Panasonic PT-LB60U/NTU Projector Review - General Performance
Panasonic PT-LB60U/NTU Menus
Hitting the Menu button on the remote, or the control panel brings up the the menu seen on the right. The primary menus are all located on the left, with the first of those being the picture menu. As you can see here, the Picture menu choices are displayed.
The Picture menu handles standard functions, including contrast and brightness, color temperature and sharpness. In addition, you have the control of Panasonic's Daylight View, as described in the previous section. The first item, labeled Picture Mode, offers selection of one of the Panasonic LB60's presets, including Dynamic, Natural, and Standard.
Other primary menus include the Options menu shown to the right. From this menu, you control, among other things, creation of a startup screen logo, choice of full power on the lamp, or "eco-mode", the auto-off functions, if there is no source.
You also have the ability to set the 2nd computer port, to function as a computer input, or alternately as a monitor out, whichever you need at the time.
The Security menu allows you to password protect the projector - making it non-functional to those without the password. This is generally considered to be a theft deterrent, (assuming the thieves will not steal the projector because they know they won't be able to use it - a big assumption).
The next menu to look at is the wireless menu, shown here. Passwords are used to restricgt access to the wireless handling capabilities of the "NTU" version of the LB60. You also have the ability to control the projector over the internet through the projector's networking functions - for "command and control.
One very interesting feature worth noting about the LB60NTU's wireless capabilities, is that, unlike most other projectors with wireless operation, the Panasonic handles audio as well as video. This is a real plus for those that want to transmit a video clip with sound, or just an audio clip. It's a real plus, and for some, that ability to wirelessly transmit audio, may be the deciding factor for choosing the LB60NTU over other wireless projectors.
Since the LB60NTU supports 802.11g, as well as the older 802.11b, if your computer is pumping out a "g" signal, the video speed is impressive. No, it can't do full screen 30 frames per second, but it can produce a respectable sized video image, (I'd estimate around 25% of the screen area, with fast, smooth motion.
The menu shown at the right is the source control, which allows you to select between the video inputs, the two computer inputs (assuming you have computer 2 set as an input, and not as a monitor output), and the wireless system.
Panasonic offers one of the most sophisticated wireless networking capabilities that I have seen. I reviewed it previously with the LB60NTU's predecessor, the LB30NTU. When I reviewed the LB30NTU last year, I installed the wireless software on my laptop and did get to use the wireless capabilities, which worked extremely well.
This year, I had less time for testing as the LB60NTU is part of the Six projector comparison review, and I have been working with the six projectors over a total of about 2 weeks. I did not run the LB60NTU in wireless mode, but would expect it to perform very similarly to the LB30NTU, as the LB60NTU is simply an "evolutionary" upgraded version of the LB30NTU. For more information you can click here, and scroll down, to see my impressions on the wireless networking from last year's LB30NTU review.
The Panasonic LB60NTU can have up to 16 computers tied into it's wireless capabilities, and you can have thumbnails of what's on each of the 16 computers, on the screen at one time, to choose between them. That really is a nice touch if you do have a large group, for some applications where you need to jump from one computer to the next.
A more significant feature is the ability to split the screen into four quadrants and have up to 4 computer's materials displayed at one time. This was very impressive, and the 1/4 sized images are far more usable than the more numerous thumbnails.
Also for more information, I'd like to refer you to the brochure, which is very helpful. Click here to go to the LB60NTU in our database, and download the brochure (a multi-page pdf file). It contains a lot of information regarding the wireless capabilities.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.