Pros: USB port for optional Wi-Fi ($129) and laptop-free operation; Motorized focus and optical zoom; Huge optical-zoom range; Excellent HDTV performance; ;
Cons: Expensive; Noisy cooling fan
Verdict: This newest member of Casio's Super Slim line can now beam out 3000 ANSI lumens of brightness.
Casio's sleek low profile is a souped-up version of an earlier model, the XJ-S46. Like its predecessor, the XJ-S57 is barely an inch and a half high off the tabletop, meaning it will slip easily into your laptop case and won't distract during your presentation. It was also the easiest to stow among the projectors.
This newest member of Casio's Super Slim line can now beam out 3000 ANSI lumens of brightness, sufficient for almost any indoor meeting. The optical zoom range is 2X, the largest we've seen, which in turn enables this model to generate one of the largest images among the competition. At 5 feet from the screen, the XJ-S57 produces an image that is 51.2 inches in diagonal. By contrast, the NEC and Toshiba models we tested produce image sizes that are more typical of projectors: 40.3 and 37.3 inches, respectively. It's almost shocking that such a large, bright image can be generated by such a low-profile projector.
The XJ-S57 offers a tiny hinged lens cap that seems impossible to lose or forget to use. The USB port on the projector enables you to run a slideshow from a USB flash memory drive for a presentation sans laptop. This USB port can also accept an optional USB Wi-Fi adapter ($129) for a wireless connection to a computer, as well as thumb drives using the included EZ Converter software.
The small remote control offers a surprisingly large array of buttons. Included among these are the important Page Up/Down buttons for advancing through a PowerPoint slideshow. However, to take advantage of these you must connect your laptop with the projector by supplying your own USB cable. Aside from that, the only thing missing from this remote is a laser pointer. What makes this remote unique are its focus buttons, which let you stand near the screen and adjust the focus remotely. Just as impressive are a pair of optical-zoom buttons that give enormous flexibility in sizing an image to fit a screen.
On our lab tests, the XJ-S57 did well if not outstanding. We measured a roundup-highest brightness of 2612 lumens, short of the advertised claim but within an acceptable margin and certainly bright enough for almost all indoor business functions. The contrast ratio was the lowest, at 283:1, but again, still fine for business applications. We saw excellent uniformity in brightness (corner to center). With its huge image size, this model produced stunning HDTV images (at 1080i), without any pixelation caused by rapid movement. Unfortunately, the cooling fan was surprisingly noisy in both regular and low-power Eco modes, limiting this projector's usefulness in entertainment applications.11
The chief hesitation we have about the Casio XJ-S57 is its price. The suggested list is $1,599, which approximates the cost of Casio's earlier versions and suggests that the company has seen a decent demand at this price. Some better bargains are on the market, but not with the same features as this model. If you have some slack in your budget, the XJ-S57 is definitely worth the splurge.
|Projector Resolution||1024 x 768|
|Contrast Ratio||More than 1000:1|
|Brightness||3000 to 3999 Lumens|
|Image Engine||0.55-inch DLP DMD|
|Remote Control Features||Focus and optical zoom buttons, one-touch low-power button|
|Size||10.6 x 7.8 x 1.7-inches|