The TLP-X150U from Toshiba isn't fancy. It does not have all of the bells and whistles present on other projectors in its class. It has a standard 1.2:1 zoom, typical 3,000 hour lamp life, and no wired networking. It does not have the highest lumen output in its class, nor the loudest speakers. What it does have is a fantastic image, among the best we have yet seen on a classroom projector. With bright, vibrant color and great image sharpness, the TLP-X150U is a great choice for the display of photography or complex graphics. It currently sells for less than $750.
Lumen output. The TLP-X150 is rated for 2600 ANSI lumens, and our test unit measured a maximum of 2235 lumens. This is enough light for all but the largest classrooms, and more than a match for small conference and meeting rooms. If the projector is too bright for what you need, you can use low lamp mode, which reduces lumen output by 27% to 1644 lumens. Eco-mode also extends lamp life by another 1,000 hours.
Near-perfect brightness uniformity. The TLP-X150 has the best brightness uniformity we have seen since the beginning of this round of reviews, which is saying quite a bit. Our test unit had a measured brightness uniformity of 90%, which puts it on a level with home theater projectors. What this means for you is a smooth, evenly-illuminated picture that is ideal for the display of photography or complex graphics.
Bright, vibrant color. The TLP-X150 has bright, vibrant, well-balanced color. In use, photographs appear balanced, natural, and true-to-life. And since we measured the same lumen output on all of the TLP-X150's image modes, you need not worry about losing light output in order to get more accurate color.
Portability. With a thickness of less than three inches and a weight of four pounds, the TLP-X150 is highly portable. This makes it a good choice for those who may need to travel around between classrooms or even between schools. In classrooms, you'll want to make sure that you use some sort of physical security, as a projector this small can easily be stuffed inside a backpack.
Good edge-to-edge sharpness. When showing detailed content, the sharpness and clarity of the image on screen are paramount. The TLP-X150 is especially suited to the display of this content due to its excellent edge-to-edge sharpness. Every detail of the source material makes it on to the screen, with no loss of fidelity. In this sense, the projector is transparent - it does not change the material it is displaying.
Good keystone correction. The X150U has excellent keystone correction which is head and shoulders above most of its competition. Many classroom projectors in this price range tend to have keystone correction that causes a wavy or rippled appearance in the picture, but the X150 manages to avoid this effect. Instead, the image appears to be slightly bolded around the edges, which is noticeable when displaying text files. Using images or PowerPoint presentations, you probably won't notice anything at all.
Security features. The X150U is a tiny projector, and tiny projectors are easy to steal. As we've discussed in the past, there are different kinds of security you can employ to keep your projector safe. The X150 has a Kensington lock point, so it can be chained to a desk or cart. It also has a control panel lockout, so students cannot fiddle with the projector's controls without the remote. And even if they do find the remote, it is useless without the password - which also serves as a theft deterrent, as there is no way to disable the password if it's forgotten, short of calling up Toshiba customer service.
Poor sound. The X150 does have sound capability in the form of a one-watt mono speaker. However, other projectors in its class have much more powerful speakers - up to ten watts. Using our sound meter, which has a minimum reading of 50dB, at a distance of three feet, the speaker on the TLP-X150U failed to register at all. If your presentation or lesson involves sound in any significant role, either use the sound on your computer or the speakers in the classroom, if they exist.
No networking. It has become commonplace for classroom projectors to have an RJ-45 ethernet port for wired networking. While not everyone uses this functionality, it is invaluable to those who do. The X150 does not have any networking capabilities, perhaps due to its small size and extreme portability. While this is not a significant omission on a small portable unit, it is something to be aware of - if you need wired networking capabilities on your projectors, you'll have to rule this one out.
Average lamp life; expensive replacements. The X150 has a specified lamp life of 3,000 hours in eco-mode, which is more or less standard these days. But it is worth noting that some competitive models offer lamp life up to 6,000 hours. More importantly, lamp replacements are $375 - not unusual for this class of product, but nevertheless that is half the cost of the projector itself. If you have a lamp that blows out early, it may suddenly seem like a less fantastic value proposition.
The X150's real strengths are in color accuracy, image clarity and sharpness. These three attributes make it a great choice for several types of users. Administrators can use it to give staff presentations. Teachers of art and science can find myriad uses in the classroom. The X150 is a good fit in any classroom where image quality is more important than feature set. And, at street prices under $750, it is very well-priced for what it delivers.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Toshiba TLP-X150U projector page.