in a trio that also includes the SVGA LC56U (not reviewed in this article). In addition to the remote and a soft carrying bag, you'll find Operating Instructions and cables for computer (VGA) and RCA A/V connections. The solidly-engineered LC76U and LC80U include a flip down rear door that covers the input panel and provides convenient storage for the credit card sized remote. For ceiling mounting, you can remove the input panel door. IR receivers on both front and back of the unit will make remote operation easy from nearly anywhere in the room.

Store remote on input panel door

After plugging in and connecting cables, 3 easily-accessible onboard buttons take you quickly to presentation mode - Power, Input (video or RGB source selection) and Auto Setup. If you're using the 2 retractable, spring-loaded front feet for additional height, the Auto Setup feature includes a vertical keystone correction that uses the angle of tilt of the projector to automatically determine the correction needed. The LC80U also includes a menu option for horizontal keystone correction for those times when you need to position the projector to either the right or left of the screen. The LC76U and LC80U offer ±30 degrees vertical keystone correction and the LC80U offers ±20 degrees horizontal keystone correction. For RGB connections, Auto Setup also adjusts image position, dot clock and clock phase. Technology fans may be interested to know that dot clock adjustments correct interference that appear as vertical banding in data-intensive presentations like spreadsheets or paragraphs of text in smaller fonts.

Fan noise is low compared to similarly-featured units. Using the low lamp power setting will reduce fan noise even more. Heat vents to the right side of the unit.

Review Contents: Overview Features Additional Features