Sharp PG-D45X3D 3D Projector Review
May 2011 - Art Feierman
The Sharp PG-D45X3D XGA projector is bigger and more powerful than most portable projectors, but still a portable. Most importantly, the D45X3D projector does support 3D, and it has the brightness to pull it off. That's despite the 75%+ loss of brightness, that 3D systems using active glasses experience - the case for almost all 3D projectors.
Sharp PG-D45X3D Projector Overview
Most certainly, the Sharp PG-D45X3D projector, is not your average run of the mill classroom projector. A quick look at specs and features assures you of that. Overall, consider this Sharp projector claiming 4500 lumens to be suitable for larger and brighter classrooms, and multi-purpose rooms. Small auditoriums aren't out of the question, either. Perhaps most importantly it can handle small and medium sized room for 3D, something not too easy.
The PG-D45X3D, perhaps, most obviously, has a long name that's way top complicated, but is quite informative. Typing it repeatedly so that we show up in your favorite search, can really be distressing. The D stands for DLP, the 45 for those 4500 lumens, X for XGA, and 3D, yes, the Sharp PG-D45X3D is a 3D projector. And it's a 3D projector with some serious brightness compared to most out there. Since 3D squanders a good 75 percent of brightness, that's important. More on the 3D aspects of this projector, below. (We suspect PG stands for Projector Group?)
Over the years we have frequently discussed the difficulties many DLP projectors have doing bright reds and yellows, in fact with many projectors, you have to sacrifice a good deal of brightness before the reds start looking bright, and not like a merlot wine. As it turns out, this is one of the expecially good DLP projectors. Reds and Yellows were actually very good in the brightest modes. OK, perhaps still not up to the best 3LCD out there, but in this case, for example, the Standard mode looks great! That's your big tip about this projector - impressive color. More on that on the Image Quality page.
The PG-D45X3D is technically a large portable projector, or a small fixed/install projector. It is practical for local portable use, but this is a projector that is going to be mounted, more often than not. Afterall, there aren't a whole lot of rooms it can't handle. And it has a feature set, that's quite competent. The projector offers wired networking, and a digital input - DV-II, HDCP compatible, as well as the usual complement of analog inputs. Whether mounting or set up on a table, placement flexibility of this projector is rather minimal. While most "portable" projectors tend to offer only 1.2:1 or 1.3:1 zoom lenses, the Sharp PG-D45X3D comes up a little less with only 1.15:1. Of course we're squabbling over extra inches or maybe a foot maximum placement difference in a typical classroom or conference room setting.
Pricing is going to seem high, with a $2795 MSRP, unless you factor in the 3D. Sharp has similar 2D only projectors for less money. If 3D isn't in your future, likely neither is this projector. Relating to 3D, however, don't let the list price scare you, if this is the type of projector you need. Street prices are well under $2000, way under.
Consider, that there is a home theater version (in a sense - same chasis) of this projector, the XV-Z17000, which we reviewed and were extremely impressed with. That projector - $4995 MSRP! On the other hand, although fairly limited in features by comparison, the Acer X1261P (3D) we're also reviewing, sells for more like $500, but claims 2700 lumens. (The Active glasses are optional for the Acer, two pair come with the Sharp. That's a quick $200 right there.
The point being, there are less expensive 3D projectors out there as well, but projectors like that Acer, value that they can be, cannot do serious battle with this Sharp. It's still early in the deployment of 3D, but this is the year where everything seems to be coming together. The amount of content is growing rapidly, in all fronts, from educational software, to general programming coming from the likes of IMAX and Discovery HD.
This projector is going to find a home in 3D labs, and classrooms at schools. In business, 3D is being used in science and engineering labs, and conference rooms. Architects ready to take it to the next level will demo their renderings on large 3D projections. Professors can fascinate with 3D videos studying DNA or the rings of Saturn, or even 3D illustrations to classic literature, or of history.
The Sharp is designed to do excellent 2D, which is important, of course, but it's functionality as a very bright, capable 3D projector for a reasonable price, is its reason for living. Let's see how it lives up to its intended purpose.
Sharp PG-D45X3D Projector Highlights
- Very bright projector
- 3D capable, with reasonable brightness
- Supports DLP-link, uses active 3D glasses
- Extensive Inputs including Digital input (DVI) and USB
- Lens door closed creates temp standby
- Comes with two pair of 3D active glasses
- V. Good stereo sound (5W + 5W)
- A bit large and heavy, but "local" portable (has a handle!)
- Serious security features, including LAN notification
- Closed Captioned
- Wired networking
Specs for the Sharp PG-D45X3D
View full specifications here: Sharp PG-D45X3D
Brightness: 4500 Lumens
Imaging Technology: Single Chip DLP
Resolution: XGA 1024x768
Zoom Lens: 1.15:1 Manual Zoom
Lamp Life: 2000 Hours full power, 3000 in eco-mode
Dimensions: 15.8''W x13.2 ''D x 4.9"H
Warranty: 3 Years Limited Parts and Labor, Express Repair
Sharp PG-D45X3D Projector Special Features
The Sharp PG-D45X3D was pretty impressive doing 3D. After reviewing a series of 3D home theater projectors, it's finally nice to plug in a 3D capable projector that doesn't seem dim on a 100" diagonal screen. The Sharp handled a number of education coursework programs in 3D, including neurobiology imagry. Very nice. Sharp sent me a Dell laptop with the PG-D45X3D projector, including various 3D players, and sample software. That which provided worked. Some additional 3D education content that I have been accumulating, also worked fine. In addition we attempted to pump some Blu-ray 3D, through the Sharp projector, via the DVI port.
Technically, Blu-ray 3D requires HDMI 1.4 compatibility, but some older devices, like the Playstation 3, (that I use for Blu-ray 3D) have proven compatible, despite officially being HDMI 1.3. Sony has accomplished that, thanks to some serious firmware upgrades. As such, I was very curious to see if this Sharp 3D projector could handle it.
I can report that so far, no luck with Blu-ray 3D. In addition, hooking up to a 3D channel over cable or satellite is something that might be called for. With this Sharp projector, to date, my DirecTV box insists there is no 3D capable projector hooked up. (That's more common, than not, with business and education 3D projectors. Keep that in mind as a potential key checklist item. We are waiting for feedback from Sharp, regarding any options re this.
PC based 3D looks great! I've fed it into the computer through both the VGA (analog computer port) and DVI-I with success.
As a serious projector bright enough for large classrooms and multi-purpose rooms, and even small auditoriums, one would expect this projector to offer networking, and it does. Sharp's networking supports AMX and other protocols. It offers monitoring, command and control of the projector, remotely, and email notifications among other features.
There are lots of ways to secure a projector, and one of the ideas out there is to lock it down - make it useless to whomever steals it. This Sharp can password protect the unit, to accomplish that, but that, by itself doesn't solve the problem of theft. If the thief later finds out he can't make it work, the school or business is still out one projector. Better still are Sharp's LAN notication (if the projector is unmounted), a heavy duty security bar, and of course the Kensington lock. (The Kensington always seemed pretty minimal to me, designed to deter a shoplifter or theft of convenience, not a theft planned and executed by someone serious.) There's more as well. It's a pretty comprehensive suite of options. It should keep the Sharp PG-D45X3D a serious choice for schools, school districts and companies where preventing theft is taken seriously by management.
Sharp PG-D45X3D Remote Mousing
It certainly seems like Remote Mousing isn't as common on projectors today, as 5 years ago. Not sure why. I am, however sure there are third party solutions out there, but I still like seeing a projector that comes with at least basic remote mousing functions. Sharp calls those features on the PG-D45X3D projector: "Presentation Assist" Functions. They include: Page Up/Page Down, Mouse Control, Pointer, Spotlight, and a simple GUI. They also include 3D On/Off in the group, although I think the 3D button would be just fine, even if not treated as part of Presentation Assist.. I would have preferred a more robust remote, with a joystick or pad type navigation, but, it works well enough. If you are doing tons of presentations requiring a lot of mouse movement and pointing, consider a good 3rd party RF based wireless remote. There are plenty of choices.
Bottom line on Remote Mousing. This feature, surprisingly, isn't found in the majority of the projectors we've reviewed for this report. True third party solutions start from less than $50, but having any remote mousing features built in, is a real plus in today's budget cutting climate, afterall, "what accessories can we cut?" is easier than "we're going to have to give up core features in the projector we want.
Interesting odd 'n ends Features of the Sharp PG-D45X3D projector:
Here are some additional, specific features, some minor, but some very, very handy for lots of users:
- Offers overscan
- Closed captioning
- Digital image shift (up and down)
- Brilliant Color: 0 = Off, 1, 2 pumps up brightness and dynamic look of image
- Color management system when really precise color is required and calibration planned
- Audio out can be at a fixed level (FAO) or variable (VAO) and controlled by the remote
- Speaker can be disabled if desired (such as when using with a larger sound system
- 3D mode button, right on the remote control
- Remote mousing features
- Range of "break features": Break Timer (5 minute AV mute), Freeze, and AV mute
- Mouse controlled pointer, and spotlight feature (actually rectangular)
- Digital zoom (from remote)