Hitachi RS-55 - Image Quality
The Hitachi RS-55 projector is typical of LCD projectors, in that colors are bright and vibrant. Yellows were excellent, and reds were rich. (Not surprising for an LCD projector, but most DLP projectors, have trouble with both colors - yellows tend to be mustardy yellow-green, and reds, dark wine colored). Performance on video from the S-video input performed very well. We did not test a component video feed into the computer port, as we feel it is unlikely that users would give up the single computer input for component video.
For an SVGA projector, perhaps the most important test is that of a projector's ability to compress higher resolution source materiel. Most users today have XGA resolution laptops and desktops and more and more now have widescreen models. We look at several test files, and several resolutions to see how a business projector performs.
Note, that projectors compressing other resolutions will handle black text on white backgrounds differently than white on black, or one color on another. As you can see from the images here, this Hitachi projector did a good job on small type down to 8 points, including 9 point emails and 10 point spreadsheets. Everything is readable, and of course, not particularly pretty!
Overall, the Hitachi did a better job than most SVGA projectors on XGA sources, and it had no trouble locking on to my Dell's WXGA (1280x800). The highest resolution tested was SXGA+ (also more and more popular on large screened laptops). The RS55 also had no problem locking in, but smaller type was very difficult to read. Don't blame the Hitachi projector, however, as to get from 1400x1050 resolution down to 800x600, the projector has only about 1 display pixel, for every three pixels of original data. You just can't expect much.
Finally, XGA source, Powerpoint, only the sightest degradation could be spotted on large 24 point text, and on even more typical 30 - 48 point type, its unlikely that anyone, even in the front row, will notice an degradation at all. Diagrams are different, if you are displaying a lot of fine detailed drawings like CAD, some of those lines may disappear (or almost disappear) on you - but that is true almost whenever compression is used.
Projector Performance - Other
The Hitachi RS55 projector's remote is well laid out, with the cursor pad, menu and enter buttons well down from the many buttons that control source selection, blank (AV mute), auto setup, aspect ratio select, keystone button, freeze button, page up and down, etc.
You should really like the menu system. The Hitachi RS55 projector starts out with its EASY MENU. And as you can see from the image, it has most of what you will need. Rarely will most users ever even have to go to the Advanced menu setting.
A picture of one of the six advanced menus also provided below. The features found on the Easy Menu are spread out over the six advanced menus along with plenty of additional "advanced" controls.
This Hitachi projector does not offer remote mousing, but of course there are plenty of 3rd party remote mousing solutions available. Still when shopping for an entry level projector, overall cost is a prime consideration. If you believe you need a remote mousing solution, figure that into your cost analysis.
On the bright side, the RS55 projector has an extremely low cost replacement lamp. They don't publish a list price for it, but based on the dealer cost, it should typically sell close to $200, at least for those who pay attention and make sure they are getting a good price.
This Hitachi projector is typical for sub five pound projectors - 38db in full power, and 32db in economy mode.