Mobile & Multipurpose Projector
March 31, 2006
Many inexpensive data projectors have trouble with edge to edge sharpness, and this is one of the first things we check on mobile presentation units. But in this the PJ458D performs flawlessly. Provided that the projector is square with the screen, all areas of the projected image on our test unit were sharp simultaneously.
Lumen output on the Viewsonic PJ458D will vary depending on what you want to do with it. At settings tailored to presentation, specifically text presentation, our test unit measured 1516 ANSI lumens out of a rated 2000 ANSI. While these settings are suitable for text display, color performance is lackluster. When more emphasis is placed on color balance and less on lumen output, we measured 505 ANSI lumens. At these settings, the PJ458D is a very capable projector for photography display, and color balance is excellent. Finally, at settings best tailored for video, the PJ458D put out a respectable 270 ANSI lumens. Depending upon lamp output (eco mode on or off) and white peaking, lumen output can vary significantly even within these ranges.
Contrast, rated at 2000:1, is sufficient to give a data image good dynamic range and make text easy to read. Black level and shadow detail are not comparable to that found on most home theater projectors, but though it was designed for just occasional video use the PJ458D can produce a remarkably exciting video image.
The PJ458D is capable of very good color performance. On our test unit, color needed some initial fine-tuning. Starting from "Mid" color temperature, the projector was biased towards red, and green was likewise overemphasized. We brought red and green down a few notches, raised blue levels, and boosted saturation. With data material, pictures were vibrant and well saturated. When projecting video, objects seemed lifelike, and color balance was superb.
At medium screen sizes - up to about 60" diagonal - a video image from the PJ458D looks surprisingly good for such a low-cost projector. Contrast is more than sufficient for occasional video use - such as watching a movie on the weekends, or a football game on Sunday. Color is rich and vibrant. And while deinterlacing and scaling are not quite on a level with home theater projectors, they do not significantly detract from the viewing experience or offer any major flaws. Most importantly, the PJ458D has an almost noise-free video picture. While there is usually some image noise present in any digital projector's image - even home theater projectors - there is almost none present on the PJ458D. This is noteworthy in and of itself, and complements the already admirable video performance of this projector.