Mitsubishi WD380U-EST Projector - Physical Tour
4-14-2012 - Mike Rollet
The Mitsubishi WD380U-EST has its lens slightly offset right of center when facing the front of the projector. The convex lens protrudes from the front of the projector because, like most ultra short throw projectors, the WD380U-EST does not project straight ahead, but rather upward diagonally from the projector, thus allowing it to be placed close to the screen. A focus ring surrounds the lens, with its adjustment tab on top. Fortunately, with as much as the lens protrudes, the WD380U-EST comes with a fairly substantial lens cap. There is an IR receiving eye on the bottom right corner of the front panel and two front height adjustment feet in each corner. Unfortunately, there is no rear height adjustment at all. It continues to baffle me why manufacturers don’t include four adjustable feet on multimedia projectors, especially short throw ones, as it would be much easier to square the projector to the screen (with minimal or no keystone correction) if all corner feet were adjustable.
On the right side (while facing it from the front) of the projector are a 10-watt, built-in speaker, an air intake vent and a lock bar. On the left side is an air exhaust vent.
Most of the left half of the top of the projector serves as a cover for the lamp. There is a single screw on the top edge of the left side of the projector that, when removed, allows for removal of this cover. This facilitates replacing the lamp when the WD380U-EST is ceiling mounted, without having to unmount the projector.
Toward the rear, in the middle, is a control panel with the most oft-used functions, plus indicators for power on and status (both lamp and temperature). There are buttons for Power, Menu, Navigation (Up, Down, Left, Right and Enter). The Enter button also functions to access the keystone correction and the Up/Down buttons also serve for keystone adjustment when not in the menu. The Left and Right menu navigation button also function to switch between computer and video sources respectively. Finally, the Up button also functions access the Auto Positioning, which provides proper display of a computer image.
Moving to the rear panel, we find a wide array of connections. Starting at the top left, there is a second IR receiving eye and an audio output jack (for an external speaker system), followed by two audio input mini jacks and stereo RCA audio inputs. These are followed by S-video and composite video inputs, RS232 serial control jack and a RGB monitor output jack. Next are two RGB/component video inputs, an HDMI input, a USB Type B jack and a USB Type A jack (for PC-free presentations from a USB thumb drive). Finally, we have an RJ45 jack for a network connection, a Kensington lock and the power cord jack.
Mitsubishi WD380U-EST Setup and Menu
The WD380U-EST fires up and displays an image fairly quickly. As it was with the recently reviewed Optoma ZX210ST and is typical with short throw projectors, getting the projector set at both the correct height and distance from the screen is a bit of a chore. With no ability to zoom and minimal available height adjustments, table mounting without the use of keystone correction is difficult. That being said, the WD380U-EST can be ceiling mounted quite easily and be completely out of the way for any presentation with the use of one of Mitsubishi’s two optional wall mounts. For our table-mounted setup, getting a square image proved difficult, but the WD380U-EST’s keystone adjustment works quite well and has minimal effect on the readability of the projected image.
Moving on, the next step is for the presenter to select the desired picture mode from the on-screen menu and make the usual adjustments (contrast, brightness, color and tint) to the picture. In addition to the standard adjustments, there is a User color temp setting that allows for full grayscale adjustment as well as a full CMS (color management system) for individual adjustment of each of the projector’s primary (red, green and blue) and secondary (cyan, magenta and yellow) colors. As proper use of a custom color temp and CMS requires professional calibration equipment, it is unusual to see it in multimedia projectors. However, it can be a useful tool for even the casual user to improve color balance, especially in the brighter modes.
Mitsubishi WD380U-EST Remote Control
The WD380U-EST’s remote control is light gray in color and is fairly well laid out. Unfortunately, the buttons are the same color as the remote, are quite small and mostly the same size. Combined with small text labeling, it’s hard to find the appropriate button in a darkened room.
Buttons are appropriately grouped and cover all the important functions without accessing them through the menu. Instead of the usual source button that scrolls through the inputs, there are individual buttons for each input source. There are buttons for the usual menu navigation, as well as buttons to control the digital zoom, keystone adjustment (and volume), switching to 3D and freezing or blanking the displayed image. As usual, the remote’s buttons are not backlit or even glow-in-the-dark.