Mitsubishi XD95U Review

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$995

Pros: Lightweight; Very bright for its size; Excellent contrast; Three-year warranty

Cons: Limited remote control functionality; Hard to focus; Noisy cooling fan; Long cooldown time

Verdict: This tiny projector shines with high brightness and contrast, but it has a few flaws.

Mitsubishi is one of the premier names in the projector industry, and the company's new $995 XD95U represents an impressive combination of portability and brightness. It also boasts very high-contrast levels. However, some design and performance issues prevent this model from being a top pick.

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Design

Although not nearly as thin as competing ultraportables like theCasio XJ-SC215, this Mitsubishi model certainly qualifies as one of the smallest business projectors on the market. Its height of 3.1 inches is offset by a minuscule footprint, just 8.1 x 7.5 inches--not even half a square foot. Inside is a powerful lamp capable of beaming out 2200 ANSI lumens at XGA resolution. With a travel weight of less than 4 pounds (including the usual cables and remote control) and a small but decently padded carrying case, the XD95U should be able to go almost anywhere and handle almost any type of business environment. Theoretically, at least.

To achieve this model's slimmed-down weight, Mitsubishi designers apparently had to trim the feature list to the bare minimum. Only three input connectors are available (VGA/component video, S-Video, and composite video). A fourth connector marked RS-232C Control is also included for remote-networking control. There is no audio input; just as well, however, because there is no speaker.

The credit card-size remote control is similarly spartan. There are no laser pointer or mouse emulation buttons, and the buttons that do exist have little value except those for the on-screen menu and power.

Whoever designed the lens cap apparently didn't have human fingers in mind. It usually took us three tries to grab on to it successfully. Also, the cooling fan is unusually noisy. When you switch to low-power mode, the fan very gradually calms down, but only slightly.

Performance

The XD95U achieved an impressive brightness reading of 2339 lumens, actually greater than advertised. Our contrast ratio test with a checkerboard pattern achieved an equally impressive score of 639:1, the best we have seen in recent months. Exceptionally dark and light grays were resolved very well, and mid-level grays had a good neutral color.

Image size from the XD95U was rather small, at 41 inches in diagonal at a distance of 5 feet from the screen. In addition, images were difficult to focus, owing to a recessed focus ring that was difficult to access. On-screen, the top half of the image showed somewhat fuzzy pixels with significant comet tails. This made small text in the top of the images hard to read. Some of our test slides showed extraordinary amounts of flicker, which also showed up slightly in our PowerPoint presentations. And as per usual in a DLP-based projector, some colors, such as yellow, were significantly dull.

Finally, in an age of instant-cooldown projectors, the XD95U moves at a decidedly glacial pace. Warming up took 41 seconds and no less than a minute and a half to cool down. However, when we searched through the on-screen menu and enable the Quick Cooling feature time dropped down to a respectable 31 seconds.

Verdict

The Mitsubishi XD95U has a lot going for it. It is very bright, offers top-notch contrast, and is easy to carry. For the money, though, we prefer theDell M209X, which is lighter and equally bright, has a better remote control, displays sharper images, features more connectors, and sports a cheaper price tag of $899. And the XD95U's design flaws and relatively small image size don't help its cause. The XD95U is a good ultraportable projector, but better options are available.

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Projector Resolution 1024 x 768
Contrast Ratio 500:1 to 1000:1
Brightness 2000 to 2999 Lumens
Video Inputs S-Video
Supported Formats 576p
Supported Formats PAL
Supported Formats 576i
Supported Formats NTSC 4.43
Supported Formats 480p
Supported Formats NTSC
Supported Formats 480i
Supported Formats N-PAL
Supported Formats 1080i
Supported Formats M-PAL
Supported Formats SECAM
Supported Formats 720p
Supported Formats PAL60
Image Engine 0.55-inch 1-Chip DMD, DDP2230
Remote Control Features On-screen menu, power.
Cool Down Time 90 seconds
Speakers None
Zoom Focus 1.1:1 manual/manual
Input Terminals RGB-In
Input Terminals D-Sub15 x 1 (In/Monitor Out)
Other Terminals Mini DIN 8-pin Service Port Terminal
Projector Technology DLP
Size 8.1 x 7.5 x 3.1 inches
Weight 3.3 pounds (3.9 pounds travel)
Company Website http://www.mitsubishi-presentations.com