M. David Stone, June 16, 2016
ViewSonic PJD5553LWS


ViewSonic LightStream PJD5553LWS


ANSI lumens: 3200      Resolution: 1280x800

Price: $529.99



What the ViewSonic PJD5553LWS is designed for

It is ideal for:

  • Short Throw in Classrooms and Small Conference rooms. Can be used either ceiling mounted, cart-mounted, or in portable applications.

It is also suitable for:

  • Casual Home Entertainment. Delivers high enough quality video for secondary casual home movies and video entertainment. Quick 33 ms input lag will be attractive for gamers. (For dedicated home theater we would suggest spending a couple hundred more and upgrading to native 1080p with a product like the ViewSonic Pro7827HD)



What the ViewSonic PJD5553LWS gives you

  • Widescreen 1280x800 resolution

  • Short throw -- a 100" diagonal image from 3.5 feet

  • Full HD 3D (HDMI 1.4a)

  • Long lamp life -- 5000 hours normal, 10,000 in SuperEco mode

  • Light weight -- 5.5 lbs, easy to transport

  • Remarkably good onboard audio for a 2W speaker

  • 3 Year Warranty, one year on Lamp -- much better than most

ViewSonic 5553 panel

Connection Panel Inputs:

  • (1) 3.5mm audio in
  • (1) 3.5mm audio out
  • (1) S-Video
  • (1) Composite video
  • (1) HDMI 1.4a
  • (2) VGA
  • (1) VGA monitor out
  • (1) Mini USB (for mouse control and firmware upgrade
  • (1) DB-9 RS-232 (for control)

Physical attributes. The connection panel is on the rear of the unit. Looking at the projector from behind, the AC power input is on the left rear corner, the Kensington Lock Slot is on the right rear corner, and the security bar is on the bottom surface on the right side. The control panel is on the top surface, near the back and a little off center between the left and right sides. Cooling intake vents are on the left side of the projector with the hot air exhaust vents on the right side.


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Our Lab Tests: What the Meters Say

BRIGHTNESS. ViewSonic rates the PJD5553LWS at 3,200 lumens. We measured the brightest pre-calibrated operating mode on our test sample at 2,870 lumens. The readings in the five preset modes were these:

MODE
Normal Lamp
Eco Mode
Brightest
2856
2348
Dynamic
2283
1868
Standard
2064
1689
ViewMatch/sRGB
1956
1600
Movie
1266
1036

PRESENTATION OPTIMIZED LUMENS:. The Brightest and Dynamic modes product usable pictures when you need the extra light for a very large screen or in high ambient light. If you don't need the extra light and 2000+ lumens will do the trick, the Standard mode gives you the optimal configuration for color balance and contrast for presentation material.

VIDEO OPTIMIZED LUMENS. The purest video with the best color balance and highest color saturation is found in the Movie mode, which puts out over 1200 lumens in full power mode.

ZOOM LENS EFFECT. With the short throw lens there is no zoom range, so no light is curtailed due to zoom lens effects.

LOW LAMP MODE. The Eco lamp mode reduces lumen output by 18% which is not nearly as much as is typical for eco modes. Since the projector will be plenty bright for most classroom /conference room uses, many will opt for eco mode to get the much extended lamp life of up to 10,000 hours.

In addition to Normal and Eco, there's a Dynamic mode and SuperEco mode. The first makes dark scenes darker, much like an auto iris. Instead of adjusting the iris size, however, it lowers lamp power, which also conserves energy and lengthens lamp life. With the standard white image used for brightness measurements, the readings are the same as with Normal lamp mode. SuperEco mode is actually an automated power-saving feature rather than an Eco mode in the usual sense.

BRIGHTNESS UNIFORMITY. The uniformity measurement for the PJD5553LWS test unit was 55%, which is unusually low even for a short-throw lens. With a solid white or color image, the bottom of the image is brighter than the top, the bottom center is clearly the brightest area in the image, and the upper left and right corners are cool spots. Even with this much variation in brightness, however, the change is gradual enough from the brightest to dimmest areas that the difference is hard to see with the field of view broken up with any text, graphics, or photo-realistic image.

INPUT LAG. With the default settings, the Bodnar meter measures the input lag at 33.4 to 34.2 ms, depending on the preset mode. Higher settings for Brilliant Color yield faster lag times. With Brilliant Color off, the lag rises to 36.4 ms.



What it sounds like

On-board Audio. ViewSonic's SonicExpert technology uses an enlarged speaker chamber and a more powerful amplifier than most projectors in this class to deliver both better sound quality and higher volume than you would expect from the 2-watt speaker. The combination of volume and sound quality makes the audio suitable for a small to mid-size conference room, classroom, or family room.

Fan noise. The audible noise is rated at 32 dB in Normal mode, is loud enough to hear in a quiet room from 10 feet behind the projector, and hard to ignore if you're much closer than that, with a mostly whooshing sound combined with a slight hum. In Eco mode, it's significantly quieter, with a 27dB rating, but still audible from 10 feet away if you're listening for it. If fan noise is one of your pet peeves, you'll want to stay with Eco mode and try to position the projector where it's at least five to ten feet away from the closest seating. The short throw can help make that easy in most rooms.

High Altitude Mode is recommended for elevations of 1500 meters, or about 5000 feet, and higher. The noise level in this mode is loud enough that anyone sitting within 15 feet or so is likely to find it bothersome, with no noticeable effect from switching to Eco mode. If you're at an elevation where you have to use High Altitude mode, consider setting up the projector for rear projection to keep it further from the seating area.



Setting it up

Throw distance. Like most short throw projectors, the PJD5553LWS doesn't have a zoom lens which means there's a specific throw distance for any given image size. For the native 16:10 aspect ratio, the throw distance for a 100" diagonal screen is roughly 3.5 feet. There's digital zoom, but most settings zoom in, showing a partial image at larger size. Only two settings shrink the image, showing it at 90% or 80% of its full size. To find the right throw distance for the image size you want, see the Projection Calculator.

Vertical Offset. With the projector on a table in front of the screen, it throws a 16:10 image such the bottom edge of the image is 5% of the image height above the centerline of the lens. The offset is designed to work well whether you put the projector on a table or upside down in a ceiling mount.


Our take on the ViewSonic PJD5553LWS

At a street price of $529, the ViewSonic PJD5553LWS is all about versatility at an excellent price. It gives you high quality data images bright enough to fill up to a 150" diagonal screen in moderate ambient for classroom or conference room. At the same time it produces brighter than average video -- thee sRGB video optimized calibration is usually one of the dimmer settings on a projector, but sRGB mode on this unit delivers almost 2000 lumens in full power mode, and a solid 1600 lumens even in eco-mode. And that eco-mode substantially reduces fan noise and extends lamp life.

Due to its low cost, its bright image and fast 33 ms input lag, many video gamers on a budget would find this an excellent solution for big-screen gaming in low to moderate ambient light. It also offers far more watchable video than most DLP data projectors, with very few rainbow artifacts and good to near-excellent color quality.

Since it weighs only 5.5 lbs., it fits easily as a combo business and home entertainment projector. Use it in the office or classroom during the week, and bring it home for movies and sports entertainment on the weekends. Its better-than-typical audio quality and volume is a useful extra for both business and home-entertainment use.

The one cautionary note we have is that the fan noise in full power mode may be distracting in a small conference room if you are seated near the unit. The short throw may help you position the projector far enough away from the audience to eliminate the problem, but if not the eco-mode will lower the noise level significantly.

In summary, If you need a bright, versatile and portable 1280x800 data/video projector that can easily move back and forth for business and personal use, the ViewSonic PJD5553LWS is a great value for this type of projection need.

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