Mitsubishi XL1550U Projector Review: Projector: Summary, Pros, Cons
Overall, the XL1550U is a well designed, and very functional projector. It has some real strengths, and a couple of things that differentiate it from the pack. That said, when pricing is considered, along with a couple of tradeoffs I'll mention below, it remains a very good projector, but not one exceptional in any truly important way, that merits it receiving our Hot Product Award.
Please understand, the XL1550U is in a class of projectors where there is a huge amount of competition - a lot of "me too" products. And, while the XL1550U does have a few unique things going for it, it is still a fairly typical projector.
Let's start by summarizing the strengths and weaknesses:
Mitsubishi XL1550U projector, Pros, Cons, andTypical Capabilities
Mitsubishi XL1550U Projector: Pros
- Very good brightess (almost 3000 lumens)
- Extensive display inputs, including DVI with HDCP, four stereo audio inputs, and networking
- Monitor out, and stereo audio out
- Exceptional 5000 hour lamp life in low lamp power mode
- Best in class warranty - 3 years with overnight replacement
- Extremely quiet in both low power and slightly noiser full power modes
- Very sharp image
- Very, very, good color on data
- Good color on video
- Good remote control, with good range
- Three optional lenses
- Very good remote mousing controls and operation
- Lamp can be replaced without unmounting a ceiling mounted projector
- Remote has built in laser pointer
- Heavy duty security bar
- 5 volt 1.5 output, to provide power to nearby ceiling mounted devices, including, quite possibly, larger speaker systems
- Good overall anti-theft
Mitsubishi XL1550U Projector: Cons
- No hardcopy manual - only on CD-ROM (in convenient PDF format)
- Standard zoom lens has limited range for a projector touted as designed for installation, making it more likely that users will need one of the optional (expensive) lenses
- Expensive from a pure lumen standpoint - smaller portable projectors offering similar power (but no lens options), and perhaps less other features, are often significantly lower priced
- Maintenance: Filter is recommended to be cleaned every 100 hours - while this is typical for 3LCD projectors, most DLP projectors do not have filters requiring cleaning
Mitsubishi XL1550U Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Menu system overall (would have been rated a "pro", but for lack of sub-menus), thus requiring toggling through options you can't see, until you bring them up
- Lamp life in full power mode
- Documentation, actually overall better than average, but missing some useful details.
- Control Panel
Mitsubishi XL1550U Summary: Competitive Info
Again, this is a very solid projector. The value proposition, however varies significantly based on usage. If you need a basic ceiling mounted projector, the XL1550 is a bit expensive for the lumens it delivers, even considering that it has networking.
If you need to mount the projector, and the standard lens works for you, good deal. If you need one of the other lenses, then the price almost doubles. Here's where the value proposition gets murky. Because of the limited range of the standard lens, you might find you need the (not particularly) wide-angle lens, or one of the long throw lenses. However, if the standard lens is close to what you need, but won't work for you, then it's very likely you can find a competing projector with a standard zoom lens with more range, that will meet your needs. In such a case, the XL1550U ends up being very expensive.
To give you just one example, consider Epson's new Powerlite 6110. It's MSRP is $400 higher ($2899) but for that, you get a 3500 lumen projector (instead of 3100), and you still get networking, and a long life lamp (4000 hours vs. the Mitsubishi's 5000 hours at low power, and 3500 vs 2000 in high power). The zoom lens, however, is 1.6:1, rather than 1.27:1. Based on comparing their lens throw charts, the Epson standard lens starts wider angle than even the wide angle optional lens can achieve, and it covers the full range of the standard lens, as well as half of the shorter of the two long throw lenses. Thus, the Epson has far more placement flexibility with its standard lens.
As an added bonus, that Epson supports closed captioning - something relatively new for business projectors. But then most projectors have a few things going for them. Another is Epson offers filters that have a longer life.
On the other hand, the Mitsubishi projector offers an extra year of warranty, and overnight replacement. Also, it is both smaller, and lighter (The Epson is five pounds heavier.)
Lastly, the Mitsubishi is far, far quieter, being much quieter in full lamp mode, than the Epson is in low lamp mode!
Trade-offs, just like I said. The lens throw, however, is probably the real reason it was decided not to give the XL1550U our Hot product award. It really was a close thing.
Bottom line: First, the image quality is excellent, overall, no issue there. If the XL1500U works for your application, with the standard lens, it is a serious contender that needs to be near the top of your shopping list, especially when you consider the awesome warranty. If, though, you want to mount the projector but the standard lens just doesn't quite cut it for you, then other similar projectors may end up being a much lower cost solution. In fairness, Mitsubishi's lens prices are fairly typical, and the projector is one of the least expensive to offer interchangeable lenses, so if you really do need a long throw solution, that no ones standard lens can cover, then the Mitsubishi starts looking very low cost.
Interfacing, like image quality, is a real strength. For example, that more expensive Epson is close in terms of inputs, but lacks a digital input (DVI or HDMI).
In summary - the XL1550U is well endowed with features, well designed overall, and has some really excellent things going for it. Whether you need a 3000 lumen projector for installation, or local travel, the Mitsubishi is a solid choice, with a world class warranty!