Sharp has upgraded its line of XGA projectors with its new PG-D2510X which is street priced at $713. The updates include (a) an additional dual-purpose VGA connector that serves as an extra computer/composite video input or as a monitor pass through, and (b) a significantly longer lamp life. This 2,500-lumen projector is well suited for the classroom and the conference room, and at 6.2 pounds, it ranks as one of the lightest (and smallest) projectors in its class. It is also one of just a few projectors in its price range that allows color adjustment of computer images, and it offers some presenter conveniences like audio pass through and a highlighting function that extend its versatility.
Presenters will find the PG-D2510X a nice fit for medium-size venues. In more intimate surroundings, the fan noise may be distracting to those seated near the projector. Also, although high brightness is usually a plus, it can cause eyestrain in low ambient light conditions often found in small rooms. So, you might look for a projector with a little less horsepower if you usually present in close proximity to your audience, but if you are regularly faced with unshaded windows or larger rooms where the audience can get some separation from the projector, the PG-D2510X is a good choice.
Brightness and Uniformity: It is rare when a projector exceeds its brightness specification, but in Presentation mode our test sample put up 2,615 ANSI lumens. Standard and Game modes were not far behind at 1,710 lumens while Movie and sRGB modes checked in at 1,010 and 980 lumens, respectively. Brightness uniformity was measured at 76% with the highest brightness in the best location . . . the center of the image. The Eco lamp setting reduced brightness by 26% in all modes.
Connections: With the exception of HDMI and RJ-45 connections, the rear panel of the PG-D2510X accommodates most other signals you are likely to encounter. Video input is handled by RCA jacks (composite video), an S-video connector, and one mode of the dual-purpose VGA connector (component video). Computers may be connected via one or both VGA connectors depending on whether you have assigned the second VGA connector as your monitor pass through. Video and computer inputs have individual audio input jacks, and there is an audio output jack as well.
Compatibility: Computer signals from VGA to UXGA are scaled up or compressed to fit the PG-D2510X's native XGA resolution. Video formats accommodated range from 480i to 1080p/60 . . . a step up from the 1080i of many projectors in the same class.
Image Size and Position: The centerline of the lens is 2.5" below the bottom of a 100" image. For a small audience sitting close to the screen, this is a good offset for tabletop placement, but for a larger audience, you may need to make an image adjustment by raising the front of the projector. An elevator-style front foot tilts the projector vertically when extended, and the right rear screw-in foot may be raised or lowered to compensate for any horizontal tilt of the projection surface. There is ±40° of vertical electronic keystone correction available if image distortion occurs.
Preset modes: Preset modes for particular room conditions range from Presentation (brightest image) to Standard and Game (best saturation) to Movie (best color rendition). There are also Blackboard and Whiteboard modes with color compensation to make images look more natural on those surfaces.
Image Quality: Computer images are well saturated and crisp, and small fonts are easily readable even with full keystone correction. B/W photos look good in sRGb mode, but overall the dynamic range is limited by the PG-D2510X's 1,100:1 contrast ratio which is relatively low for a DLP projector.
The low contrast ratio shows up in video mode with either highlights or black levels somewhat muted, depending on the contrast setting. Color saturation and accuracy are good, and skin tones are quite natural in Movie mode.
Placement Flexibility: The PG-D2510X's 1.2:1 zoom capability gives you a modest amount of projection distance variation for a particular image size. For example, to project a 100" diagonal image, the projector is about 12½ feet from the screen and can shift about ±15" and maintain that image diagonal.
Warranty: Sharp offers a 3-year warranty on parts and labor for the PG-D2510X. The lamp is covered for 90 days from the date of purchase.
Image Color Settings: Casual users may shy away from such detail, but if you want to take the time to get the best image color possible, then the C.M.S. portion of the Picture menu gives you the tools to do it. In addition to contrast, brightness, and color temperature adjustments in the Picture menu, you can also make fine adjustments to all six colors produced by the light engine (red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and magenta). Hue, saturation, and value are adjustable for each of the six colors.
As an added benefit, the PG-D2510X lets you make color adjustments to computer images. This is not common in projectors of this class, and it permits color correction in computer sources where you would otherwise have to live with the color bias of whatever preset you have chosen. Even though tint and saturation controls are disabled in computer mode, you still have the opportunity to tune up color content via the C.M.S. menu.
Presentation Functions: The PG-D2510X has a larger than average number of presentation functions available via the remote control. In the absence of a hand-held laser pointer, you can still point out important items on the screen by displaying and moving a pointer icon around the image. The X-Y movement is a bit cumbersome, but it is useful in a pinch. You can also enlarge a portion of the image or blank all but a variable size section of the image in Spot mode. With a USB cable connected, you can use the remote as a remote mouse, and a wireless receiver accessory is available if you need to move beyond cable distance from your computer.
Lamp Life: At 3,000 hours, the PG-D2510X has a fairly long average lamp life in normal mode, but it really excels in Eco mode where lamp life reaches 5,000 hours. Since there is only a 26% reduction in brightness in Eco mode and fan noise drops from 34dB to a more tolerable 30dB, you might find Eco mode more useful than normal mode and stretch lamp life in the bargain.
Audio Pass Through: There are times when you may want to address your audience via hand-held or lapel microphone with the projector in Standby mode. For example, you may want to answer post-presentation questions with the projector lamp off. Many projectors shut down the audio output in Standby mode, but the PG-D2510X gives you a menu choice . . . you can enable/disable Standby audio pass through in the PR/ADJ 2 menu.
Audio Quality: With its output rated at 7 watts, the speaker volume from the PG-D2510X is sufficient for small-to-medium rooms, and an audio mini jack is available if external amplification is needed. Even at full volume, the speaker is free of buzz and hiss.
Remote Control: the PG-D2510X's mid-size remote control is well laid out with similar functions (e.g., presentation controls) grouped together. Although small, each button's icon is unique and easy to remember. Directional buttons are conveniently located at the center of the remote, and there is an assignable function button that can bring a menu function to the remote (e.g., information about the current input signal).
On-Screen Menus: Following a trend toward shorter, multiple menus that can be seen in their entirety without scrolling, the PG-D2510X offers five menus that allow image, signal sync, screen configuration, and projection adjustments. A nice feature of the Picture menu is that most individual settings blank the menu and appear at the bottom of the image so you can see most of the image while you make brightness, contrast, and other image control adjustments.
3-D Compatibility: Like many recent DLP projectors, the PG-D2510X is 3-D ready via TI's DLP Link™ technology using active shutter glasses and a source outputting a 120 Hz frame-sequential 3-D signal. That the PD-G2510X is 3-D ready does not mean it is compatible with all 3-D sources on the market (e.g., Blu-Ray 3-D), so if you plan to use the 3-D option, ask your dealer about compatibility issues before buying.
Network Connection and Security: The PG-D2510X offers an RS-232 connection to permit remote control of virtually all projector settings. Status information is also available to the network, so if problems develop or security is breached, alert messages can be sent to the network administrator. In addition, the PG-D2510X has both a security bar and a Kensington lock at the rear of the projector.
Maintenance: Maintenance for the PG-D2510X is relatively simple. An occasional vacuuming of the air intake grills is recommended to keep dust from accumulating and restricting airflow, but like many projectors of its type, the PG-D2510X's DLP chip is sealed so no air filters are needed. Replacing the lamp does present one maintenance hurdle for ceiling-mounted units . . . the lamp is accessed through the bottom of the case, so the lamp replacement can be a little cumbersome.
Fan noise: At 34dB in normal mode, the PG-D5210X's fan is a bit noisy, but fortunately it lacks the high-pitched whine of many DLP projectors, and Eco mode drops fan noise to a more tolerable 30dB. That said, for quiet content (e.g., viewing photos) or small rooms, you won't want the PG-D2510X any closer to your audience than necessary.
No Digital Input: You are out of luck if you want to connect HDMI signals you may have from your computer or DVD player. Unlike some of the competitors it its class, the PG-D2510X lacks a digital input. PC owners may not find this much of a limitation, but many Macs have digital outputs that have to connect to the PG-D2510X in analog mode.
No User Memory: You may find yourself having to tweak settings if your PG-D2510X is shared with colleagues. Many projectors have one or more User modes that allow you to store your favorite settings, but the PG-D2510X lacks that feature. So, if another user has changed your settings, you will have to reset them when you get the projector back.
You get a lot of brightness and many presenter conveniences with Sharp's new PG-D2510X. It may lack a digital input and suffer a little in the contrast category compared to other DLP projectors, but for an XGA projector that can handle high ambient light condition, it compares well with its competition. It offers the rare chance to color correct computer images, and for a price under $750 on the street, it is a projector worthy of your serious consideration.