Mitsubishi WD390U-EST Cloud Projector Review

Interactivity using iOS (iPhone/iPad, etc.), Android - MirrorOP

I already touched on this in the Overview. We are also producing a short video showing an iPad controlling a “presentation” from my MacBook, projected with the WD390U projector, although it won’t be ready until perhaps a month after this review is published.  You’ll find it on our Projector Reviews TV page when it is live.

Click Image to Enlarge

This is easy to describe.  Using the MirrorOp SidePad app on my iPad, and MirrorOp SidePad program on my computer, I see the computer’s screen on my iPad.  Using an iPad in normal fashion, I can run my computer.  I can, for example, open up Word on my Mac Book Pro, and have that projected by the WD390U projector.  I can highlight and bold a sentence and it will do that on the computer (and I can save those changes) while seeing the highlighting and bolding on the projected image. I can just as easily launch Powerpoint.  Also I might choose to launch a program that will let me draw on the Mac’s screen – annotating the presentation for example, or putting a big red circle around a key phrase on that Word document.

I am simply controlling the computer (which is being projected) using the iPad (or iPhone, or if I had one, an Android device), instead of using the computer’s keyboard and mouse.

What makes this magical, is that let’s say I’ve got a meeting in a conference room off site.  As long as my computer is on, sitting on the network, I can leave it there and control my presentation from my iPad, which I’ll take with me.  Very cool.  It’s not something new, but Mitsubishi is providing the needed elements to make it happen.

Keyboard and Mouse Interface for LAN Display

This has already been touched on, but I’ll repeat.  You can interface a keyboard and mouse right to the projector, thanks to the onboard “computer” in the WD390U, that is referred to as a thin client.  You can see the keyboard and mouse plugged into the back, in the previous image.

Microphone input, 10 Watt Mono Speaker with Pass Through Mode

Always a nice touch is the ability to amplify the voice of the presenter / speaker /teacher, through the on board speaker system of the WD390U projector.

Better still, the Mitsubishi WD390U offers an audio pass-through mode.  That is, you can use the projector as a microphone speaker system when you are not using the projector to project visuals.  That’s right, the projector simply becomes a mic amplifer and speaker, without drawing the few hundred watts of electricity that the typical projector uses.  Most projector lamps are 150 to 350 watts, whereas the audio system likely draws less than 20 watts.  Note: Only one audio input can be used for a microphone, but that shouldn’t be a problem.  Note, we did not test out the microphone feature, although we’ve used similar on other projectors in the past.

The WD390U has a single 10 watt speaker.  It’s got the power to do a very nice job on reasonable sized rooms such as a board room, conference room, K-12 classroom or a fairly large training room, but let’s not think auditorium.  I should serve well in rooms that hold 50 people or so, but not a hotel ballroom!  

Simultaneous Message Display, Closed Caption

Closed Caption is pretty much a requirement for K-12 classroom projectors these days, and of course, Closed Caption can be useful in other applications and environments.

Simultaneous Message desplay (think of it as a visual PA system) allows this Mitsubishi WD390U projector and many other Mitsubishi projectors to display a message posted from a computer on the central server.  Thus, it is a feature to be used by network administrators.

One example of this in action would be for a network adminstrator at a school district to send out a text message (up to 390 characters in length – about 50 words) from compatible projector control software, to every projector in their system that supports Simultaneous Message display.

This can be used in emergencies, such as to evacuate a building.  Anyone in a room  in the middle of watching a presentation would see the message.  This is a coveted capability sought by tech coordinators and IT managers at the school district and university level, as part of emergency preparedness, as well as for special applications.  It would seem that up to 200 compatible projectors can be reached as one.  For environments with more than 200 projectors I would expect they can be organized into groups of 200 or less, so it might take a few extra keyboard strokes to send out a notification to 1000 projectors.

WD390U 3D Capabilities

We did not work with the 3D on this projector – we managed not to have DLP-Link 3D glasses at the time, that were compatible .  This is in one sense a classic business projector when it comes to 3D, with limited support.  The only 3D format supported is field sequential, sometimes referred to as page-flipping.   The WD390U does not have HDMI 1.4 so it’s also not compatible for Blu-ray 3D.  In fairness, Blu-ray 3D isn’t exactly used for education or business 3D content.  The WD390U also does not support Side-by-Side or Top and Bottom 3D.

That said, field sequential files are the type most likely to be used by 3D software in the classroom and training room.  If you plan for doing a lot of 3D, make sure you know which formats you must support.  Mitsubishi, for example does have some other 3D capable projectors with a wider range of 3D support.

Digital Zoom and Image Positioning

Ultra-short throw projectors do not have zoom lenses. They are all, to the best of my knowledge, either fixed mirror or fixed lens.  This Mitsubishi projector, however offers digital zoom, and that can come in handy if the projector is not permanently mounted.   As pointed out elsewhere, to fill screens from 70 to 120″ diagonal, the front of the projector has to be between 22 and 39 inches.  So what happens if  you want to fill a 100 inch screen (that would be 32 inches back), but the table is 40 inches back.  With the digital zoom with a range of 1.4 that allows you to make the image 40% smaller, so that you could place the projector at about 45 inches away, and not overflow the screen.

Once you digitally “zoom out” for that smaller image, it would normally be centered relative to the full size image.  Using image positioning, you could therefore raise or lower, or move the image left or right.  So, if the screen is unfortunately mounted too high for the projector’s placement, you could raise the reduced size image up, let’s say 5 or 10 inches to fit the screen. I did not try it, but I do not believe you can use image shift effectively unless you have zoomed out. If you haven’t, you would be cropping off data.

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