Toshiba TDP-XP1U Review

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$779

Pros: Inexpensive; Sharp, steady image; Great resolution of dark and light grays; Automatically monitors current input; 3,000-hour lamp

Cons: Flimsy remote control; Small image size

Verdict: This value-priced projector is bright, boasts XGA resolution, and generates sharp and steady images.

Toshiba's TDP-XP1U looks rather pedestrian. And why shouldn't it? With a suggested list price of only $779, it is clearly a budget model. The good news is that this value-priced projector is bright, boasts XGA resolution, and generates sharp and steady images.

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At 4.8 pounds, the TDP-XP1U is not featherweight, yet it remains easily portable. And its easy-to-use features are limited to recognizing the current input (video or computer) automatically and adjusting accordingly.

The array of connectors on the back panel is rather sumptuous by bargain-projector standards. In addition to the standard input ports (VGA, S-Video, composite video, and mini audio), there are also output ports for a second display (useful for desktop users) and audio. There's even an old-fashioned serial port.

The worst feature of the TDP-XP1U is its remote control, a tiny credit card-size device whose membrane-style keys had to be pressed repeatedly in order to get any response. Fortunately, only one key is highly useful (the On button) and that is repeated in a much more responsive way on the top panel of the projector.

On our lab tests, the TDP-XP1U performed quite well. It was the brightest XGA budget model we have tested, scoring 2155 lumens--almost 3 lumens per dollar. Other numbers were not so complimentary, however. Its contrast ratio was acceptable at 322:1. Its image size (37 inches diagonal at a 60-inch distance) was one of the smallest we have seen in recent months. Its warm-up and cooldown times were decidedly leisurely, particularly the latter at no less than 2 minutes.

The TDP-XP1U did much better in our qualitative tests, though, where it displayed very sharp and steady images. (Its main ease-of-use feature may be its ability to be easy on the eyes.) We were particularly impressed by its ability to resolve very dark and light grays. And, best of all, we appreciated its exceptionally quiet cooling fan. Indeed, in low-power mode, we could hardly hear it.

With an outlay of only $779, you can't go wrong with the Toshiba TDP-XP1U. But consider that you will probably want to throw away the remote and replace it with a $60 laser pointer.

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Projector Resolution 1024 x 768
Contrast Ratio More than 1000:1
Brightness 2000 to 2999 Lumens
Supported Formats 480p
Supported Formats PAL
Supported Formats 480i
Supported Formats NTSC
Supported Formats 1080i
Supported Formats HDTV
Supported Formats 720p
Supported Formats 576p
Supported Formats 576i
Supported Formats SECAM
Image Engine 0.55-inch DLP DMD
Speakers One 2-watt speaker
Projector Technology DLP
Size 10.6 x 7.4 x 3.4-inches
Weight 4.8 lbs
Company Website http://www.toshibadirect.com