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Mitsubishi WD720U Conference Projector Review

Highly Recommended Projector
Performance
4.5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Business
Mitsubishi WD720U Projector Mitsubishi WD720U
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3000:1 Contrast Ratio
4300 Lumens
PC 3D Ready
Street Price: n/a
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Mitsubishi WD720U
Conference Room Projector

Allan Abbott, January 10, 2013
ProjectorCentral.com

When you design a projector that is bright, feature-rich, and too big to lug very far, you can be pretty sure that it will be ceiling-mounted in many applications. If you want to make installation easy, you had better include at least vertical lens shift capability if horizontal shift is not in the budget. Mitsubishi has checked all the boxes with their new WD720U DLP projector. This 1280x800 projector is rated at 4,300 lumens, it has every conceivable input, and it tips the scales at nine pounds which, although not dainty, is still three pounds lighter than its nearest rival.

Mitsubishi bills the WD720U as a multimedia projector, and that is a fair description. It does put up vibrant computer images, but it delivers excellent video images as well. The native 16:10 aspect ratio is terrific for large documents and multi-page spreadsheets, and it displays only tiny black bars above and below the image for a 16:9 format movie. The back panel offers every popular source connection including HDMI and two flavors of USB (Types A and B). The USB-A input allows insertion of USB flash drives containing either JPEG photos or converted Microsoft PowerPoint files for computer-free presentations.

For networked installations, the WD720U offers compatibility with Crestron and AMX control protocols. In addition, both LAN and Ethernet connections are provided. For educators who need an extra measure of security, there is a security bar and a Kensington lock to discourage unplanned movements of the projector. Finally, a 10-watt mono speaker is included for those situations where external amplification may be unavailable. All in all, the WD720U is a solid performer for medium-size venues or for rooms where ambient light is a problem.

The Viewing Experience

Out of the box, the WD720U puts up a video image that really needs no adjustment. Colors are well saturated and flesh tones are excellent in the Theater preset mode, and highlights and shadows are nicely rendered. But when you crank up the brightness in Presentation mode, video images still look good even though their color balance is impacted a little. This means that if you happen to take the WD720U home on the weekend, you will be able to put up an excellent image even if your living room is moderately bright.

Like most commercially oriented, single-chip DLP projectors, the WD720U delivers a dimmer video image than its 4,000-lumen LCD counterparts. This results from the color generation technology differences between the two projector types. This can be a noticeable difference when ambient light is not well controlled.

A nice feature of the WD720U is its large heat exhaust vent. When you are generating 4300 lumens, a lot of heat needs to be evacuated from the case. Many projectors have a small vent and the fan makes a lot of noise pushing all that hot air through the vent. The WD720U's vent consumes the entire right side of the projector and results in lower fan noise than its competitors and no hot spots blowing on audience members sitting near the projector.

The vertical lens shift is well designed. A pop-up cover on the top of the WD720U reveals the lens shift knob which can be rotated to raise or lower the image from its center position. The range of adjustment is not dramatic (roughly ±13% of screen height), but it should be sufficient for most installations.

Key Features

Presets.The WD720U's three preset modes (Presentation, Standard, and Theater) are spot on and require almost no adjustment. In particular, the flesh tones in Theater mode are some of the best renderings we have seen on such a bright projector. There are also two settings for projecting on whiteboards and blackboards that compensate for the background color. If you feel the need to make adjustments, there is a User mode which captures your settings for future sessions.

USB Type-B Universal Connection.If you do not like the bulk of a VGA cable strung between your computer and the WD720U, just replace it with a USB Type-B cable. This connection is valid for a PC running Microsoft XP, Vista, and Windows 7, and no software driver is needed for operation.

Connectivity.Soup to nuts . . . that is the best description of the rear panel of the WD720U. In addition to dual VGA computer/component video connections, there are connections for composite video, S-video, three input and one output audio signals, two USB versions (Type-A and -B), HDMI, RS-232, RJ-45, and a monitor loop through.

Picture Controls. If you like to tinker with brightness, contrast, color temperature, gamma, saturation, hue, and even the individual levels for each color segment, you will be thrilled with the WD720U complement of picture controls. Actually, the video performance is good enough out of the box that picture adjustments are an option, not a necessity, but the flexibility is there if you need it.

Dual Audio Mixer. A unique feature of the WD720U is its ability to mix two audio input channels. For example, if a presenter wants to do a commentary via microphone during a presentation that already has an audio track, a simple menu selection overlays the presentation audio with the presenter's comments. This feature is not available for HDMI content.

Network Connectivity The WD720U is chock full of networking options. You can plug in an Ethernet cable for a direct LAN connection, or you can use Mitsubishi's optional wireless LAN adapter which plugs into the USB Type-A port. There is also a serial port, and the WD720U is fully compatible with AMX Device Directory, Crestron RoomView, and its own ProjectorView Global+ network protocols.

Computer-free Presentations.Put your JPEG photos and converted PowerPoint files (conversion utility provided) on a USB Type-A flash drive, and you are ready for computer-free presentations. Of course, a ceiling-mounted WD720U cannot take advantage of this feature, but if it is cart- or table-mounted, this option can relieve the inconvenience of lugging laptops and cables to your meeting.

Warranty Mitsubishi offers a three-year warranty on the WD720U and a generous one-year or 500 hours warranty on the lamp. Replacement lamps are warranted for 90 days. Mitsubishi also offers their Express Replacement Assistance program which provides a next-business-day replacement for a projector that fails during its warranty period.

Monitor Loop Through.Some projectors offer monitor loop through by disabling one of their VGA connectors, but the WD720U keeps both VGA inputs active while providing a monitor feed from a separate output connector.

3-D Ready. The WD720U is 3D ready for field-sequential format and requires the use of DLP Link active 3D glasses.

Performance

Brightness and Uniformity It is not often that we see a projector exceed its white screen brightness specification, but the WD720U is rated at 4,300 lumens and with Brilliant Color set to maximum, it put up 4,610 lumens in the Presentation preset mode. Other Preset brightness measurements were: Standard - 2,420 lumens, and Theater - 1,105 lumens. The Low (Eco) lamp setting reduced brightness by about 23%. Uniformity measured 83% with the bottom of the image slightly brighter then the top.

Lamp Life The lamp in the WD720U is rated at 3,000 hours when used in Standard mode, but that number stretches to 5,000 hours in Eco mode (or Low mode as Mitsubishi calls it). A replacement lamp is available for $349.

Image Size and Offset. At a 100" diagonal, the bottom of the image is approximately 15" above the lens centerline. This works well for cart and tabletop mounting, and it is also a good offset for a ceiling mount. In addition, you may be able to shorten the ceiling mount drop tube by using the vertical lens shift feature.

Menu Selection and Navigation The menu is layered in some cases (e.g., fine picture adjustments in the Color Management menu) but fairly simple to navigate. The only drawback is that on re-entering the menu system, you do not return to your previous menu location which is a minor annoyance when making fine adjustments.

Placement Flexibility.Two useful features of the WD720U are its generous zoom ratio of 1.5:1 and it vertical lens shift capability. Placement distance from the screen can vary from 9'10" to 14'9" for a 100" diagonal image. However, the more important aspect is the vertical lens shift, especially when dealing with the constraints of ceiling mounts. A 100" image can be moved ±8" to accommodate any installation errors.

Limitations

Intensity Flicker. Like most DLP projectors, the WD720U generates color artifacts that some eyes can detect, but one surprising aspect of our test unit was a subtle but detectible intensity flicker only when the Brilliant Color option was engaged. Fewer color wheel segments might explain things, but the WD720U has a full complement of seven color segments. The good news is that this flicker was undetectable in video modes.

Fan NoiseDespite its large fan exhaust area, the WD720U is, after all, a 4,300-lumen projector, and its lamp generates a lot of heat. In Standard mode, the fan noise is relatively low frequency, but it would be distracting for anyone seated close by. This can be resolved by using Low lamp mode or by ceiling- or shelf-mounting.

Conclusion

The WD720U is a solid performer in the high-brightness projector category. Its data and video performance was very good although the faint flicker on data images with our test unit was a bit puzzling. The input/output combinations covered all the bases including a dual audio input that makes presenter voiceovers easy. Permanent installation was eased with an effective vertical lens shift, and control over image quality, computer synchronization, and network connection was extensive. In our opinion, the WD720U is a top value and earns our 5-star rating.


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(05/24/19 - 02:44 PM PST)
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