Six Digital Projector Comparison- Overview

Menus

Some are prettier than others, some provide more control of the image, some are more logical to navigate. Overall, however the menu systems are all competent.

The InFocus uses a two arrow navigation system, while all the others use the tradtional 4 arrows. I find that the four arrow systems require less keystrokes are are faster, but then, who spends a lot of time fooling with menu options.

The Panasonic LB60NTU has the most choices, but that is due to their advanced wireless networking which adds a lot to the menu choices.

While some are more preferable than others, the biggest difference is probably advanced color controls. The InFocus and Mitsubishi, overall probably have the most, but 95% of users will probably never even play with those controls.

Remote Controls

Now we start seeing some differences.

Compact and simple, the IN26 has by far the least buttons, relying on the menus for accessing just about everything. Most of the other remotes have plenty of buttons that serve as shortcuts, so you don’t need to navigate the menus.

The InFocus remote notwithstanding, I preferred the Optoma TX-700 remote and the Dell 2400MP remote for having nice sized (generally), well spaced out, and logical button layouts.

The Epson and Panasonic which are almost identical and obviously come from the same mold, are the only two with a disc pad for navigating and remote mousing. Beyond that, though they both exhibit rows of tighly packed buttons. You need to be able to look at the remotes, the button layouts are not particularly conducive to learning to use the remote by feel.

The Mitsubish remote is the only backlit one (no doubt because, as a widescreen it will be particularly popular for high quality video usage, for business, and also as a high power home theater projector. The layout is pretty logical and easy to navigate. I wish the backliting was brighter however, but definitely better than none at all, if the lights are down.

All of the remotes worked well to 20 feet, about as far back as I used them. I believe all six projectors have infra-red sensors front and back, I covered that, in the individual reviews.

Audible noise

All six projectors offer a high and low power lamp mode, and I believe all support a “high altitude fan mode” for those working and playing over 4000 or 5000 feet above sea-level. (Don’t quote me on this one, but I’m pretty confident. If you are a high altitude user, check brochure of the projector you are interested in. You’ll find a link to the brochures on almost every projector page in our projector directory.

Most of these projectors claim about 30db or lower in their low power modes. That is sufficiently quiet to be almost unnoticeable five or six feet away in a meeting room. Many of these projectors, however produce up to 37 db. in full power. That still isn’t bad at all, but something you may want to consider if you plan to use in your home as well for movies, or if you are in a small, hard walled conference room and you find even moderate fan noise distracting. Even the loudest of these really would never require you to have to make an effort to “talk over” the projector’s fan. There are still far noiser projectors out there, especially some of the really tiny portables, and some of the larger installation projectors.

Lamp Life

Now differences here can be important to users on a tight budget, as a shorter life increases your cost of operation. Also, there is significant differences in cost of replacement.

I have simply provided below a list of each of the six projectors, the lamp hours (if published) for full power, low power, and the List Price of the replacement lamp. From first to last, they are ordered by typical selling price, making the low cost Epson S4, the first on the list.

The Epson S4, for example is pretty typical in terms of lamp life, with 2000 hours full power, 3000 in low power, but it’s lamp lists, and therefore sells, for no more than $199. As a result, it has the lowest cost per hour of operation.

Full Low Price
Epson Powerlite S4 2000 hours 3000 hours 199
Optoma TX-700 2000 hours 3000 hours 399
InFocus IN26 Only on general 3000 hour rating 299
Dell 2400MP 2000 hours 2500 hours 399
Panasonic PT-LB60NTU 2000 hours 3000 hours 399
Mitsubishi HD4000 2000 hours conflicting info 3000 or 4000 hours 395

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