ProjectorCentral.com

Ricoh PJ WX4130N Short Throw Projector Review

Highly Recommended Projector
Performance
5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Business
Ricoh PJ WX4130N Projector Ricoh PJ WX4130N
(add to Compare List)
Go to My Compare List

Street Price: n/a
3D: PC 3D Ready
Contrast:2,500:1
Lumens:2500
Weight: 6.6 lbs
Resolution:1280x800
Aspect Ratio:16:10
Technology:DLP
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:3,000 Hrs
4,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  Composite, VGA In, HDMI, Network, USB, RS232
Video Formats:  480i, 480p,
Subscribe to Receive Reviews

Ricoh PJ WX4130N Short Throw
Conference Room Projector

Allan Abbott, May 24, 2012
ProjectorCentral.com

Ricoh may not be the first name that comes to mind when considering a short-throw projector, but their new PJ WX4130N may change that. With a native resolution of 1280x800, the DLP-based WX4130 puts out 2,500 lumens with one of the best brightness uniformity numbers we have ever seen for a short-throw projector . . . 89%. That is hard to achieve when the projected light comes from the shallow angle required to get the projector close to the screen.

Another distinct design element is the WX4130N's enclosed mirror. Most short-throw projectors have an exposed aspheric mirror at the back of the projector that reflects light onto the screen from a rear-facing projection lens. The downside of this approach is that the mirror is exposed to scratching, dust, spilled liquids, and other contamination. Ricoh has designed an enclosed concave free-form mirror into the WX4130 that delivers uniform brightness at a very short distance from the screen. For example, an 80" diagonal can be achieved with the projector only 9 3/4" from the screen. This is the best throw ratio we have seen in a short-throw projector. Of course, getting close to the screen doesn't mean much if the image is less than engaging, but the WX4130N does not disappoint with top-notch data and video quality.

To top things off, the "N' portion of the Model number stands for "Networked", and the WX1430N offers many ways to connect to a wired or a wireless network. There is even an iPad app available that connects multiple iPads and links them wirelessly to the WX4130N to display the iPad image. At a list price of $1,900, the WX4130N is not the lowest priced short-throw projector on the market, but its performance will justify that price in many situations. If networking is not a priority, Ricoh offers the same features in the non-networked Model PJ WX4130 for $1,650.

The Viewing Experience

The first thing you notice as the WX4130N comes out of the box is its vertical orientation. Its footprint is only 4.75" x 9.75", but it is stable on its feet in part due to its weight of 6.6 pounds. Cables plug in at the lower right side so they can be routed easily between the projector and the wall. The bottom of the image varies from roughly 4-6" above the top of the projector depending on image size, so tabletop or cart mounting works for most rooms.

One thing to be aware of is that short-throw projectors can have significant image distortion when projecting on non-flat surfaces. For example, if you are using a portable roll-up screen that has vertical waves due to low tension, the image will not look square across the top edge. You can reduce this effect by tilting the screen forward, but you will also have to apply some keystone correction which reduces image brightness.

Data images were crisp with very good color saturation, and even small fonts were readable at full keystone correction. Edge-to-edge focus was excellent and easily adjustable with a knurled recessed knob at the rear of the projector. Video images were surprisingly well defined given the WX4130N's relatively modest 2,500:1 contrast ratio. Flesh tones were on the mark without any adjustment to picture controls although a slight increase in contrast gave the image a bit more depth. Shadow definition was good although highlights were slightly muddled. All in all, both data and video images were better than most short-throw projectors we have seen.

Key Features

Networking - This is the strong suit for the WX4130N. Not only is there an Ethernet hardwire connection, but Ricoh has added a wireless LAN board. It is simply a matter of installing some proprietary Network Utility software supplied on a CD-ROM, and connection is made to any local wireless feed. In a move that will thrill all the iPad users, Apple offers an iPad app called the Tamago Presenter which facilitates the simultaneous connection of several iPads whose common output can be wirelessly detected by the WX4130N and displayed. This is terrific for multi-user collaborations and is an indicator of the vertical integration coming to the tablet computer/projector environment.

Connectivity - The WX4130N has most of the requisite inputs for today's classrooms and conference rooms. Computers are accommodated via a VGA connector, and an HDMI input handles computers, DVD players, and similar devices. There is a composite video input, an audio input, and a Type A USB input that connects storage devices such as thumb drives although only JPEG and MPEG formatted files can be displayed. Finally, an Ethernet LAN connection interfaces with networks for projector control and Web surfing applications.

Brightness Uniformity - One of the usual limitations of short-throw projectors is less than sterling brightness uniformity. It is common to see higher illumination at the bottom of the image along with hot spots due to the vagaries of the convex aspheric mirror found in most short-throw projectors. Ricoh's internal free-form concave mirror solves almost all of the problems of trying to get a long light path into a small package, and the result is an unusually uniform level of illumination across the entire image.

Picture Controls - Like most projectors, only composite video brought the full range of picture controls to bear (saturation, tint, etc.). However, the WX4130N does allow independent adjustment of red, green, and blue regardless of the source selected, so fine color tuning is available even for HDMI material.

Presets - The WX4130N comes with only three presets: Bright, Standard, and Natural. Bright is optimized for data projections and Standard for video. The Natural setting pushed red a little too much for this reviewer's taste.

Lamp Life - The WX4130N lamp is rated for a 3,000-hour life in Normal mode and 4,000 hours in Eco mode. Since Eco mode only lowers brightness by 32% and reduces fan noise in the process, Eco mode may be a good choice for all projection conditions except high ambient light.

Warranty - At three years, the WX4130N warranty is comparable to most other projectors in its class. The lamp is warranted for 90 days.

Performance

Brightness - It seems that manufacturers are doing a better job lately of producing projectors that meet their brightness specifications, and the WX4130N is no exception. In Bright mode, we measured light output at 2,570 lumens, and that decreased to 1,980 and 1,815 lumens in Standard and Natural modes, respectively. Eco mode dropped the light output by about 32% which was actually helpful by reducing eyestrain while watching movies in darkened rooms.

Image Size and Throw Distance - Like nearly all short-throw projectors, the WX4130N has no zoom lens, so its image size is totally dependent on its distance from the screen. To its credit, the WX4130N puts up a 48" image with the front of the projector only 4.6" from the screen. At its maximum distance of 6.2" from the screen where the focus control is still effective, the image increases to 80". This is sufficient range for a medium size room, and for larger rooms, you would probably use a long-throw projector anyway.

Limitations

Fan Noise - One of the advantages of a short-throw projector is that fan noise and heat exhaust is at the front of the room, not in the middle of the audience. Nevertheless, the WX4130N is one of the noisier projectors we have tested, so it is a good thing that its noise is confined to an empty part of the room. Further, the fan noise is low-pitched, so if you are seated more than five feet away, it will not be distracting.

Audio Output - You will not shake the rafters with a 2-watt mono audio output, but it will probably do for small audiences. At full volume, there is some buzz and rattle, but the sound is fine in the low and middle ranges.

USB Formats - JPEG and MPEG files are common enough, but it would have been nice to be able to show .PDF files stored on thumb drives. A converter for Office files would have been a nice touch, too.

Conclusion

The WX4130N is an excellent short-throw projector with bright, colorful images that serve both classroom and boardroom requirements. However, its claim to fame is its networking ability, particularly when multiple users happen to be using iPads for collaborative work. Its audio output will not shake the room and it is a little costlier than some competitors, but in terms of short-throw performance, brightness uniformity, and networking flexibility, it is in a class by itself.


(05/21/19 - 09:47 AM PST)
Copyright © 1999-2019 ProjectorCentral.com All Rights Reserved.