XGA Classroom Projector
Mitsubishi's XD250U, their brand-new DLP XGA classroom projector, can be summed up in one word: more. It has more lumens, so you can light up a larger screen or leave more room lights running. It has more ports, so you can connect all of your sources more easily. It has a 6,000 hour lamp life, for more presentations before you need to perform maintenance. And it has a ten-watt speaker, for more pure sound power. The only thing that's "less" is the price, at only $899.
High lumen output. The XD250 is rated at 2700 ANSI lumens, and we measured a maximum output of 2470 lumens on our test sample using "Presentation" mode. This makes it one of the brighter projectors in its weight class, and gives it enough power to light up a big 120" diagonal screen in moderate ambient light. In fact, as long as you do not have ambient light falling directly on the screen surface, the XD250 should be able to handle most any projection environment.
If 2470 lumens is too bright for the classroom, low lamp drops output 22% to 1935 lumens. For better color accuracy and saturation, users might want to use "Theater" mode, which tops out at 928 lumens in high lamp mode. Alternately, if you like the characteristics of Presentation mode, but want to drop the brightness, the XD250 has User settings, which allow you to take a preset and tweak it to your liking. In particular, you can use this to adjust BrilliantColor, which has a drastic effect on image brightness. Using Presentation mode as a basis, lumen output ranged in intermediate steps from 2470 to 959 just by changing the BrilliantColor setting.
Good brightness uniformity. The picture from the XD250 has a smooth and uniform quality, thanks to its 78% brightness uniformity. On a 100 IRE white screen, users may notice some difference in brightness between the top and bottom of the image, but this difference all but disappears during normal use, such as photography or PowerPoint content.
Excellent connectivity. The XD250 has an impressive array of connections. For video, it has two VGA inputs, an HDMI input, composite video, s-video, and a VGA monitor passthrough. In a ceiling mount, this allows for a very flexible setup where one VGA input and monitor passthrough are attached to the teacher's computer, one VGA input is left open for a laptop, and the HDMI input can be run to a DVD player for in-class video. If used on a rolling cart, the availability of both analog and digital inputs should make life easier for teachers attempting to connect their equipment.
For audio, the XD250 has two 1/8" audio inputs, a pair of L/R RCA audio inputs, and a 1/8" audio output. Like the XD221, reviewed last month, the XD250 has Mitsubishi's new "Audio Mix" feature, which allows two audio sources to be played simultaneously over the projector's ten-watt speaker. So, for example, a teacher could play a movie and narrate over any particularly important parts. This does require the addition of a microphone, which is not included.
The XD250 also has RS-232C serial and RJ-45 wired networking ports, which introduce new ways to monitor and control the projector. With RS-232C, you can link the projector to a PC, allowing it to be controlled completely from that computer and eliminating the need for a remote. With wired networking, you can accomplish much of the same, but you can do it from much farther away - across the building or across the world.
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