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Shoot-out: Two-Pound Projectors
InFocus LP70+ <> NEC LT10 <> PLUS V3-131

Review Contents
InFocus LP70+ Projector InFocus LP70+
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1100:1 Contrast Ratio
1400 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Back in 1996, the brightest "portable" projectors on the market put out about 500 ANSI lumens and weighed 20 lbs. Believe it or not, these luggable dinosaurs were hot at the time. Nobody back then would have dreamed that eight years later we'd have an array of products that were capable of double the brightness weighing just two pounds. Yet here we have the first of no doubt many reviews to come of projectors no bigger than a paperback book.

Included in this shootout are three XGA-resolution DLP-based products that weigh a bit over two pounds each. They each feature a four-segment (RGBW) 2x speed color wheel. The brightest of the three, the InFocus LP70+, is rated at 1400 ANSI lumens. The NEC LT10 is second in brightness at 1100 ANSI lumens, and the PLUS V3-131 is rated at 1000 ANSI lumens.

These products are clearly designed for the traveling presenter for whom carrying weight is a major concern. They can be easily tucked into a briefcase or tote bag, and they make portable presentation more convenient than ever. However, though they are all about the same size, weight, and resolution, there are important differences in picture quality, video performance, fan noise, throw distance and so on. The objective here is to sort out the strengths of each product so that the reader can determine which might be best for his or her needs.

Performance comparisons

ANSI lumen ratings. As is often the case we found that the actual lumen performance on all three models fell short of the published specifications. The InFocus LP70+ measured 1067 lumens, 24% shy of its 1400 lumen rating. The NEC LT10 measured 855 lumens, 22% below its 1100 lumen rating. And the PLUS V3-131 measured 709 lumens, 29% below its 1000 lumen rating. (In addition the V3-131 has an economy mode that reduces light output by 11% and slightly reduces fan noise in exchange for an increase in lamp life.) Thus, though the rated specs are all higher than we saw in actual usage, they do accurately reflect the ordinal ranking of the three products in terms of their relative light output. The bottom line is that the LP70+ is about 25% brighter than the NEC LT10, and the NEC LT10 is in turn about 21% brighter than the PLUS V3-131.

Contrast ratings. Both the LT10 and the V3-131 are rated at 2000:1 contrast, while the LP70+ is rated at 1100:1. Contrast ratio is the difference in luminance value between black and white emerging from the projector's lens. In actual usage black levels on the screen are determined primarily by the amount and direction of ambient light in the room, and not the projector. On the other hand white levels are determined primarily by the lumen output of the projector. Therefore unless you are planning to give presentations in the pitch dark, ambient light will neutralize the differences between these projectors' theoretical contrast capabilities. In normal data presentations usage, despite its lower contrast rating the LP70+ will look just as high in contrast on the screen due to its higher lumen output. But if the projectors are being used in video mode in a dark viewing area, the lower contrast on the LP70+ contributes to lower snap and less color saturation than is found on the other units (more on this below).

Weight. The LT10 is the lightest of the three units, weighing 2.16 lbs. The LP70+ is next at 2.44 lbs. The V3-131 is slightly heavier at 2.56 lbs.

Form factors. Standing just 1.5 inches tall, the V3-131 is uniquely designed as the thinnest projector on the market. It can be carried in a slimline briefcase with no problem. It is 8" long and 6.5" wide. On the other hand the LP70+ and the LT10 both stand about 2.6" tall and measure about 6" length by 7.5" in width, or about a half inch smaller than the V3-131 in both footprint dimensions.

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Comparisons Continued
Review Contents: Performance Comparison Comparisons Continued Commentary

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