Casio sets the standard for portable projectors

Casio sets the standard for portable projectors

With their latest XJ-A series of data projectors, Casio has done something I have always thought impossible: made data projectors not just interesting, but awesome. The XJ-A245 actually inspires awe.

Why is it so great? It comes down to three simple things: lamp life, image quality and size.

When I refer to lamp life I should really be calling it light-source life, as Casio does. There is no incandescent lamp in the XJ-A series projectors to burn out. Instead, light is generated by the combination of a blue laser and a red LED.

The lifespan of these is estimated at “up to 20,000 hours”. Casio guarantees the XJ-A245 for a more conservative 6000 hours or three years, whichever comes first. However, that 20,000 hours is an awfully nice figure if the projector can live up to it.

Running for eight hours a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year, 20,000 hours is a whopping 9.6 years. Even projecting 24 hours a day, every day, will net you 2.3 years. In other words, I would expect the projector to fail for other reasons, mechanical or electrical, long before the light source goes.

This removes a massive expense associated with projectors – namely, bulbs with lifespans in the realm of 10,000 hours or less. Removing the bulb also reduces the fragility of the device – picking up and moving the XJ-A series projectors immediately after shutdown is unlikely to cause any damage. With bulb-based devices cool-down periods are generally recommended (though in newer devices this can be quite short).

That hybrid light source drives a 1280x800-pixel DLP (digital light processing) projection system, which delivers stunning images with an impressive contrast ratio and colour depth. Motion in videos is crisp and clear; you could easily watch a movie with the XJ-A245, or even get some wall-sized gameplay going with your PC or console.

With a brightness of 2500 ANSI lumens, projection is good even under a reasonable amount of ambient light. You are not going to have much luck projecting onto a white wall in direct sunlight, but you might not have to close the boardroom blinds and turn out all the lights just to get your presentation seen. This is great in meeting, lecture or classroom scenarios, where people need light to take notes while they take in your slides or videos.

Finally, size. Casio’s XJ-A245 is a tiny machine by projector standards. It is easily half the size of competing models in the same price and feature range, without sacrificing on quality.

At 297 x 210 x 43mm, its footprint is identical to a sheet of A4 paper. Packed in the included carry case with its power cable, VGA cable and remote, you are looking at a package significantly smaller than most notebooks.

The 2.3kg weight is certainly noticeable, but not excessive.

Throw in a nifty feature set including USB and wireless presentation, automatic keystone correction and digital zoom and focus adjustment, and you have got the best business projector I have ever had the good fortune to use. If you frequently travel with a projector, it really should be this one.

Casio’s model retails for $3100 locally.

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