Casio S35 XGA DLP Projector
  • Performance
  • 4.5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$1,299 MSRP Discontinued

Imagine a 2,000 lumen XGA projector with a 2x powered zoom that is less than two inches tall -- barely thicker than a laptop computer. Wishful thinking, right? Think again, because Casio has been shipping this little gem since August. The XJ-S35 is one of the thinnest projectors ever made, designed to fit inside your existing laptop case. If you make presentations on the road and desire the ultimate in portability, don't fail to check this one out.

Specifications

ANSI lumens: 2000

Contrast: 1800:1

Light Engine: 1024x768, native 4:3, 1x 0.55" DLP with a 200W Mercury lamp

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

Data Compatibility: Computer resolutions up to SXGA.

Connection Panel: Composite Video, one USB port, one 15-pin VGA port, Kensington lock.

Lens and Throw Distance: 2.0:1 powered zoom/focus lens. Throws a 100" diagonal 4:3 image from 9.2' to 19.2'

Lamp Life: Not specified.

Warranty: 3 years.

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General Impressions / Feature Set

The first thing we noticed about the XJ-S35 was its small form factor, which is less than 11" wide, under 8" deep, and a scant 1.7" tall. Its footprint is smaller than a piece of paper, and in height it is no thicker than an average laptop. With a good-sized laptop case, one could fit both a laptop and the S35 in the same case, which would still be small enough for an airline carry-on. The S35 has a built-in, flip down lens cap, to ensure that it is never lost in transit.

The S35 weighs in at a scant 3.9 pounds, making it easily portable. At the time of this writing, there are a total of 18 projectors that are rated at 2,000 lumens or higher while weighing less than 4 pounds, and of those, the S35 is the thinnest. As such, it is a great option for presenters on the go.

The S35 has a 2:1 powered zoom/focus lens, which is all but unheard of in business projectors. It will cast a 100" 4:3 image from 9.2 feet to 19.2 feet. This flexibility is a refreshing change, since most portable projectors have limited zoom range.

The auto zoom and focus work well, however, the projector must be squared with the screen, as the depth of field for the projector's focus is shallow. Even a small degree of tilt to either side will bring one edge of the projected image out of focus, if not both edges.

The S35's throw angle places the entire image directly above the centerline of the lens, so unless you tilt the projector upward, the bottom edge of the projected image will be at the level of the table the projector is placed on. There is no lens shift, so if your situation requires placing the image higher on the wall, you will need to tilt the projector and apply keystone correction to square up the trapezoidal shape of the image.

Keystone correction on the XJ-S35 gives 30 degrees of vertical adjustment in either direction, either manual or automatic. Auto-keystone is accurate, and squares the image nicely on the screen with zero user input. It can be disabled via the menu system if you'd prefer to keystone manually, or leave it off entirely.

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Using keystone on a text screen makes text look bold, but may make spreadsheets or complex data graphics appear muddy. If this is the case, you can disable auto-keystone and either live with a trapeziodal image or attempt to reposition the projector.

The S35's fan is somewhat loud in high lamp mode, so care should be taken not to place it close to viewers if high lamp mode is going to be used. However, in Eco-mode, the projector is much quieter and its audible noise should not be distracting.

Performance

The XJ-S35 is rated at 2000 ANSI lumens. Our test unit delivered 1900 ANSI lumens in Presentation mode with the lamp on high at its widest zoom setting. This is quite the accomplishment, as most portable projectors do not come this close to their stated specifications. In Eco-Mode, our test unit produces 1435 ANSI lumens, which constitutes a 25% drop.

Using the long throw end of a zoom lens will always reduce lumen output. In this case, at its maximum telephoto setting, the S35 delivered 1398 ANSI lumens, or a 27% drop from the 1900 lumens in its wide angle setting. Therefore, if you use the S35 in its maximum telephoto setting in low lamp mode, you can reduce its total lumen output by about 50%. In smaller conference room settings, 1900 lumens is often too bright, so the ability to adjust lumen output by using eco-mode and varying the throw distance of the zoom lens gives you some flexibility to create the right amount of light for each given presentation situation.

The S35 also offers several image modes that are better suited to material like graphics or even video clips. "Standard" mode produces 1168 lumens in low lamp mode at wide zoom, while "Graphics" mode produces 660 lumens at the same settings as well as a much smoother grayscale. These modes are ideal for computer gaming, photography presentation, or any subject matter that does not require as much light.

Contrast in Standard or Graphics mode is excellent, with pleasant reproduction of shadow detail in photos or computer games. While it does not quite match the performance of today's home theater projectors, contrast is more than sufficient for data use. Presentation mode is best left for text documents, powerpoint presentations, or spreadsheets because dynamic range is quite high but nuanced detail is often lost.

Color is more accurate in Graphic and Standard modes than it is in Presentation mode. If you intend to showcase material that relies on accurate, vibrant color, it is recommended to stay in these modes.

Edge to edge sharpness, while not perfect, was very good on our test unit. We noticed some slight softness in the bottom right corner but it was relatively easy to ignore, and did not impact overall image quality.

Conclusion

The Casio XJ-S35 is a unique projector, bringing high-end features like powered zoom and focus to a bright business projector in an exceptionally thin form factor. With an excellent range of lumen output and good color and contrast, the S35 does a great job with common presentation materials. The fact that it can be slipped into a laptop case is a huge bonus for those on the road. Its small size notwithstanding, the S35 is a big performer, and easily worth current street prices of roughly $1699.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Casio XJ-S35 projector page.