Panasonic PT-AE700u Projector Review

Remote Control

Panasonic has kept the AE700u’s remote small and simple. There are separate buttons for HTMI/PC, Component input and “Video” (which covers S-video and composite). Of course there are the usual Menu button and Arrow keys, and there is a single button that lets you select different color modes. User stored settings can also be recalled from a button on the remote.

Click to enlarge. SO close

All the buttons are backlit, with the Light button in the upper right.

Panasonic’s menus are pretty good. They are rather bland, but navigation is easy, once you figure out which menus are which. Below are some images of the menus.

Perhaps the most important menu is the Option menu. Here is where you have control of Noise Reduction (make sure it is ON!!), Cinema Reality (to enhance contrast), and also Lamp Power. Also settings for ceiling mounting, and lamp life are located on this menu (along with a few other items).

Above that image is the Color Management menu. As you can see – lots of control, and it makes calibrating easier than most.

Overall a good remote, and very useful if not pretty menus, and menu choices.

Projector Noise

I’m talking about fan noise here (not the picture noise discussed in the previous section on Image Quality. The Panasonic is extremely quiet – in its brightest and noisiest mode. By the time you have the projecto in its best mode it is for all practical purposes – silent. I have yet to encounter another home theater projector this quiet. Simply put – you can completely forget about fan noise as an issue!

Zoom Lens

A 2 to 1 ratio. This is wonderful. You should be able to place the projector in the middle of the room, or all the way in the back on a shelf. Most projectors have a range of only 20 or 30%, the Panasonic has 100%. A wow feature, that really helps!

Lens Shift

The single knob system for horizontal and vertical lens shift is a trifle awkward, especially compared to the Sanyo Z2 (and just released Z3), which have two dials – one for vertical shift, one for horizontal, but overall it gets the job done. Lens shift, for those not familiar is a better way of tackling keystoning than the usual digital correction, which distorts the image. By tilting the lens, you can maintain a rectangular image within the working range of the lens shift.

If there is a complaint about the lens shift, it is that there isn’t enough of it. It’s strength is that you can place the projector anywhere vertically between the top and bottom of the screen and have a rectangular image. However, that’s about the range. If you want to place the projector on a table that is say a foot or two below the bottom of the screen, the lens shift will not be able to compensate for keystoning. Same is true if you have a high ceiling and don’t want the projector to have to hang down as far as the top of the screen. By comparison, the Sanyo Z2 (and reportedly the Z3) have more vertical range, solving the “coffee table” and high ceiling issues to a significant degree.

Click Image to Enlarge

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