Hitachi CP-X5021N LCD Multimedia Projector Review

A detailed review of the Hitachi CP-X5021N projector. This is a bright projector and a versatile one. The CP-X5021N, however, was designed with the university (and K12) classoom, multi-purpose room and small auditorium market in mind. This projector is one of Hitachi’s Collegiate series projectors.

December 2010 – Mike Rollett Update 1/19/11: We measured a 2nd Hitachi CP-X5021N projector to confirm brightness, which, while very impressive, was still notably below the factory claim for this Hitachi projector (more in the review). Update 2/16/11: Further investigation finds more lumens under the hood. Hitachi CP-X5021N receives our Hot Product Award. More info on the Performance page.

Hitachi CP-X5021N Projector Highlights

  • Very good Brightness – approximately 3500 lumens measured – 5000 claimed – (but 4300+ lumens possible, see update)
  • Horizontal and vertical lens shift, 1.7:1 zoom lens, for great placement flexibility
  • Can do computer free presentations including from over a network
  • “Perfect Fit” advanced keystone adjustment
  • Long-life hybrid dust filter (5000 hours) means no extra required maintenance
  • Long lamp life in Eco mode (5000 hours) for low cost of operation
  • Advanced picture adjustment options for gamma and grayscale
  • 16-watt built-in speaker – enough for larger classrooms

Hitachi CP-X5021N Projector Overview

Headlining Hitachi’s “Collegiate Series” of multimedia projectors, the Hitachi CP-X5021N projector is a portable XGA (1024 X 768) LCD multimedia projector that provides excellent color even in its brighter settings.  Unlike most of the competition, it features both horizontal and vertical lens shift, greatly increasing flexibility of placement of the projector.

The CP-X5021N measured in with approximately 3500 lumens (more about that, and updates, in the “Performance” section of this review) with custom picture adjustments for gamma and grayscale seldom seen on multimedia projectors.  Also, it features one of the highest output, built-in audio power ratings (16 watts) in its class.  This combination of brightness and sound level make it well suited for its intended use in a classroom or lecture hall.

For easy setup, in addition to lens shift, the Hitachi CP-X5021N provides adjustable front feet and auto keystoning, as well as an advanced method of picture corner correction called “Perfect Fit”.  “Perfect Fit” allows the users to individually adjust picture corners for proper display (more about that in the “Setup” section of this review).  Another nice feature is the claimed 5000-hour lamp life in Eco mode, as well as a 5000-hour replacement interval for the dust filter.  As a user can still get 2500 lumens in Eco mode, you can get a lot of projection time out of a lamp if you have some light control in your presentation venue.

The CP-X5021N also features a full set of inputs and outputs, including both HDMI and USB inputs.  While not specifically promoted for its portability, the CP-X5021N’s relatively compact size and 10.4 lb. weight, along with its easy setup, make it simple to use in multiple locations.  When considering it’s built in audio advantage over the competition, the extra weight may be a minor trade-off compared to carrying some additional speakers!

Noteworthy: Audio

Hitachi developed their “Collegiate” series with the larger classrooms typically found on college campuses in mind. One key aspect of dealing with large classrooms is sound. Typical portable projectors have one or two 1 watt speakers.

Most projectors designed for typical 40 or less student, K-12 classrooms, though, typically have more audio power, perhaps a single 7 watt speaker, or a pair of 5 watters, or maybe even one 10 watt single speaker. The Hitachi’s 16 watt speaker is more audio horsepower than we’ve seen on almost any other projector. (Most auditorium projectors won’t have speakers built in, figuring they need more significant sound reinforcement.)

By providing respectable sound, the Hitachi reduces the overall cost and installation effort that would be required if separate speakers and audio amplifiers are used. Keep in mind, though, even a 16 watt speaker isn’t going to fill a large classroom with audiophile sound. It will likely, though, be enough for basic voice over video, and equally a benefit, the Hitachi has a microphone input, so the professor – or presenter, can use the Hitachi to amplify his voice.

The microphone capability is a very nice touch, and likely will be appreciated by many, whether by a professor in a classroom or a presenter in a large multi-purpose room or meeting room.

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