Panasonic PT-LB75U and PT-LB75NTU Projector Review: Overview
8/04/2008 -Art Feierman
I've been a big fan of Panasonic's LB series, their lightweight portable 3LCD business projectors. My enthusiasm goes back years, to the days when my old company was an authorized Panasonic dealer. As a result of that, I've reviewed each new series of LB projectors for four years now. Once again, I'm pleased with the latest iteration.
This review covers two Panasonic XGA projectors, the base PT-LB75U projector, and the slightly more expensive PT-LB75NTU, which features wireless networking capabilities. Panasonic has also announced widescreen projector version, the brighter PT-LW80NTU. I plan to take a quick look at the widescreen models in the next month, and will also publish a short review of it along with the PT-LB80U and PT-LB80NTU. All of those PT-LB80 projectors are basically identical to the PT-LB75U and PT-LB75NTU, but 600 lumens brighter.
Panasonic provided us with the PT-LB75NTU (networking version), and since these two projectors are identical, except for the networking, that allows us to "knock off two birds, with one stone."
I should point out that if you look at the projectors, you won't see the U at the end of the model numbers. The U, is simply a designation for the US version. Elsewhere, these projectors are simply the PT-LB75 and PT-LB75NT.
Panasonic PT-LB75U and PT-LB75NTU Highlights:
- Both the PT-LB75U and PT-LB75NTU weigh only 6.5 pounds
- Both offer a healthy 2600 lumens for easily handling ambient light in smaller rooms, on screens under 100 inch diagonal
- PT-LB75NTU offers extremely capable wireless networking, and is 802.11b and g compatible - networking features covered in the General Performance page
- DaylightView 4 automatically adjusts the projectors brightness to match room lighting conditions
- Networking supports both PCs and Macs
- Reasonably quiet projectors
- Average size and weight for portable projectors
- Typical selection of inputs, but lacks a digital input
- Typical lamp life for portable projectors
- Best warranty in its class
- Rapid power down, can be unplugged, fan will continue to run
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Panasonic PT-LB75U and PT-LB75NTU Projectors: Basic Specifications
MSRP: PT-LB75U $1999, PT-LB75NTU $2299
Native Resolution: XGA (1024x768)
Brightness: 2600 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.2:1
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 3000 hours low power (eco-mode), 2000 hours at full lamp power
Weight: 6.5 lbs. ( 2.9 Kg)
Warranty: 3 Years Parts and Labor, with 3 years Zip-It replacement program
PT-LB75U and PT-LB75NTU Projectors: Physical Tour
These Panasonic projectors aren't overly small, but are lighter than their physical size might suggest.
From the front, these two projectors, sporting a silver finish, have the recessed lens mounted to the right of center (looking from the front). The 1.2:1 zoom of the lens allows the projector to be placed (measured from the lens) as close as 9.6 feet (2.9 meters), as as far back as 11 feet five inches (3.5 meters). There's nothing else on the front of these Panasonic projectors, although there are two drop down feet at the far left and right of the front bottom, with the releases for the feet on the sides of the projector. A 1.2:1 zoom lens is fairly typical of small portable projectors, although some offer more range.
Moving to the top of the PT-LB75U and PT-LB75NTU, right behind the lens is a covered door that hides the manual zoom and focus controls. Looking from the back to the right of that door, is the control panel which stretches all the way to the right side of the projectors. Closest to the front, are four indicator lamps (from left to right), for Power Lock, status (Power on, standby), Lamp, and Temperature.
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Directly behind them are the buttons, which are recessed touch sensitive affairs. The first is the Lock release (more on that later), then the Power button, the Input (source) Select, and a Function button. Further to the right, is the menu button, and the four arrow keys in a diamond configuration with a center Enter button. Lastly, to the far right is the Return button.
Of particular note, is the sensor, just front of the menu button. This is for Panasonic's Daylight View, which alters brightness, contrast, color saturation, etc., of the projectors to adapt to the room lighting conditions. A nice touch!
That takes us to the input panel on the rear. As noted above, the selection of inputs is typical for a mid-sized portable projector.
From the left top, are two analog computer inputs (standard HD15 connectors). Input 2, however, can, from the menus, be changed to a monitor output (for working with an external monitor - something desktop computer users typically need). Below those two, is the Serial port for command and control. To the right of those inputs are the obligatory S-Video and Composite Video inputs, and then a pair of audio inputs (2 RCA jacks) for audio from a video source. Next comes a variable audio out (stereo mini jack) which allows the remote to control volume if you are outputting to external powered speakers. There is also a separate audio input for the computer sources (again, a stereo mini jack). That leaves only the infra-red sensor for the remote control, the power cord receptacle, and the lamp door (which is to the right of the input panel, and not shown in the image above). Yes, the lamp door is in the rear, so if these projectors are ceiling mounted, the lamp can be changed without unmounting the projectors, which is not that common on smaller, portable projectors, and a real plus.
Bottom line: All-in-all, physically a very typical portable projector, from the standpoint of size, lens, controls and inputs. The PT-LB75NTU, of course, has the wireless networking, but that is internal, so there is no visible physical difference between the two models.
Ok, time to see how good these Panasonic projectors' picture quality is!