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Optoma TX536 mobile business projector review

Performance
4.5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Business
Optoma TX536 Projector Optoma TX536
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Street Price: n/a
Contrast:3,000:1
Lumens:2800
Weight: 5.0 lbs
Resolution:1024x768
Aspect Ratio:4:3
Technology:DLP
Lens:1.1x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:3,000 Hrs
4,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, VGA In (x2), RS232
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60
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Optoma TX536
Portable Multimedia Projector Review

Jeffrey Janas, September 25, 2009
ProjectorCentral.com

The Optoma TX536 is a small, 5 lb. XGA DLP projector in Optoma's Portable Business Series designed for the mobile presenter. It combines high brightness and high contrast to produce a quality image in darkened rooms, and those with ambient light. The TX536 also brings above average video performance to the table, compared to other projectors in its class, displaying noise free images that are relatively accurate even with out-of-the-box video settings. It is also a good fit for a classroom, since it sports multiple security features, monitor pass-through and very low cost of ownership. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, and its basic feature set may not fit every application. But Optoma has succeeded in producing a projector of excellent value with a focus on image quality.

Advantages

Sharpness and Brightness: The Optoma TX536 displays images that are bright and powerful with consistent image sharpness from image edge to edge. Under close inspection, pixel edges are clearly discernable, indicating good lens quality at this price point. Additionally, the TX536 has perfect convergence of red, green and blue image color components (due to the single chip DLP design) that contributes to image sharpness. Displayed text and small details are clear and readable across the entire screen. This projector is a great fit for any application that requires fine detail, such as small text or large format drawings.

The measured brightness of our test sample in 'bright' lamp mode was 1,822 ANSI lumens - while not quite meeting the manufacturer's specification of 2,800 ANSI lumens, the Optoma TX536 is bright enough for normal size screens where ambient light is a factor and for large format screens where light control is possible.

The BrilliantColor™ setting is a great feature for presentation-based material that adds a significant amount of brightness and 'pop' to the image. This feature does a great job in adding delineation between dark and light parts of the image (i.e. standard presentation style of dark text against a light background) without washing out the image or eliminating highlights. While BrilliantColor™ is a great feature for presentation purposes, it must be used at a low setting to get the best video quality.

Low Cost of Ownership: The combination of the TX536's street price of less than $700, a 4,000 hour standard lamp life, replacement lamps under $200, maintenance free design and an excellent three-year warranty all add up to a great value and a low cost of ownership. Its value proposition is a great picture without a lot of extras, for a very low price.

Small form factor: At only five pounds in weight and a footprint smaller than a standard A11 sheet of paper, the TX536 can easily fit in a laptop carry case. An additional benefit of the form factor is that all connections - including the standard IEC C13 power adapter - are on the rear panel. Many projectors in this class have the power cable input on a face adjacent to the input connections which can make cable routing in a non-dedicated setup more complicated. Additionally, this projector includes both front and rear adjustment feet to help square up the image to the screen.

Near silent operation: The TX536 is an extremely quiet projector, only emitting white noise from the cooling fan. The color wheel is completely silent with no shrill noise or change in frequency when the projector synchronizes to a new signal, as is sometime seen in DLP projectors.

Above average video performance: As an accessory for the business traveler, this projector may be a terrific alternative to a hotel room television. The combination of 3,000:1 contrast plus high brightness gives the TX536 the ability to produce quality video images. Color performance in the pre-set 'Movie' mode is accurate within reason, producing natural looking flesh tones and images thick with color depth. It will accept a 72Hz refresh rate from a PC at its native resolution of 1024x768 - which will eliminate the judder in film-based material that derives from conversion to a refresh rate that is not a multiple of the film's native 24 fps. The TX536 will also accept 720p and 1080i signals in component video format, producing clear and tear-free images. The Optoma TX536 and a laptop set at the native XGA resolution make a great combination for traveling videophiles who are sure to enjoy its above average video performance.

Security features: The TX536 includes several security features, including a Kensington Lock, a security bar and additional soft security features. The projector can be configured to require a password for startup and to request re-entry of the password after a pre-set amount of time.

Limitations

Long Throw Ratio/Limited zoom range: The 1.1: 1 zoom range and a minimum throw ratio of greater than 2:1 limit the image size achievable for a given setup situation. In practical terms, the Optoma requires over 14 feet to produce a 100" diagonal image whereas a projector with a minimum ~1.5 throw can produce the same image size at a distance under 10 feet. This may or may not be a significant issue, as many mobile presentations do not require massive image size.

No Digital Input: The TX536 does not include a digital input, requiring users to rely on a standard 15 pin D-Sub monitor connection. While not a significant issue for the intended market, the lack of digital input does limit input flexibility and excludes this projector from consideration by those who demand a digital input.

Brightness Uniformity: Brightness measurements showed significant variance in edge-to-edge uniformity. Lumen measurements were approximately 40% higher on the right side of the screen versus the left when the projector was in a tabletop configuration. This variance in uniformity contributed to the gap in measured ANSI lumens versus the specification - the brightest point on the screen was much closer to the specification of 2,800 ANSI lumens. While the meter is sensitive to the differences in brightness across the screen, they are less noticeable to the naked eye when material other than a white screen is being displayed.

No Auto-Keystone: Many projectors in this class include an auto-keystone capability that will automatically square up the image based on the projection angle of the projector. Although the TX536 does not have this feature, keystone correction can be done via buttons on the remote control that make it quick and easy. Aside from the lack of an auto function, keystone correction performs well, producing text that is clear and readable even when applied at extreme levels.

No network capability: For fixed business or classroom environments, network capability provides advantages for integration into control systems. The TX536 does not have network capability, but does contain an RS-232 port for use as an alternative form of wired control.

Conclusion

Ideally suited for the mobile presenter, the TX536's small form factor makes it easy to transport from location to location and quick to setup and take down. With its low ownership cost, the TX536 is also great for classroom use that does not require an auto-keystone, a long zoom range, or network capability. The Optoma TX536 places a priority on image quality and value over bells and whistles. And in this it excels-the TX536 delivers sharp and bright images with great color for a very low cost of ownership.


(05/25/19 - 03:17 PM PST)
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