Highly Recommended Award
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The LV-7490 is Canon's first 4000 lumen, XGA, portable LCD projector. Weighing in at just 7.2 lbs, and street priced under $1,000, it is one of the lightest and least expensive 4000 lumen projectors on the market. It asserts has a low-maintenance profile with a lamp life of up to 5000 hours and air filters to withstand up to 5500 hours of use. With minimal upkeep and good overall ease of use, the LV-7490 is a solid value in a portable presentation projector. In order to get that 5000 hour lamp life, you need to run in low lamp mode which cuts light output in half. But sometimes in smaller group presentations, cutting the light output in half is exactly what you need to keep from blinding your audience. Overall, the LV-7490 is a versatile presentation projector that generates a lot of power when you need it, and less power when you don't.
Applications & Best Uses
Though the Canon LV-7490 can be deployed permanently in a conference room or classroom, its 7.2 lb. weight and small size allows it to be transported from location to location without too much trouble. It is ideal for the presenter who sometimes has a large audience where up to 4000 lumens is an advantage, and sometimes has a smaller audience for whom 4000 lumens would be way too much.
The LV-7490 is sturdily built with the footprint of a laptop, only twice as thick. Professionals who need high brightness and some mobility will appreciate the LV-7490's smaller than average size. While the projector is a good size to be placed on a rolling cart, it is slightly too large to be comfortable for the frequent business traveler. These people will likely opt for something lighter and less unwieldy-- unless they truly need all of the LV-7490's considerable light output.
Light output. The Canon LV-7490's primary advantage is its variable light output. At its brightest settings, the image is bold and brilliant. There are six pre-defined image settings. From brightest to dimmest, the settings are Presentation, Standard, High Contrast, Cinema, Blackboard (Green), and Colorboard. Presentation offers the highest light output at 3605 lumens on the Normal lamp setting. Standard mode, the next brightest setting, measures 3175 lumens. High Contrast measures 2754 lumens, while Cinema measures 2600 lumens.
If these operating modes are too bright, there are three other lamp modes to reduce brightness --Eco 1, Eco 2, and Lamp A. Lumen output drops by 37% in Eco 1 setting and 51% in Eco 2. Lamp A is a dynamic setting which brightens and dims the projector's lamp based on the content being displayed. Images with a large amount of white are displayed at maximum brightness, while for darker pictures lamp power is reduced. This feature mimics the function of an automatic iris. Unfortunately, its adjustments cause noticeable fluctuations in fan noise. Normally, fan noise on the LV-7490 is a low-pitched rush of air. While not quiet, it is not as distracting as the high-pitched whine produced by some projectors. The Eco lamp modes reduce fan noise drastically, which will ease audience discomfort in a smaller room.
The two brightest modes show some inaccuracy in color reproduction: Presentation mode has a yellow green bias, while Standard mode looks slightly cool. The LV-7490's color adjustments can be used to reduce these biases, though not eliminate them completely. Those seeking a color-balanced image can use High Contrast mode, which is the most neutral of all preset modes. Cinema likewise has a neutral tone, appropriate for movies. Blackboard (Green) has a magenta cast, intentionally used to offset the green color of a typical chalkboard. Alternatively, the Colorboard setting offers four options, each compensating for the type of board used as a screen. For example, Colorboard in Red mode compensates by increasing cyan. For Blue and Yellow Colorboard modes, the projector increases yellow and blue respectively. Colorboard Green and Blackboard (Green) are identical.
Image quality. The LV-7490 creates a bright, clear image that is sharp throughout. Brightness uniformity measures approximately 80%. In High Contrast and Cinema modes, color is accurate, with good saturation that makes movies, photographs, and other graphics look realistic. In the projector's lower lumen image modes, black level and shadow detail are acceptable for movie and video display. Meanwhile, its brighter modes favor maximum light output at the expense of lighter black levels and muddier shadow detail. The projector has a native resolution of XGA (1024x768). Visible pixelation can appear as a fine grid if standing too close to the screen. Moving to a distance of 1.1 times the screen's width is enough to eliminate this effect.
Practical applications. The LV-7490's different image modes can handle these different types of content. Presentation mode is best suited for text documents and financial spreadsheets since it maximizes brightness at the expense of color accuracy and shadow detail. Standard mode is best for PowerPoint presentations as brightness is still high, while color accuracy is better than in Presentation mode. For photographs and movies, High Contrast and Cinema modes are acceptable, with High Contrast being more neutral than Cinema's warm color temperature.
Keystone. Due to the LV-7490's fixed throw angle offset, keystone correction may be necessary. When making keystone adjustments, image quality does not degrade: text is easy to read and there are no artifacts such as warping. Auto keystone is accurate. In repeated tests, auto keystone adjustments matched our manual keystone adjustments.
Easy to Use. Upon start up, the projector detects the correct port and appropriate signal resolution then displays the image near instantaneously,in less than three seconds. The menu interface is simple and intuitive. While there are many different options, the LV-7490 makes it easy to find what you need without hunting. Similarly, the remote is neither too complicated nor unnecessarily spartan. Compact, yet big enough to hold securely, the remote has just enough proportionately sized buttons to do exactly what is needed. Ultimately, those unacquainted with this particular projector will still be able to use it with minimal orientation time.
Short zoom and fixed throw angle. The Canon LV-7490 has a 1.2:1 fixed throw angle lens, which means throw distance options are limited. For a projected image size of 100 inches diagonal, it has a throw distance range between 11'7" and 13'11".
The throw angle offset is measured to be -8%, which means that 8% of the vertical height of the image appears below the centerline of the lens. Due to its slight negative throw angle, if you place the unit on a conference table you will most likely need to tilt the projector upward to get the image high enough on the wall, then use keystone correction to square up the image. In a permanent ceiling mounted installation, you may wish to use a drop tube to lower the position of the projector in order to avoid tilting and keystone adjustments.
No digital input. The LV-7490's connection panel lacks a digital input. While DVI is less ubiquitous than before, HDMI is becoming a common feature on presentation projectors. The absence of HDMI requires separate audio cables to use the onboard sound system.
Light loss in Eco. According to Canon, the LV-7490 has a lamp life of 3000 hours in full power mode and 5000 hours in Eco 2. Eco 2 imparts a 51% reduction in lumen output which is a more substantial drop in brightness than average for this class of projector. So keep in mind that if you are buying the LV-7490 anticipating a full 5000 hour lamp life, you will need to run it in operating modes that put out less than 2000 lumens.
The Canon LV-7490 is an appealing choice for presenters who operate in different venues due to its high brightness, reasonable portability, and its ability to tailor lumen output to many difference sizes of audience and rooms. The preset modes are capable of handling a variety of content, while easy upkeep and low fan noise make this a good choice for schools. Those who might want to use its onboard speakers will wish that it had an HDMI port, and those who routinely use it table top in a conference room will probably prefer a higher throw angle. However, the LV-7490 produces a strong, dynamic, sharp picture for presentations. At street prices at or under $1,000, it is aggressively priced and an excellent value in the 4000-lumen class of high-brightness portables.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Canon LV-7490 projector page.