Casio XJ-M145 LED/Laser XGA DLP Multimedia Projector Review
Casio XJ-M145 Color & Picture Quality
To start, I connected my laptop to the XJ-M145 via HDMI and fed the projector its native resolution (1024 X 768). The XJ-M145 synced quickly and displayed a bright, colorful image. As is usually the case with a DLP projector, colors are off when using the brightest color mode (in this case, Standard). With most DLP multimedia projectors, reds are very dark and yellows lose their brightness and tend to look like mustard. However, the XJ-M145 did not suffer from these issues as much as most DLP projectors we’ve reviewed in this price range. Reds were darker, but yellows still looked good and overall, skin tones with acceptable. Dropping down in brightness to any of the other picture modes improved the color balance greatly. In particular, Theater mode displayed excellent overall color depth and accurate skin tones. Turning off Eco lamp mode, which yields the brightest picture, resulted in a color palette that contained very dark reds and a greenish cast over the entire picture. While bright, this mode can only be recommended for spreadsheet and other text-heavy presentations.
Theater mode should also be used for photo presentations when high brightness is not necessary. Photos viewed in Theater mode displayed well saturated primary colors, adding realism to nature photos. If greater brightness is required, Standard mode can still provide acceptable photo viewing.
Switching to the XJ-M145’s VGA input, there was only a minor change in picture quality and depth of color. It’s only noticeable when you switch back and forth, so it’s really a non-issue. I still prefer to use a digital connection when available, so it’s nice that the Casio has that option.
Casio XJ-M145 Projector: Readability
The XJ-M145 had little problem providing a sharp image at any resolution or aspect ratio. We started with the XJ-M145 displaying its native resolution on a 65” diagonal image. With this setup, our usual spreadsheet, which has a range of text sizes and colors, was easily readable for all color and size combinations (from 8 pt. to 36 pt. text and white text-on-black or yellow text-on-dark blue backgrounds).
Even with higher resolutions and aspect ratios than its default 1024 x 768, the XJ-M145 was more than up for the task. As many laptops have a native resolution of 1280 x 800, we tried that resolution first and text was just as sharp as it was at 1024 X 768. Moving up to 1400 x 1050 (higher resolution and same aspect ratio), or even 1920 x 1080 (higher resolution and different aspect ratio), the XJ-M145 had virtually no issues with even the smallest text on the spreadsheet. Such text remained quite readable and there was no color separation or overlap as can be found on some LCD projectors (mainly due to slight convergence issues inherent in a three-chip projector vs. a single chip DLP). As we’ve noted in past reviews, excellent scaling is becoming the norm these days and the Casio XJ-M145 is certainly one projector that follows that brief.
With most presentations, it is likely that there would not be much (if any) text as small as 12 pts., nor would a presenter be likely to use a resolution that differs much from the projector’s native resolution. However, if the need arises, the XJ-M145 will handle it cleanly.
Casio XJ-M145 Projector: Video Quality
Using the DVD playback from my laptop computer connected via VGA, I checked the XJ-M145’s ability to display video from a PC source. Using Theater mode, I reviewed scenes from a number of movies I’m quite familiar with. As far as color rendition is concerned, the XK-M145 certainly the equal of any mercury lamp-based projector in its price range. Skin tones were quite natural and, as we mentioned about photo presentations, the overall color balance was quite good. Blacks and shadow detail were typical for a multimedia projector in this class, which is to say that they’re not up to a home theater projector, but perfectly acceptable for the projector’s intended use.
Connecting the XJ-M145 to a Blu-ray player via HDMI, added greater depth to colors, as well as the increased sharpness you’d expect from the higher resolution source. Due to the separate light/color sources, there is none of the typical DLP “rainbow effect” during viewing.
Overall, the XJ-M145’s good color reproduction in Theater mode makes it more than an acceptable choice for classroom or conference room video presentations. It should be noted that if you have a video presentation that includes audio, you’ll want to use external powered speakers, as the XJ-M145’s built-in 5-watt speaker is not up to the task of creating an acceptable volume level for all but the smallest or quietest rooms.
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