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Review Contents
Editor's Choice
Performance
5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Education
Mitsubishi WD390U-EST Projector Mitsubishi WD390U-EST
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Street Price: n/a
3D: PC 3D Ready
Contrast:3,000:1
Lumens:3000
Weight: 9.0 lbs
Resolution:1280x800
Aspect Ratio:16:10
Technology:DLP
Color Wheel:5 segments
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:3,000 Hrs
6,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$199.00
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  S-Video, VGA In, HDMI, Network, USB, RS232
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 525i, 525p, 576i, 576p, 625i, 625p, 1125i

Mitsubishi WD390U-EST
WXGA DLP Cloud Projector

Bill Livolsi, April 2, 2013

Limitations

Architecture. If your business or school is not already set up using a client-server architecture for users' accounts, the benefits of the WD390U are less immediate. The system only really works well when user's files are all stored on a central server, as this server will link to the projector or projectors and allow use of the remote login capability. If your users store their files locally on desktop computers or laptops, you have to use the traditional LAN display solution: install custom software on the PC and point it at the target projector ahead of time.

Software requirement. The WD390U makes use of the RDP protocol to work its magic, but you or your IT department will still have to install a piece of software on the server before the system will work properly. That's much less difficult than installing and configuring software on every PC in the office, and a giant step beyond what most projectors are capable of, but it's still not true plug and play.

Optional wireless. For a projector that includes almost everything, it is surprising that the WD390U's wireless capabilities require an external adapter. The adapter is only $49, but it also takes up one of the projector's precious USB ports.

Connectivity. The WD390U has two VGA ports, one VGA monitor passthrough, one HDMI port, s-video, composite video, a slew of audio connections, RJ45 wired networking, and two USB ports. However, one of the USB ports is the B type, which limits its use to USB projection. If you want to connect a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo and a Wi-Fi adapter, they both require a USB-A port, and the WD390U only has one. You can connect a powered USB hub to expand USB connectivity, but having an extra USB-A port on the projector would be helpful.

Note that while a USB hub is useful for expanding USB-A connectivity, a hub should never be used between the projector and the computer when attempting direct presentation over USB. Most of the time, it simply won't work.

Speed. The WD390U's network features are remarkable, but they don't change the rules. If you want to project video, it's best to stick to wired networking; wireless can sometimes scrape by, but it's a stretch. If you want to use the USB projection feature, wherein you connect a laptop to the projector using only a USB cable, you're limited to still images. In an institutional setting, it's not difficult to set up wired networking properly, but small businesses with less existing infrastructure or dedicated support staff might find themselves using the wireless option out of sheer convenience's sake.

Conclusion

As a standard projector, the WD390U is fully-featured and well-made, putting plenty of light onto the screen and making presentations look vibrant and high in contrast. But it's the projector's network features that make it really shine, and it is people searching for a networked projection solution who should really sit up and take notice.

These days, the words "cloud computing" get tossed around quite a bit, to the point where most people have stopped thinking about what they really mean. As the world's first cloud projector, the WD390U-EST creates new ways to connect content and projector without spending a ton of time setting up. You can project your documents directly from a smartphone or tablet without connecting a single wire or setting up a corresponding program on your PC. You can access network storage from the projector itself, then log out and let another user do the same. Configuration problems are a thing of the past, because there is seldom a reason to physically connect another device to the WD390U.

Future models in this product line will doubtless improve on the WD390U's capabilities, but this projector is already a huge step in a new direction. For years, projectors have been little more than monitors, unable to do anything but parrot whatever was connected to them. With the WD390U, the projector takes on more of the burden of presentation, eliminating the need for external equipment and simplifying the user experience at the same time. It is a strong product that is sure to inspire generations of projectors to come.

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Review Contents: Key Features Applications and Benefits Limitations and Conclusion

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