Panasonic PT-LB30NTU – Review

Warranty

Panasonic provides one of the best warranties available: 3 years parts/labor with Panasonic’s Zip-It program for all three years. With Zip-It, if your projector goes down and requires service, Panasonic will overnight you a loaner projector to use. You will send the broken one back in the loaner’s box, and when repaired, they will return it to you. You then ship back the loaner. Panasoinc pays for all freight charges.

Overall, the Panasonic PT-LB30NTU is a powerful, flexible, and feature packed wireless LCD projector. It is the most powerful projector available today for its size and weight. It’s wireless networking, plus overall excellent image quality, and ease of use, when combined with a price well below the closest (yet heavier) competition and you understand why it has received a Projector Reviews Hot Product Award – for Best Portable Projector. The price performance (value) is exceptional. I can’t think of a reason why the slightly non-networking LB30U is any less worthy, so it shares the award.

Pros

  • Smallest, lightest 3000 lumen projector yet
  • Daylight View enhances image quality under extreme lighting conditions
  • Recessed lens for protection when moving the projector around
  • Wireless network is fast, easy to use, and sets up in less than 2 minutes (taking your time)
  • Wireless networking also allows you to control projector settings (and monitor lamp hours) from your computer
  • Wireless networking transfers audio as well as images (a rare feature, and very nice)
  • Wireless networking also provides a pointer
  • Digital zoom (controlled from remote)
  • Menu selectable choice of 2 computer inputs, or 1 computer input and 1 computer output
  • Full HDTV support, component video sources can be input through the computer ports
  • Compression technology, and compatibility with higher resolution, and widescreen source signals
  • One button operation – auto everything – plug in, and it will automatically turn on and even find a source
  • Auto power down, prevents accidently leaving unit on. It can be set to power off if there is no signal for 15 – 60 minutes (user selectable)
  • Instant off – you can unplug the projector immediately after powering down (the fan continues to run)
  • Great warranty – 3 years with 3 years of free loaner (Zip-It)
  • Price performance – aggressively priced, despite wireless networking, and its small size

Cons

  • Credit card remote lacks remote mousing, and has more limited range than full sized remotes
  • Projector lacks a rear remote sensor
  • If ceiling mounted, the projector needs to be unmounted to replace the lamp (typical of almost all small projectors)

Typical Capabilities

  • Remote control (for a “credit card” type remote)
  • Video performance (for a 3000 lumen LCD projector)
  • Zoom lens – 1.2:1 ratio is very typical for small projectors but a more range would have been a real plus

Bottom Line: Panasonic’s new portable flagship (it is their most powerful and expensive projector under 10 pounds), is truly well done. The networking is friendly and impressive, picture quality is exactly what you would expect for a premium LCD projector. The feature set and benefits are downright impressive for such a small and light projector. Perhaps most important of all, this projector is extremely powerful, and should have no trouble meeting the demands of 95%+ of all presenters out there, including those presenting to 400 people or more, in hotel ballrooms. It is hard to imagine anyone needing more projector than this, unless they need either interchangeable lens options, or a projector with multiple larger speakers (in which case you need a projector with at least 2-3 times the bulk).

anasonic has delivered a projector that raises the bar. Performance, value, features, ease of use, great warranty, etc., rival or exceed any other small projector on the market!

For those not convinced that they need wireless networking, Panasonic will also be shipping the PT-LB30U. Identical except for features that come along with the wireless networking. The “U” version should sell for between $200 and $250 less.

Image above to the right is filling a 150″ diagonal matte white screen under full florescent lighting (the two banks of 4 lights – visible at the top – closest to the screen, are mounted less than 4 feet from the screen wall, generally creating an impossible presenting situation). Note, as is typical, the actual projection looks much better than the digital camera can capture.

Click Image to Enlarge

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