Sony VPL-TX7 Projector - Physical Tour
4-30-2010 - Anthony Arrigo
The Sony VPL-TX7 isn't the most stylish projector on the market, but as I have mentioned before it pretty value priced and often times the look of the projector follows in suit. However, it is not too bad and luckily when it comes to controls they are intuitive.
In the front of the projector will notice the zoom lens. Control of the zoom lens is handled from the right side where you will find the fine focus as well. All the controls move smoothly and achieving a nice focus and picture size is very simple. Being that the lense is recessed a bit gives you some added protection as well from jarring should you travel with the projector or move it from room to room. Most will ceiling mount this projector, so this may not be an important consideration.
On the top of the unit is the on-board control panel. You can control all the projectors functions from the this menu system. It is simple and navigating through the menus would be easier if it there were more button choices, but it is still fully capable and normally one uses the remote which often is more featureful.
Moving to the back of the projector we have all the inputs. From the left you will find two very standard video inputs. One composite video input, usually the source is a VCR or DVD player, you will with find the S-video. There is also a mini dim audio input to the right so you can utilize the projectors 5 Watt speaker. You will notice the two blue RGB inputs next and this will allow you to have to video sources hooked up at the same time. Also input B will allow component video from a HD source with the use of a special optional cable.
For networkability the Sony VPL-TX7 comes with a RJ45 input. You can control all the projectors functions from a web browser with this input. If you plan to view a computer screen while presenting and not the projected image, there is a monitor out so you can sit away from the presentation and still oversee everything. There is also a audio out so you can hook up to an external sound system if you need more to reach a larger audience. Finally there is a RS-232 input for complete command and control of the projector.
Sony VPL-TX7 Lens Throw
Before I get into the setup, let me first give you some idea of what kind of placement flexbility you will have based on a standard image size of 100 inch diagonal. That equates to a 80" image in width and 60 inch image in height. A pretty good size image for most conference rooms and classrooms. The Sony's 1.5 to 1.7:1 optical zoom lens allows you to place the projector between 9 feet 10 inches and 11 feet 1 inch from the screen to get that 100 inch diagonal. So, if your going to ceiling mount the projector then keep those basic numbers in mind to determine if you will be able to get the desired image size given where you can mount the projector.
Sony VPL-TX7 Setup and Menu
The front of the projector comes with two very easy to use adjustable feet and the rear has on large adjustable foot. This made adjusting the image fast and convenient. You will notice in the picture below the lamp door and the filter screen. Both are easy to work with when the projector is removed from the ceiling. The fact that all the maintenance has to take place with the projector removed from the ceiling is going to make the costs of upkeep rise if you have a lot of these projectors in your district or large business, so keep that in mind. You might save in the short term, but spend a lot in the long term. If you just own a couple, it should not be much of an issue.
The menu system was simple and easy to use. I felt a newbie could understand all the titles of each feature without a lot of confusion. The manual might be required to better understand certain screens, but overall the menu was well done. Some example shots are below.
Sony VPL-TX7 Remote Control
A remote was not shipped with the demo unit so for this part of the review I have to base it on the picture, but from from what I could tell it is well designed remote. The buttons having been designed to feel different based on their functions would make navigating through menus very easy. The buttons are also spaced and grouped in such a way that after a quick memorization of the layout, one could probably move quickly just by touch.
It was hard to tell what type of battery the remote used. If it takes a smaller watch type battery then plan to buy a few spares. Most remotes use either Tripple A or Double A and you can often get those in pinch, but the smaller batteries can be much harder to find and cost more.