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Casio XJ-H2650: LED/Laser Conference Projector

Performance
4
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Business
Casio XJ-H2650 Projector Casio XJ-H2650
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Street Price: n/a
3D: PC 3D Ready
Contrast:1,400:1
Lumens:3500
Weight: 15.6 lbs
Resolution:1280x800
Aspect Ratio:16:10
Technology:DLP
Lens:1.2x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:20,000 Hrs
20,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, VGA Out, VGA In (x2), HDMI, Network, Audio Out, Audio In (x3), Wireless Networking, USB (x2), RS232
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p
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Casio XJ-H2650
LED/Laser Conference Room Projector

Marc Davidson, August 20, 2012
ProjectorCentral.com

The Casio XJ-H2650 rated at 3500 lumens and weighing 15.6 lbs., is one of the first projectors to combine Casio's hybrid LED-laser light engine with 1280x800 resolution and brightness available only in Casio's Pro series installation projectors. If you've been intrigued by Casio's hybrid light engine, but wanted the Pro models' brightness at higher resolution than they've offered until now, this may be the projector you've been waiting for.

Notable features include near excellent data image quality and conveniences like Wi-Fi support and the ability to read files from a USB memory key. However, the light source, which uses red and blue LEDs plus a blue laser shining on a phosphor element to produce green, is responsible for some of the projector's key strengths. In particular, it eliminates both mercury-based lamps and the expense of replacing them, since it's designed to last the life of the projector.

The low running cost makes the XJ-H2650's $2199.99 initial price a lot easier to justify. The total cost of ownership can be lower than for a less expensive projector with a 2000 to 3000 hour lamp life and a $200 or $300 lamp replacement cost. Along with the data image quality and convenience features, it helps make the XJ-H2650 a strong candidate for a small to mid-size conference room or classroom.

Strong Points

Near excellent data image quality. The XJ-H2650 earns a high score for data image quality despite some minor flaws. Colors were generally well saturated and vibrant in my tests, for example, despite red being a little dark in terms of a hue-saturation-brightness model in all modes. Yellow was shifted slightly towards green in more than half of the modes, but not enough in most cases to be an issue for data screens. The color shift is most noticeable in the brightest modes, but that's par for the course. Most projectors' bright modes have issues with color.

Various shades of gray were suitably neutral in most modes. The brightest shades in some of the brighter modes, showed a slight yellowish tinge, but, here again, not enough to be an issue in most cases.

Generally more important for data images is that the XJ-H2650 did an excellent job with text, maintaining crisp edges and highly readable text at sizes as small as 7 points. With an analog connection, I saw moderate pixel jitter, but only on screens designed to bring out the problem. If you find it bothersome, you can use an HDMI connection instead for rock solid images.

Better than par video quality. Although the XJ-H2650's video is far from home theater quality, it's above par for a data projector. Among other issues, I saw minor to moderate noise, the dulled down color that goes with a low contrast ratio, and skin tones in some scenes shifted towards green. However, the projector handled shadow detail well, and the overall quality was good enough to be watchable. For a data projector, that counts as a plus.

Good audio quality. The audio system on the XJ-H2650 also earns points, with the 10-watt mono speaker delivering reasonably high quality and enough volume for a mid-size conference room or classroom. If you need stereo, you can plug an external sound system into the stereo output.

Eco-friendly. The XJ-H2650's most obvious eco-friendly feature is its 20,000-hour light source, which is mercury-free and eliminates both the need for replacements and the carbon costs for shipping them.

Beyond that, the two non-Eco brightness modes and five Eco modes let you pick a setting that's just bright enough for the ambient light and screen size, which can make a significant difference in power use. I measured the two non-Eco modes at 292 and 340 watts, and the Eco modes at 115 to 257 watts. You can also save power by setting the projector to turn off after not receiving a signal for 5 to 30 minutes.

Also worth mention is the Auto Eco mode, although it's more limited than it could be. Turn it on, and it picks an Eco mode level based on ambient light, reliably switching levels in my tests when I turned the lights on and off. In theory, it should also consider image size, keeping track of the setting for the 1.2x zoom lens and measuring the distance to the screen much like an autofocus feature. Unfortunately, it doesn't. For any given level of ambient light, it chose the same setting whether it was a little over 10 feet from the screen with a 93" diagonal image, or a little over 3 feet with a 30" image. How useful the feature will be depends on whether the auto settings are appropriate for the screen size you're using.

Excellent warranty. Casio's Web site and the warranty card in the XJ-H2650's box both say that the warranty is three years for the projector and three years or 6000 hours for the light source. We must note that our Casio spokesperson states that the warranty is actually five years on both the projector and light engine, which is even better. However, that does not currently appear in Casio's published warranty info. Either way, the Casio warranty is better than that offered by most other projector vendors.

Interactive-ready. Barely counting as a plus is that the XJ-H2650 is interactive-ready. The standard throw limits the feature's usefulness by making it hard to avoid shadows, but if you want interactivity, you can add the needed software and interactive pen for $249.99.

Test Results and Connectivity

Bright image with wide brightness range. The XJ-H2650 offers only one color preset for its two non-Eco modes, but five presets for each of the five Eco modes. The 27 possible combinations translate to both a larger brightness range than most projectors offer and far more levels within that range.

Bright mode came in at 2985 lumens on our tests, and Normal mode at 2503 lumens. The five Eco modes ranged from 2068 down to 1156 lumens using the brightest color preset. Other presets drop the brightness significantly, with the Theater preset coming in at 541 lumens with the brightest Eco mode. Combine the lower brightness color presets with the lower brightness Eco modes, and you can drop the brightness even further.

Note that using Eco mode doesn't lengthen the life of the hybrid light source the way it does with traditional lamps. However, it makes a big difference in fan noise. I'm less sensitive to fan noise than many people, but in this projector's brightest mode the noise was distracting from ten feet away. Fortunately it gets quieter and less annoying with each step down in brightness. It's still audible, but tolerable for my tastes, from ten feet away in the brightest eco mode, and almost inaudible from two feet in the most extreme eco mode.

Also, though Casio's portable projectors can generate more than their fair share of heat, neither the XJ-H2650 itself nor the air from the cooling vents seemed unusually hot.

Brightness uniformity. The projector also scored well on brightness uniformity, at 78%. Just as important, the brightness changes gradually enough between the brightest and dimmest areas that, even with a solid white image, I didn't see any variation across the screen.

Good connectivity. The XJ-H2650 back panel offers all the connectors you'll likely need, including an HDMI port for a computer or video source, two VGA ports for computers or component video, and both S-video and composite video inputs. For output, there's a pass-through monitor port and a stereo miniplug for an external sound system.

One nice touch is labeling that shows which audio ports are paired with which image inputs, with a line connecting each of two stereo miniplug jacks to the VGA port it goes with, and another line indicating that the stereo RCA phono plug jacks are paired with both the composite and S-Video ports.

Other connectors include a USB A port that will let you plug in a USB memory key to read JPG and a few other file formats directly. It will also let you plug in the supplied Wi-Fi adaptor, which will let you connect directly to the projector and send data images from any Windows or Mac computer or most Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones and tablets. Finally, there's an RS-232 port for a computer or third party controller; a LAN port for data and for control over a network; and a USB B port for connecting to a computer for the optional interactive feature.

Limitations

Fan noise. The fan noise in the XJ-HS650's brightest mode should be taken into consideration when planning an installation as it can be distracting if placed within ten feet of the audience. Options are to place the unit farther away or set it to run in eco mode and give up some of its brightness.

No color presets for the brightest modes. With no color presets for the non-Eco modes, your only choice is to adjust color manually or stay with the default settings.

Rainbow artifacts. DLP rainbow artifacts show up infrequently in data presentations but in video they show up more often. Most people won't find them annoying, but those who are sensitive to DLP rainbows should keep in mind that this projector will produce them on occasion.

Limited 3D. The XJ-H2650 offers 3D with DLP-Link glasses, but it's even more limited than most 3D-ready projectors, supporting 3D over a VGA connection only. Also, it doesn't come with glasses, so you'll need to buy enough for your audience.

Conclusion

Like all of Casio's hybrid light source projectors, the XJ-H2650 will be of particular interest to anyone who takes the ecological benefits seriously, or cares more about cost of ownership than initial price. The 20,000-hour mercury-free light engine offers advantages in both areas. So do the seven brightness modes that let you pick the lowest brightness suitable for the lighting conditions.

The projector also offers enough other strengths to make it attractive even for those don't put a priority on ecological benefits. It scores lots of points for its near-excellent data image quality, better than par video quality, reasonably good audio quality, and high volume.

It also does well on brightness. The measured 2985 lumens is easily enough to throw a bright image at a size suitable for a mid-size conference room or classroom. And it earns still more points for the long warranty and for conveniences like Wi-Fi and the ability to read files from USB keys. Add up all the pluses, and the XJ-H2650 is an attractive choice by any measure.


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(05/20/19 - 12:02 PM PST)
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