Sharp D45X3D XGA DLP Projector
  • Performance
  • 4
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$2,795 MSRP Discontinued

As model names go, the Sharp PG-D45X3D isn't particularly memorable, but if you know how to read it, it tells you a lot of what you need to know about the projector. Reading backwards from right to left: it's 3D ready, which means it has a 120 Hz refresh rate; its native resolution is XGA (1024 x 768); it's rated at 4500 lumens, which means it's bright enough to throw a relatively large image without having to dim the lights; and it's built around a DLP engine. (The PG simply identifies the model line.)

What you can't tell from the name is that the PG-D45X3D also offers any number of useful conveniences, ranging from a reasonably good sound system to a pointer you can control from the remote. At $1,900 street, it's an impressive projector, suitable for a mid- to large-size conference room or classroom.

Advantages

3D-ready. There are enough competing schemes for tricking the eye into seeing images as 3D that calling a projector 3D ready doesn't tell you everything you need to know. The 3D technologies that seem to be emerging as dominant for projectors for home and business create the 3D effect using active shutter glasses. The projector alternates between frames meant for the left and right eyes, and the lenses in the glasses operate as shutters, synchronizing with the projector to let light through one lens or the other to match the frame on the screen. Your brain takes care of integrating the two sets of images so you see the scene in 3D.

For this to work well, the projector needs a 120 Hz refresh rate, which effectively becomes 60 Hz for each eye. (Lower refresh rates tend to show a visible flicker.) But the critical issue is that the glasses need some way to synchronize with the frames on the screen. In the case of TI's 3D DLP-Link, which is the only 3D scheme that the PG-D45X3D supports, the projector itself generates the synchronizing signal on screen between frames, and the glasses include a sensor to read it.

At the moment, there is little 3D content available, which severely limits the possibilities for testing 3D capabilities. However, Sharp provided a 3D-capable computer and clips, so we can at least confirm that setting the projector up for 3D is easy, and the 3D effect works as promised. As promised in this case is pretty impressive, with my eyes insisting that it saw objects floating both several feet in front of, and several hundred yards behind, the screen.

Also worth mention, because many people might assume otherwise, is that even though the PG-D45X3D doesn't support Nvidia 3D Vision, a competing approach to producing 3D, it will work with a computer that's using an Nvidia graphics card. The only requirement, according to Sharp, is that the card has to be Quadbuffered and Open GL 3D compatible.

Bright image with wide brightness range. We measured the PG-D45X3D at 4355 lumens, or about 97% of its rating, which is a lot better than most projectors score. More important, it's easily bright enough to let you leave all of the lights on in a typical classroom or conference room and still throw a large, bright image.

For smaller rooms or rooms with less ambient light, various preset modes offer a measured 1366 lumens to 2894 lumens, making it easy to switch to an appropriate brightness level. For even more flexibility, there's also an eco mode that drops the brightness by almost a third. We measured the brightest preset with eco mode on at 3001 lumens. The eco mode also boosts lamp life by 50% according to Sharp, from 2000 to 3000 hours, and it saves energy, lowering the power use from a measured 401 watts to 292 watts. The fan noise level also drops significantly, if that's a concern.

 

Good brightness uniformity. We measured the PG-D45X3D's brightness uniformity at 74%. For many projectors, this would be uniform enough so the difference would be almost impossible to see. With the PG-D45X3D, however, the brightest and dimmest areas were close enough, with the brightness changing quickly enough over a short enough distance, so that the bottom of a solid white screen was visibly brighter than the top. Even so, the difference was minor enough that it effectively disappeared with even the slightest amount of detail on screen to break up the solid expanse of white.

Good connectivity. Although it lacks an HDMI connector, the PG-D45X3D offers an acceptably full set of connectors otherwise for either business or educational use, including a DVI-I connector for component video or for a digital or analog computer signal, a VGA connector for either a computer or component video, and connectors for S-Video and composite video.

Rounding out the choices are two stereo audio inputs (more on these later), a miniplug stereo audio output, a pass-through monitor connector, a USB connector so you can connect to your computer to control its mouse pointer through the projector's remote, and both RS-232 and LAN connectors to let you manage the projector from a computer.

Near excellent image quality for data. The PG-D45X3D showed only minor issues for data images. Yellow was a touch on the mustard yellow side, for example, but the overall impression was that colors on data screens were suitably vibrant. Similarly, white on black text was a little less readable than black on white at small sizes, but black on white is the more common choice by far, so the slight lost of readability isn't significant. Very much on the plus side, the image showed so little pixel jitter with an analog connection, even on images that tend to bring out the problem, that using a VGA connection was very nearly a match for a digital connection.

Well designed remote with useful extras. The button layout on the projector's remote is well designed, making it easier to use than most. It also includes helpful tools for presentations or educational contexts, including the ability to turn on either a pointer or a spotlight area that you can then control with the remote's arrow buttons. You can also easily change the pointer to different shapes, including a horizontal line across the screen, and change the size and shape of the spotlight area.

Better than typical audio. The PG-D45X3D sound system suffers from a touch of a bottom-of-the-barrel echo effect. However, voice tracks that are barely understandable with most projectors this size and smaller come across loud and clear. Even better, the two 5-watt stereo speakers put out enough volume to fill a large conference room or classroom, and you have the option of connecting to an external sound system if you need to.

Excellent warranty. Sharp backs the PG-D45X3D with a three year warranty, which is longer than you'll get with most projectors. Even better, Sharp picks up the overnight shipping cost in both directions and promises a 24 hour turn around time if possible, so you will typically get the projector or a replacement back in two business days. You also have the option of asking Sharp to send you a replacement first, and then returning the non-working unit in the box the replacement came in. The warranty on the lamp is a more typical 90 days.

 

Limitations

Limited audio inputs. Despite the good connectivity overall, the projector's audio inputs are somewhat limited. There are only two inputs, with the DVI-I and VGA connectors sharing a stereo miniplug audio input, and the S-video and composite video connectors sharing a pair of RCA phono plugs. Switching to any of the image sources automatically switches to the audio that goes with it. However, if you want to switch both audio and image, one of your image sources has to be limited to standard definition video. Having separate audio inputs for the DVI-I and VGA connectors would have been far more welcome.

Merely adequate image quality for video. Image quality for video isn't seriously flawed, but it's not impressive either. The projector handled detail in dark areas reasonably well in our tests, but it lost some detail in the most demanding scenes. Similarly, it generally handled skin tones well, but it showed just a touch of posterization (with colors changing suddenly where they should change gradually) in the most demanding scenes. The quality is better than many data projectors can manage, and it's certainly suitable for showing video clips in a classroom or conference room, but it's not in the same league as a decent home theater projector.

Color breakup (rainbow artifacts). Color breakup is a potential issue for any single-chip DLP projector, because the projector shows one primary color at a time and leaves it to your eye to integrate the colors over time. If a light area on a dark background moves on screen, or you move your eye, each primary color can fall on a different part of the retina, leading to sequential breakup, aka the rainbow effect.

The PG-D45X3D shows very little of this effect with data images. With both 2D and 3D video, however, the rainbow artifacts showed up often enough so that anyone who is sensitive to it is likely find it annoying for long sessions. Since some people in your audience may be sensitive to the effect, it's best to limit video to short segments.

Conclusion

The PG-D45X3D's combination of bright, high quality images for data, acceptable quality for video, wide range of brightness levels, and good audio, make it an excellent choice for a mid- to large-size conference room or classroom. You may or may not have an immediate use for 3D as well, but either way, having the feature ensures you'll be ready for 3D content when and if you want it. Consider it an insurance policy against obsolescence, and one more extra that helps makes the projector an even better choice.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sharp PG-D45X3D projector page.

Comments (1) Post a Comment
Rinkoo Posted Sep 6, 2011 4:37 AM PST
too gud projector for small conference room

Post a comment

 
Enter the numbers as they appear to the left