Panasonic PT-LB60U and PT-LB60NTU Projector Review

LB60NTU Remote Control

Panasonic has upgraded their remote, from the older LB30NTU. The old projector had a limited functionality “credit card” sized remote. The LB60NTU, instead has a small, but thicker remote, that also has a disk pad for navigation on it, with the Enter function triggered by pressing down on the disk pad.

The new remote is a major improvement, and slightly longer range. Officially Panasonic says 23 feet, but I found that it was actually usable to almost 30 feet.

The remote also has page up and page down control for Powerpoint type presentations when you are presenting wirelessly, which means only the NTU version. The LB60U and NTU have no USB port, to do traditional remote mousing, where the projector’s remote essentially emulates a computer’s mouse. Of course anyone with the U version, or an NTU, who want’s full remote mousing can buy 3rd party remote mice, from about $40-$50.

Another feature controlled by the remote allows you to put up two side by side images. The first (index) image is a static image captured from the live screen. Once you set that, it will occupy half the width, with the other half for a new live screen. For example, you could capture a pie chart, place it on the right, and view a spreadsheet or text, or whatever else you can bring up on the computer, on the left side.

But getting back to the remote itself, the NTU’s version (shown has buttons relating to wireless operation, the index window, digital zoom in and out, volume control and four buttons for choosing your source. There is also an audio/video mute button labelled Shutter.

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Lens Throw

The zoom lens on the Panasonic projector has a 1.2:1 zoom range. It can fill a 100″ diagonal 4:3 screen from as close as 9.8 feet, and as far back as 11.5 feet. That makes it a fairly short throw zoom. For that size screen few projectors can be positioned closer than the Panasonic’s 9.8 feet.

Light Leakage

Light leakage is extremely minimal, and none hitting the screen. No issue here at all.

Audible Noise Levels

The LB60NTU is fairly typical in terms of noise levels. I do not measure them, and Panasonic does not publish a spec. In full power, I would, based on the specs of other projectors that are part of the Six Projector Comparison, guess that the LB60NTU clocks in around 35-37 db. It’s probably close to 30 db in low power mode. As a result, in full power, you will hear its fan in smaller rooms if you are within a several feet. It is not loud enough to have to “talk over” it’s fan noise.

Lamp Life

The lamp is rated 2000 hours. There is no low power mode rating. According to Panasonic’s manual the projector will automatically shut down the projector when the lamp reaches 2000 hours. You can monitor the number of hours on the lamp, from the menus. There is some conflicting information between Panasonic’s manual, and their published specs on their website. The website specifies 3000 hours in low power mode but no mention of the low power lamp hour life in the brochure, or manual. 3000 hours (in low power) is typical for most projectors rated 2000 hours in full power, however, one would have to assume that the projector is tracking low and high power hours separately, otherwise the auto shutdown at 2000 hours stated in the manual, would deny users getting “up to 3000 hours” from the Panasonic projector. I have not yet been able to confirm, but I would expect that the projector will advise when lamp is at its maximum life (indicator light) based on a formula that considers how much time is at low power. I would also, therefore, expect the projector to run well past 2000 hours, if eco-mode is used, before the projector shuts down.

Image Noise

The LB60NTU, produces relatively image noise free performance on video. On computer signals, the projector locks on and produces a stable image. There is also the Auto Setup button, if the projector has a problem locking on to a particular signal, it will “try again”. I experienced no problems with either standard XGA or SXGA+ computer signals.

Additional Comments

I think I’ve covered most things of note, elsewhere, but here are a few additional tidbits:

The LB60NTU puts an image up on the screen in about 2 seconds – extremely fast. In addition, it can be unplugged immediately (even without “powering down”. The Panasonic’s fan will continue to run without being plugged in, until the projector has cooled down sufficiently. Note, do not stuff the projector back into its shoulder carry case until the fan stops running. It may not need electricity to power down, but it does need ventilation.

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