Panasonic PT-VX400NT Projector - Physical Tour
5/15/12 - Mike Rollet
Panasonic PT-VX400NT Appearance
The PT-VX400NT comes in an attractive white plastic case. The lens protrudes slightly from the front of the projector and is located to the left of the center of the projector when facing it. There is a plastic lens cap (not tethered) to protect the lens when not in use. The lens is surrounded by a focus ring and zoom lever. To the left of the lens is an IR receiving eye and to the right are an air intake vent and a camera window that allows the projector to perform its automatic adjustment features (see “Special Features”). There are also two adjustable feet (one in each corner) to adjust the front height. Unfortunately, there is no rear height adjustment.
On top of the projector, along the left side, is a control panel with the most of the important controls. There are indicators for Power, Lamp replacement and a warning light for other projector problems (typically overheating). There are buttons for Power, Input, Menu, Navigation, Auto Setup, and Select. The left and right menu navigation buttons double as adjustment buttons for the volume of the built-in speaker. To the right of the control panel is the cover for access to the lamp. Having the cover on top of the PT-VX400NT allows for easy access even if the projector is ceiling mounted. The screw to release the cover is on the right side of the projector. Moving to the right (again facing the front) side of the projector, there is a hot air exhaust port that covers most of the right side. On the left side of the projector are an air intake port and an air filter. Unfortunately, the main air filter can only be accessed from the bottom of the projector, so it cannot be easily accessed if the projector is ceiling mounted. However, the 5500 hour replacement cycle of the filter makes it something that will not be done that often.
Moving to the rear panel, there is a nice assortment of connections for video and audio. Starting from the left side, there is the built-in 10-watt speaker and the power cord connector on the bottom. Moving from left to right, there is a second computer input that can also function as a monitor output, followed by the primary computer input and an HDMI input. These are followed by two USB connectors; a Type B that is used for connection to a computer to output video over USB to the PT-VX400NT and/or for using the remote as a wireless mouse and a standard Type A for presentations from a USB thumb drive, followed by a wired LAN jack. Along the bottom, from left to right, is an RS-232 control port, a composite video input, stereo audio inputs, a 1/8” audio input, a microphone input, an audio output, an S-video input and a Kensington lock port.
Panasonic PT-VX400NT Setup and Menus
The Sanyo PT-VX400NT was easy to setup and start using. It does not come with a printed manual (which is available on an included CD), but does have an Auto Setup feature that makes it simple to set up without the manual. The PT-VX400NT has two front height adjustment feet that help to quickly level the projector if table-mounted. We would prefer rear adjustable feet as well, but the two front feet are still better than the usual single center foot. The 1.6X zoom also helps to properly position the projector. Once you get it close, you can use the Auto Setup feature to quickly complete the setup. The Auto Setup is basically a combination of a focus assist, wall color correction and automatic keystone correction. While we usually don’t recommend using any keystone correction due to image distortion, small to moderate amounts of correction have no visible effect on the PT-VX400NT.
Once setup is complete, the user brings up the menu, where the desired image mode can be selected. There are five main preprogrammed modes (Dynamic, Standard, Real, Blackboard and Cinema). There is also a Colorboard setting that can either be set to automatically detect the color of the projection surface and automatically adjust it, or manually to one of the colors in the menu (Red, Blue, Yellow or Green). In addition, there is the ability to create up to four custom modes. Depending on the input signal, you can make the usual adjustments for Contrast, Brightness, Color, Tint and Sharpness. The PT-VX400NT also includes a range of selectable gamma and color temperatures, as well as Red, Green and Blue intensity.
As evidenced by its built-in 10-watt speaker, the Panasonic PT-VX400NT’s is designed for presentations with sound. As such it has multiple audio inputs, including one for a microphone. If you would need an external audio system for a larger room, there is an audio output jack whose level can be controlled by the remote.
Panasonic PT-VX400NT Remote Control
The PT-VX400NT’s remote control is a small, white remote with gray buttons (except for the Power and Standby buttons which are bright red). Buttons are appropriately grouped and cover many of the important functions without accessing them through the menu. Each video input can be individually selected on the remote. Also, scrolling through image modes and switching lamp mode can be performed on the remote. There are also buttons for Auto Setup, image muting and freezing, audio volume and mute, digital zoom, info, paging, mouse functions and keystone correction.
One unusual feature on the PT-VX400NT’s remote is an on/off slider switch. This enables the presenter to save battery life when the remote’s not in use, as well as preventing commands from being issued accidently when using the projector for videos (or other uses) that would not require constant use of the remote.
The remote’s buttons are not backlit, but that can be distracting during a presentation where the remote may be in constant use. Fortunately, the Menu and menu navigation buttons are different shapes than the other buttons on the remote, making them easy to access in a darkened room.