ProjectorCentral.com

Dukane ImagePro 8788 Classroom Projector Review

Highly Recommended Projector
Performance
5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Education
Dukane ImagePro 8788 Projector Dukane ImagePro 8788
(add to Compare List)
Go to My Compare List

Street Price: n/a
Contrast:500:1
Lumens:2200
Weight: 5.0 lbs
Resolution:1024x768
Aspect Ratio:4:3
Technology:3 LCD
Lens:1.2x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:3,000 Hrs
4,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:5 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, VGA In
Video Formats:  480i, 480p,
Subscribe to Receive Reviews

Dukane ImagePro 8788
Classroom Projector

Allan Abbott, March 3, 2011
ProjectorCentral.com

Dukane's new 8788 XGA projector serves up a nice surprise in the brightness department. It is rated at 2,200 ANSI lumens, and that is just what you get when watching 16:10 format material such as movies or wide spreadsheets. But if you switch to the native 4:3 aspect ratio, brightness jumps to 2,640 lumens, and that can make a difference in a room with limited ambient light control. Billed as a classroom projector, the 8788 serves the conference room just as well with excellent graphics and better-than-average video.

In classrooms, where projectors can get rougher than usual treatment, one key attribute to look for is the warranty period. There are precious few companies that back their projectors with a five-year warranty, but Dukane has enough confidence in the durability of the 8788 to offer one. Also, as an LCD projector, the 8788 is not subject to distracting color wheel rainbow effects that some viewers are sensitive to. As an added bonus, the street price of the 5-pound 8788 is in the $650 range which makes it a good value for the budget conscious.

Overview

Image Quality: Projectors designed for the classroom normally have pretty good data images while falling short in their video capabilities, but the Dukane 8788 is an exception. Data images are crisp and saturated, photos are impactful, and small font spreadsheets are readable even with maximum keystone correction. There were no color variations in white backgrounds, and edge-to-edge focus was excellent. You will not be disappointed with any aspect of data projection, and the video performance is every bit as good.

Even with a relatively low contrast ratio of 500:1, the 8788 rendered highlights and black levels better than most classroom data projectors. Movies scenes had excellent color balance, and Cinema mode produced natural skin tones with no adjustments needed. In fact, neither brightness, contrast, nor color temperature needed tweaking to put up a satisfying video image.

Preset modes: There are four color presentation modes (Daytime, Normal, Dynamic, and Cinema) as well as blackboard, greenboard, and whiteboard settings. The color temperature and gamma settings for these presets are spot on for their particular applications. Unlike most low-cost projectors, the 8788 has four customizable settings for storing your favorite image adjustments.

Auto Source Search: The 8788 makes it easy to find sources when you cannot recall which inputs are active. On power up, it searches all inputs and selects the first active connection it finds. When the Search key is pushed on the remote, it begins searching and selects the next active connection.

Fan noise: In normal mode, fan noise is in the middle and lower frequencies so it is not particularly distracting. In Eco mode, fan noise drops to 29dB and will not be an issue even for those seated close to the projector. However, Eco mode drops brightness by about 35%, so you will have to experiment to see if you can get the image brightness you want along with reduced fan noise.

Remote Control: Remote control key functions are clearly labeled, but in a darkened room, discerning what key does what can be a test. Fortunately, relevant functions are grouped together, and the menu navigation cluster is separate from the function keys, so locating and using them becomes second nature in a short time.

Maintenance: Lamp replacement is made through the top of the projector, so it can be done easily even if the 8788 is ceiling mounted. Like most LCD projectors, the 8788 has an air filter that needs occasional cleaning with a small vacuum cleaner. The good news is that the filter can be replaced quickly if it becomes worn.

Advantages

Brightness and Uniformity: The 8788 exceeded its brightness rating by about 20% with 2,640 ANSI lumens in Daytime mode. Normal mode delivered 2,350 lumens, Dynamic checked in at 1,815 lumens, and Cinema put up 1,405 lumens. Eco mode dropped brightness by 35% in all modes, but with that came a 6dB reduction in fan noise. Uniformity was a superb 90% with the center of the image slightly brighter than the surrounding areas.

Warranty Provisions: While the vast majority of XGA projectors offer warranties in the 1-3 year range, Dukane offers a 5-year warranty on the 8788 and a 90-day warranty on its 200-watt lamp. This longer warranty has a nice upside if repairs are needed after three years, and it could more than compensate for the slight price advantage a few competitors have over the 8788.

User Memories: Many projectors offer a user memory where you can store your favorite image settings. That usually does the trick if you do not share your projector with a many other users. If you do share widely, the other users will appreciate the 8788's four user memories where they can store their own favorite settings and get to them quickly.

On-Screen Menus: The 8788's on-screen menu system is divided into two categories. The Easy Menu lets you adjust several basic functions like aspect ratio, keystone correction, and preset picture mode. If you need to adjust brightness, contrast, sharpness and other more specific settings, you go to the Advanced menu with its eight sub-menus to make your adjustments. The menus are not deeply layered, and navigation is easy. The menu can be positioned in different screen locations, but it still covers a good bit of the image. Fortunately, several adjustments collapse to a single line at the bottom of the image to make viewing their effect easier.

Personalization: If you are going to be the primary user of the 8788, it offers several ways to personalize screen images and button functions. You can import your favorite image to use as a background instead of the usual blue screen, and you can assign names to various inputs (e.g., "Jim's Mac" in place of Computer). You can also assign special functions to the remote's two My Button keys.

My Button: It is convenient to be able to assign one of a variety of functions to each of the two My Button keys on the remote. For example, source information comes in handy while making adjustments, but we suggest assigning Picture Mode to one of them since this setting cannot be accessed while in the Advanced Picture menu.

Lamp Life: Lamp life in normal mode is 3,000 hours, but Eco mode extends lamp life to 4,000 hours while reducing fan noise. Replacement lamps are street-priced at about $180.

Limitations

Connections: Even though the 8788 can handle computer and component video signals, it cannot do so without changing cables. It also requires a special cable (not supplied) to convert the three component video RCA connectors to a VGA connector compatible with the projector's input.

Image Size and Position: The centerline of the lens is 9" above the bottom of the image for a 100" image at a 4:3 aspect ratio. For cart or tabletop mounting, you will probably need to raise the image by tilting the 8788 upward by extending the front elevator feet on either side of the chassis. These feet operate independently, so they can also be used to level the projector horizontally. There is ±30° of vertical keystone correction available.

Placement Flexibility: The 8788's 1.2:1 zoom lens gives you limited throw distance options for a particular image size. For example, if you want a 100" diagonal image, the projector must be placed between 10 and 12 feet from the screen.

No Digital Input: If you are a fan of digital data or video material, you will find no way to accommodate it on the 8788 . . . there is no HDMI port to handle digital inputs from certain laptops and most DVD players.

Audio Quality: The 8788's 1-watt speaker cannot fill a room with sound and external amplification may be called for, but its clarity is good with no buzz or rattle even at the maximum volume setting.

Conclusion

Dukane's 8788 lacks a couple of features such as a digital input and hefty speaker volume, but it makes up for those limitations with excellent data and video performance. We have not seen many projectors that came out of the box and put up such high quality images. In particular, the Cinema preset had outstanding color balance and naturalness, and it was a good choice for both data and video content. Your audience will be similarly impressed.

The 8788 is equally at home in classrooms or conference rooms, and its 5-year warranty is the jewel in its crown. Of the 56 XGA projectors in our database that have specifications comparable to the 8788, 54 of them offer warranties of three year or less. It is not uncommon for projectors to need repairs in their fourth or fifth year of operation, but that will be a no charge event for the 8788. There are other bright XGA projectors that are priced a little lower than the 8788, but its 5-year warranty can make up that difference in a hurry.

(05/18/19 - 11:54 PM PST)
Copyright © 1999-2019 ProjectorCentral.com All Rights Reserved.