Mitsubishi XL1550U and XL2550 3LCD Projector Review: Overview and Physical Attributes
5/11/2008 - Art Feierman
The new Mitsubishi XL1550U business projector is one of two interesting, sibling projectors from Mitsubishi. The other is the more powerful XL2550U. This review will focus on the XL1550U, but I will comment occasionally on the XL2550U projector where it differs from the lower cost XL1550U projector. I only had the XL1550 LCD projector to work with. All subjective comments about the XL2550 projector are based on the spec differences, and other factors, but again, I did not have one in here for testing.
Overall, these Mitsubishi projectors would have to be considered moderately bright, portable projectors. They are neither very small (ultra-portable, micro-portable, pico portable), nor very light at 10.4 pounds (4.7 kg). The XL1550U claims 3100 lumens, while the brighter Mitsubishi XL2550U claims 4000 lumens. In reality, Mitsubishi refers to them as install projectors, and they have the features to match. Still, they are not so large or heavy to preclude them from being used for a lot of local portable presentations, being moved from room to room, or building to building. It's far less likely that people will want to use them if traveling by plane, just too bulky. Despite Mitsubishi promoting them as Installation Projectors in its brochures, it does include a carry case with both models.
Two notable features come to mind with these two projectors. First, is that they offer interchangeable lenses, and are relatively inexpensive among projectors that do offer lens options. The other feature is long lamp life (in low power modes).
- XL1550U rated 3100 lumens, XL2550U rated 4000 lumens
- 3LCD technology, with very good color
- Interchangeable lenses
- Very quiet operation (XL1550U), moderately quiet (XL2550U)
- Best in class warranty!
- Heavy duty security lock bar
- Huge selection of inputs, outputs, and wired networking
- XL1550U measures very close to its claimed 3100 lumens
- Lamp can be replaced without unmounting the projector
Business Projector: Basic Specs
MSRP: $2495 XL1550U, $3994 XL2550U
Native Resolution: XGA 1024x768
Brightness: 3100 lumens (XL1550), 4000 lumens (XL2550U)
Contrast: 400:1 (XL1550U), 600:1 (XL2550U)
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.27:1
Lens shift: No
Lamp life: XL1550U 2000 hours at high power, 5000 hours at low lamp power
XL2550: 2000 hours at full power, 4000 at low power
Weight: lbs. 10.4 (4.7 Kg)
Warranty: 3 Years Parts and Labor standard, with replacement program all 3 years
Mitsubishi XL1550U Business Projector: Physical Tour
Facing the front, the first thing you notice is that the lens is offset to the right side. The second thing, is that it looks like the cover over the lens is removable by virtue of two screws. Removing the lens housing allows you to remove the standard lens, and replace with a choice of a three additional lenses. There is an optional short throw lens, a long throw, and one with an even longer throw, that they call Tele-Throw zoom lens.
To give you a good idea of the potential operating ranges that these lens offer - to fill a 100" diagonal 4:3 screen, the standard lens will allow you to be as close, as 11 feet 10 inches or as far back as 15 feet 2 inches. However, these overlapping lenses will get you as close (with the short throw lens) as 10 feet (not that close, actually), and with the Tele lens, as far back as 30 feet 8 inches!
The rest of the front of the Mitsubishi projectors consists of a push button for the drop down center foot, located in the center just above the bottom, and an IR sensor for the remote control, on the lower left.
On the top, just behind the lens housing extension is a recessed area with control rings for adjusting focus and zoom. These are nicely manufacturered on our test unit. Unlike many projectors, with lesser build quality, adjusting the focus does not change the zoom, nor vice versa. Nice and precise!
Just to the right (looking from the rear) of the lens adjustment rings, is the control panel. Nothing particularly surprising here. There are two indicator lamps (with the usual many possible lit and flashing patterns), a menu button, and the usual four arrow keys in a diamond shape layout, with the Enter button in the middle of them. As is also typical, the arrow keys double with different functions when the menus are not in use. The left arrow lets you choose between computer inputs, the right arrow, between video inputs. The Up arrow is the auto position, for optimizing computer signals. The down arrow key doubles to bring up volume controls for the speaker/amp.
That takes us to the sides, where you will find a removable filter (left side if looking from the back), for easy cleaning, and a side door for changing the lamp (right side), which as previously mentioned, means you don't have to unmount the projector to change the lamp, which, sadly is a major headache/problem with many portable projectors that are often installed with ceiling mounts.
Moving to the back, these Mitsubishi projectors are especially well endowed when it comes to inputs and outputs.
I'll start with display inputs. There is a DVI-D connector, with HDCP support (DVI-D means digital only, the other type is DVI-I, which also can handle an analog input). In addition, just to the left, there are 2 analog computer inputs, both can handle an analog PC input, or a component video input. There is also a monitor output, for feeding the display signal back to an independent monitor.
Both Mitsubishi projectors offer separate stereo inputs for both analog computer inputs. The first computer input pairs with the DVI-D input, in that they share one of the stereo inputs.
The projectors also have the usual S-video and composite video inputs each with their own stereo inputs. There is also a stereo audio output, handy if you need to also feed sound to ceiling mounted powered speakers nearby, for those larger rooms. That tends to save a lot of extra wiring and cost.
Additional features on the back, include a standard RJ-45 (ethernet) network connector for remote diagostics and management, as well as an RS-232 alternative for command and control. There's also a 5 volt 1.5 amp output, which is also a handy feature, that can provide power to nearby devices (even possibly, those powered speakers). I normally don't mention the Kennsington lock slot, as I can't think of a projector that lacks one. These Mitsubishi projectors, however also have a large security anchor that looks very intimidating! To finish off the back of the XL1550U and XL2550U, are a rear infra-red remote sensor, the power receptacle, and a USB port to also connect to a computer, for the projectors' remote mousing capabilities.
There are two rear feet - the left one being adjustable, to complement the front foot, for the classic 3 point stance, when using on a table top.
The speaker system is a single speaker with a 3 watt amp. Not overly impressive, but more punch that most smaller projectors have to offer. Still, not as much sound as some competitors. Of course in larger environments - large multi-purpose rooms and small auditoriums, no projector really has an internal speaker system to handle such rooms.
Ok, you should have a pretty good idea of the hardware side of these Mitsubishi projectors. Time to concern ourselves with the image quality.