Posted on July 24, 2006 By Art Feierman
Of the six digital projectors under review as part of the business projector comparison review, Optoma’s TX-700 is the smallest, and apparently also the second least expensive. The TX700 is a new, very compact, entry level priced DLP projector claiming 2200 lumens, and a 2500:1 contrast ratio. Weighing in at 4.4 pounds, it is small enough and light enough for those requiring a pretty bright projector for regular travel.
The TX700 digital projector includes a compact soft, padded carry case.
Each of the six projectors has it’s own review, and this is the projector review for the TX700 alone. The comparison review will concentrate on the strengths and weaknesses of each projector compared to the others.
It would appear that current pricing (at least at some dealers – is under $1099, but some of the dealers are offering a free lamp, and others, significant further discounts. Since many of the buyers of the TX700 projector will be traveling with it (extensively?), there should be a significant number of users, who will be comforted by having a spare lamp they can take with them in case of the possibility of a pre-mature lamp failure.
Netting out the value of the lamp, of the other projectors in the separate comparison, only Epson’s lower (SVGA) resolution Powerlite S4, costs less, making the Optoma TX700 the least expensive XGA resolution projector in the group.
Although I will mention other projectors in this review of the TX700, again, I point out, that for the most detailed information on how the TX700 performs compared to these other projectors, please look to the overall comparison review.
Although not particularly slim in height, the TX700 has a very small footprint – only 9 inches wide by 8.3 inches deep, and 3.7 inches high.
The TX700 sports an off center mounted lens, an infra-red sensor, and a button to release the front drop down foot. Note, the TX700 also has two screw adjustable height rear feet for a stable 3 point stance. The exhaust vent is in the front, so as not to blow hot air directly at people sitting to the sides or rear of the projector. There is an tethered lens cap, so that you don’t lose the cap.
The zoom lens offers only a 1.1:1 zoom ratio, allowing you to vary the image size just enough to fill your screen properly, once you place it close to near where it needs to be to fill the screen. Zoom lenses with narrow range like this or only slightly larger range, are typical on under 6 pound projectors. The TX700’s lens would be considered short throw, projecting a larger than typical image from a given distance. However it is not the shortest throw zoom of those we looked at. To fill a 100″ diagonal screen, with a standard 4:3 ratio, (and that’s a fairly large screen), the TX700 would have to be placed with the front of it’s lens between 12.9 feet and 14.2 feet.
Moving to the top of the projector, you will find the zoom lens control and the control panel. The panel is pretty typical – a power button, menu button four arrow keys and and enter key. When not in menu mode, the right arrow key can be used to auto-sync on the signal if (unlikely) necessary. The left arrow key is for selecting sources. There are also the usual 3 “idiot” lights – Power, Temperature, and Lamp.
That takes us to the input panel (shown below) on the back. It is nicely laid out and has an almost surprising number of inputs and outputs for a projector in this size and price range.
To start, it has a DVI-I digital input that can handle digital, or an analog computer signal. There is also a 2nd analog input that can alternately handle component video. A stereo audio jack for the small internal speaker, and the usual S-video and composite video jacks. The TX700 projector also has a monitor out, which you would need for working with a desktop computer rather than a laptop. Having the monitor out, is usually a requirement for K-12 schools so the TX700 should be a contender in that marketplace. Lastly is an RS-232 for external control from a computer, and the rear Infra-red sensor.
That completes our tour of the unit itself. Time to look at how the Optoma TX-700 performs in terms of image, including brightness, compression technology, color handling, and more.
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