Highly Recommended Award
Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.
Searching for an XGA DLP projector appropriate for business can be daunting - there are well over a hundred models currently in production. Some manufacturers have endeavored to stand out from this crowded field with cosmetic surgery, appealing to the user with the smooth curves of their injection-molded cases. With the PG-D4010X, Sharp has taken a different approach. They have packed a bright 4200-lumen DLP light engine into a plain square case, then added enough features to make it a stand-out value in today's market. Appropriate for installation in a large classroom, conference room, or boardroom, this projector will not be winning any beauty pageants, but the picture it creates is a knockout.
Brightness and Uniformity. This projector easily met the manufacturer's brightness claims, measuring 4,300 lumens in Presentation mode. We were even more impressed with its 91% brightness uniformity. Eco-mode lowers the brightness to just under 3,000 lumens, or 29%. While this is a larger drop than many other projectors, 3,000 lumens is still plenty of light for use in a classroom or conference room. Other modes increase apparent contrast and color saturation, but sacrifice lumen output to do so: Standard mode yielded 2,600 lumens, while Movie and Game modes produced 2,230 and 2,600 lumens respectively. These modes are intended for use in a room with controlled ambient light to take advantage of the contrast boost, and will look their best in a room with some light control.
Audible Noise. In their specifications, Sharp publishes a claim of 35 dB in Standard and 30 dB in Eco mode, but they do not specify the distance. At 4 feet away, we measured 37.4 dB in Standard mode. This is a bit higher than the specification and might cause distraction if used in a small conference room. Incidentally, the fans were also pushing a noticeable amount of heat from the 4200-lumen light engine. In small meetings the Eco mode might be preferred; it measured a much quieter 27.0 dB.
Brightness. Sharp has pushed the limits of single-lamp DLP projector brightness in the PG-D4010X. In the typical conference or classroom setting, brightness is more than sufficient in Presentation mode to put a bright, dynamic picture on the screen. This mode is ideal for displaying signals from a computer, such as Powerpoint presentations. If 4,300 lumens is too bright for your classroom, which is entirely possible, eco-mode reduces light output by almost 30%. The other image modes reduce light output even further, but are much better choices for material that emphasizes color and contrast, like photos or graphics.
Uniformity and Sharpness. With Powerpoint presentations or detailed content such as spreadsheets, this projector really comes into its own. The 91% uniformity we measured is more than just a figure of merit - the large fields of white or color displayed in computer applications are evenly illuminated, without visible fading towards the corners. The small text and gridlines of a spreadsheet were sharp and clear across the entire image.
Low Maintenance. The PG-D4010X features a sealed DLP engine which requires no filter. The built-in sliding lens cover is a nice protective feature, and closing it reveals the lamp cover, right on the front of the projector case next to the lens. The lamp can be changed without dismounting the projector, which will make life easier when your lamp eventually needs to be replaced, allowing you to get back to business.
Audio. The built-in speakers are small and somewhat tinny, but they are driven at 5W each and are genuinely usable. The wide form factor of the case places them relatively far apart, facing the rear with some sense of stereo separation. For use with an external amplifier and speakers, there is a handy menu function allows the user to set the audio output jack at the same volume as the input, or as a variable output which follows the volume control.
Connectivity. While the back panel is not crowded with connectors, all of the basic necessities are there. The versatile DVI-I, standard VGA and RCA composite inputs are complemented by corresponding audio connectors. Integrators have a choice of RS-232 (DB-9) or an RJ-45 wired networking port for controlling the unit.
Calibration necessary. When displaying photographic images, contrast was slightly overdriven and the colors had a slight but noticeable yellow hue, which was present in all of the preset color modes. This can be corrected using the very thorough adjustments available in the Picture menu. A full palette of adjustments is available for brightness, contrast, color parameters and color temperature, but it is a procedure the average user may not want to bother with.
Lens Range. Normally, business and education users will not find cause to take issue with the D4010X's 1.15:1 zoom range. But Sharp has suggested in its product description that this projector is also aimed at "house of worship and rental/staging settings." Those applications are likely to require a choice of optional lenses, or at least a longer zoom range on the built-in lens, even for small break-out room applications. For example, to fill a 100" diagonal screen, the throw distance is just 9'-10" to 11'-4". If you can't land the projector in this 1-1/2 foot sweet spot, you're stuck. But advanced lens features take the buyer into another projector class where the prices are correspondingly higher. Certainly the PG-D4010X could be a useful contribution to the rental or house of worship inventory as long as there is flexibility to place the projector at the necessary distance from the screen.
Image Offset. We would not expect to find lens shift in a projector of this class, but the fixed offset is inconvenient - the bottom of the image is almost in line with the center of the lens. For example, on a 60" x 80" screen the image starts at less than one inch above the lens height. This might actually be an advantage when ceiling-mounting inverted in a room with limited ceiling height, but on the conference table the projector has to be elevated, or worse, angled upwards and corrected with digital keystone.
The Sharp PG-D4010X is near the top of its class for brightness and image quality. Its features and qualities are well-suited to its corporate and education target markets, and all of the needed video and control connectivity for these applications are present. Lens limitations put the projector at a slight disadvantage in portable settings, but for fixed use in a classroom or boardroom it is a winner.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sharp PG-D4010X projector page.