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Highly Recommended Projector
Ease of Use
Planar PR5020 Projector Planar PR5020
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2200:1 Contrast Ratio
3000 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Planar PR5020
Multimedia Presentation Projector

Bill Livolsi, August 8, 2007


The Planar PR5020 is housed in a dark matte case with a flat top and a rounded underside. It measures 11.8" wide by 9.6" deep by 3.8" tall, and weighs in at 7.3 pounds. The lens is recessed in the front of the projector and offset to the side, with a sliding lens cap built-in.

The control panel is located on the top of the projector. In addition to standard controls for power, menu, and source selection, the PR5020's menu navigation controls also adjust keystone and volume. The buttons click definitively when pressed and give good tactile response.

The connection panel, located on the rear of the projector, is extensive. Computer or video connections can be made through DVI-D, VGA, composite, and s-video. The VGA port can also process component video, with the proper adapter. A monitor pass-through allows the source signal to be sent further down the line to a standard display such as a CRT monitor. Connections to a computer can be made over either serial or USB, and allow the use of the projector's remote as a presentation device. When connected via USB, the remote's page up and page down buttons can navigate PowerPoint slideshows. A Kensington lock point serves as the icing on the cake, and coupled with the monitor-out, makes the PR5020 a contender in the education market.

Planar PR5020 Connection Panel

The Planar PR5020 has no lens shift, so the image is always projected at a fixed angle in relation to the lens. Specifically, the bottom edge of the projected image is always level with the centerline of the lens. For conference tables, this means that the projector may need to be tilted upwards to hit the screen. For ceiling mounts it means that a drop tube may be necessary. Of course, the projector may be tilted, but that makes keystone correction necessary in order to avoid a trapezoidal image.

With a 1.15:1 manual zoom lens, placement options for the PR5020 are rather limited. The projector will display a 100" 4:3 image from 12 to 14 feet. This can limit one's mounting options and demands careful attention be paid to projector placement.

Keystone correction is manual, and allows for extensive vertical adjustment. When keystone correction is applied, text takes on a consistent bolded appearance, while images and photographs remain largely unchanged. Even at small font sizes with detailed text or spreadsheets, keystone correction does not have a negative impact on legibility.

The menu system is divided into tabs, which run along the top of the menu display at all times. In addition to the usual adjustments, the PR5020 has some unique features. Password protection allows the user to set a sequence of keystrokes which must be input to use the projector, effectively locking out unauthorized users. Digital zoom is useful for the display of fine detail, either in a complex spreadsheet or a technical diagram - or even a large photograph. Also unusual for a business projector is extensive color adjustment, allowing for the fine-tuning of Red, Green, Blue, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and White.

The PR5020's two hundred watt lamp is rated for 4,000 hours of operation in Eco-mode, which comes out to 167 days of constant projection - nearly half a year. In more practical terms, the lamp should last for several years of normal operation. With replacements costing roughly $400, the PR5020 costs just ten cents per hour to operate.

There is no user-replaceable air filter on the PR5020, which cuts down on scheduled maintenance significantly. Aside from changing the lamp when it burns out, the projector need not be cleaned or unmounted. This makes it a great choice for a ceiling mount.

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Performance and Conclusion
Review Contents: Specifications Overview Performance and Conclusion