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Boxlight Broadview Portable WXGA Multimedia Projector Review

Boxlight Broadview Portable WXGA Projector

by Bill Livolsi on October 19, 2006  |  ProjectorCentral.com  |  Subscribe
Best Home Theater Projector
Performance
4
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Boxlight BroadView Projector Boxlight BroadView
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2000:1 Contrast Ratio
2600 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Boxlight's projector line-up for the year is full of unique and noteworthy projectors. The Boxlight Armadillo is supposed to stand up to adverse conditions like moisture, smoke, and heat. The Boxlight Bumblebee is a one pound projector with a 20,000 hour LED lamp. However, the subject of this review is the Boxlight Broadview - a very bright, 4.4 lb. WXGA projector that is ideally suited to the mobile presenter. At this writing the Broadview is the only WXGA projector under 5 pounds on the market, so it is in a class by itself.

Specifications

ANSI lumens: 2600 (2400 in eco mode)

Contrast: 2000:1

Light Engine: 1280x768, native 15:9, 1x 0.65" DLP with a 200W VIP lamp

Video Compatibility: HDTV 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p. NTSC/PAL/SECAM.

Data Compatibility: Computer resolutions up to SXGA.

Connection Panel: DVI, S-Video, Composite Video, one USB port, one 1/8" audio input.

Lens and Throw Distance: 1.22:1 manual zoom/focus lens. Throws a 100" diagonal 15:9 image from 12.2' to 14.2'.

Lamp Life: 2000 hours.

Warranty: 2 years parts/labor, 500 hour lamp guarantee.

General Impressions / Feature Set

The most immediately noticeable feature of the Broadview is its size. The projector measures a tiny 10.2" x 2.7' x 7.6", giving it a footprint smaller than a standard sheet of paper. At 4.4 pounds, it is designed to be taken on the road. Its carrying case can easily be slung over the shoulder without discomfort, and it protects the projector with about one quarter inch of padding on all sides. The Broadview is easily the most portable 1280x768 projector available at the time of this review, both in size and weight.

WXGA resolution, or 1280x768, is a relatively new format in commercial projectors. It is a versatile format that allows for native (unscaled) display of several common signals including WXGA (1280x768), XGA (1024x768), and HD720p video (1280x720). Though there are a number of larger and heavier WXGA projectors on the market, Boxlight is the first to deliver this resolution in a package that works well for the mobile presenter.

The Broadview uses a 1.22:1 zoom/focus lens, allowing it to throw a 100" 15:9 image from 12.2 feet to 14.2 feet. The modest zoom range lets you make small adjustments in the size of the projected image, but significant changes in the size of the image can only be achieved by changing the throw distance. The Broadview is designed for table top use in a conference room, though it can be ceiling mounted as well.

The Broadview's throw angle offset is about 30% of the image height. This means that for a 100" diagonal 15:9 image, or 85.75" x 51.5", the bottom edge of the image will appear 15.5" above the centerline of the lens, assuming the projector is level. This offset is ideal for table top use as it elevates the image and makes it easier to see by those sitting around the table. If more elevation is needed, the projector's front foot is adjustable to tilt the projector upwards.

Tilting the projector upward will cause the image to have a trapezoidal shape that can be corrected via keystone correction if desired. The Broadview is capable of 15 degrees of keystone in either direction vertically. Keystone correction is clean, with a touch of bolding on text screens and little to no change on images and photography. So you can use this feature with little negative impact on image quality.

The connection panel is uncluttered, with only DVI, composite, and s-video. The DVI port can accept not only DVI, but standard computer VGA and also component video. While a VGA-DVI conversion cable is included in the box, a component-DVI cable must be purchased separately.

The Broadview's menu system is as simple as they come. There are several tabs across the top that delineate separate sections, and there are some bare-bones image adjustments as well as lamp modes and standard options. The only nonstandard feature in the Broadview's menu system is the lamp control, which has three settings instead of the usual two - Eco, Normal, and Boost. However, for some reason, Eco mode exhibited an occasional flickering of the lamp. There did not seem to be a pattern to how often the lamp would flicker, but it was fairly noticeable when it did. This problem did not appear in Normal or Boost mode. On our test unit, we found this flicker to be distracting enough that we left the lamp in Normal mode for most of our testing and lowered white peaking to compensate. If flicker manifests on your projector, you may wish to do the same.

The remote is starkly utilitarian, with basic menu controls and a keypad to use as computer control if a laptop is connected via USB. The included laser pointer will benefit mobile presenters, as well. Some direct access controls are included for common adjustments such as keystone and volume, but many items like aspect ratio can only be changed through the menu system.

Fan noise is rated at 34dB in normal operating mode. The Broadview is by no means a silent projector; a small, bright projector typically makes more noise than a larger or less luminous one. Fan noise is low in pitch, so it is less distracting than the high-pitched whine occasionally exhibited by other portable projectors. The Broadview is easily spoken over, and the noise level would not be expected to pose any distraction to audiences in conference room settings.

The Broadview comes standard with a 2-year parts and labor warranty as well as either 500 hours or 120 days on the lamp, whichever comes first. Extended warranties are available from Boxlight, if you so desire.

Performance

Our test unit produced a maximum of 2060 ANSI lumens, or roughly 80% of the official specification. Though it falls short of the spec, it still produces plenty of light for most mobile presentation use. To put things in perspective, 2060 ANSI lumens is ample light to fill a 150" diagonal screen with a modest amount of ambient light in the room. It is also plenty of brightness to light up an 80" diagonal screen with the conference room lights fully on.

Keep in mind that a presentation projector can be too bright and cause viewer eyestrain. If 2060 ANSI lumens is too much light for your particular audience, you can set the Broadview to "Normal" mode which on our test unit measured approximately 1490 ANSI lumens. If that is still too bright, you can select "Eco" mode with white peaking at 5 instead of 10. With these settings our unit measured 929 ANSI lumens. Thus, the Broadview is designed to accommodate a range of presentation needs and environments.

With the Broadview in a dark room, contrast is rather impressive for a business projector. Blacks are solid while highlights are impressively bright. In bright conference rooms and meeting areas, lumen output boosts highlights, which gives the impression of higher contrast. The Broadview looks stellar in typical ambient light conditions for presentation, but it offers acceptable performance in dark rooms, as well.

When the Broadview is used in a more balanced mode than its typical full-out light cannon setting, it does a good job with color performance. If the lamp is switched to "normal" and White Peaking is brought down to about 50%, color is rich, and entirely appropriate for data graphics or even secondary photography use. When using the Broadview in its brightest mode, you may want to increase color saturation a few notches to maximize performance.

Image sharpness is of critical importance to a good data projector. On the Broadview, the image is sharp edge-to-edge, assuming the projector is properly squared with the screen. This allows for clean display of complex, detailed subject matter like text, financial spreadsheets, and photography.

The Broadview is particularly well designed for use as a video game projector. Its high lumen output makes it easy to use with ambient light in the room, which is often preferred by video gamers. Good color and contrast performance allow games to be rendered accurately on the screen, and the DVI connection provides a sharp image and allows for compatibility with next-generation systems further down the line. If you'd like to experience big-screen video gaming, the Broadview possesses the color fidelity and contrast to make that a reality.

On the other hand, the Broadview is less well-suited to home theater use. Though the video image is quite serviceable and can be used for part time home entertainment, it does not have the contrast potential that we now see in most home theater projectors. The fan noise is higher than on most home theater projectors, and may be a distraction during quiet interludes in a film's soundtrack. If dark room home theater is an important use for the projector you intend to buy, you may be better off going with a larger/heavier 1280x768 model that has higher contrast and lower fan noise.

Conclusion

The Boxlight Broadview gives mobile presenters the opportunity to take 1280x768 resolution on the road for the first time. There has been no compromise in image quality in order to achieve the 4.4 lb. package. We like it for its solid performance and versatility in mobile presentation as well as for its video gaming capability. If these are your primary interests, do yourself a favor and give the Boxlight Broadview a close look. It is a great value, and we are happy to give it a strong recommendation.

(11/15/19 - 01:11 PM PST)
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