ASK PROXIMA E1655U PROJECTOR - PICTURE QUALITY: Color and Picture Quality, Readability, Video Quality
Color and Picture Quality
The E1655U displayed a sharp, clear image with very good color reproduction in any mode, even the brightest. In the brightest mode, reds were only slightly darker than the best mode (Cinema), easily equaling what we’re used to seeing from many projectors in their Presentation modes. There was the usual greenish cast typical of a high-brightness mode, which was particularly visible with a white background, but it wasn't objectionable for most viewing. Switching to Cinema mode, the depth of color was improved and would satisfy even the most critical viewer.
Viewing photos was also quite enjoyable. Again, the sharp image and strong colors contributed in adding real depth to the images. With source material like high pixel count photographs; the high resolution and sharpness of the lens made still photos appear quite lifelike. Look at the Video Quality and Readability sections of this review for more detail regarding picture quality with other sources. While using the digital inputs (HDMI or DVI) of the E1655U would be preferred for high definition sources, the picture quality was not adversely affected when using the typical analog PC input.
Regardless of the source, the E1655U displayed a sharp, colorful image that its single chip DLP competition would find tough to match, at least in their brightest modes. Also, with LCD, there is none of the rainbow effect that can often be distracting with DLP projectors.
I connected my laptop via HDMI and set it to display at the E1655U’s native resolution (1920 x 1200). The resulting image was excellent, very sharp and clean, with no edge artifacts. This is due, in no small part, to the lens quality. Small (8 pt.) text was sharp and easily readable on an 80” diagonal projected image. This was true of white text-on-black and yellow text-on-dark blue backgrounds as well. There was no color bleeding or overlap sometimes seen with 3LCD projectors.
Switching to UXGA (1600 x 1200) and XGA (1024 x 768) resolutions to test the E1655U’s video processing, there was no drop-off in image sharpness. Convergence issues were virtually non-existent about and the image remains sharp with any color combination. Basically, this projector will be readable at virtually any text size, color or resolution you can throw at it.
Finally, switching from HDMI to an analog input did not noticeably affect image sharpness.
Video quality was excellent. With its standard lens and being fed by an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player, the E1655U displayed a depth of image that was very good, really creating the detail you look for with high definition sources (see video photo).
While E1655U is limited in its ability to display blacks (as its average 2000:1 contrast ratio would attest), its gamma adjustments can help the overall balance. However, this is not a projector that one would use for extensive movie viewing, nor was it designed for that purpose.
Where the E1655U really shines is in a room with a fair amount of ambient light, as the high brightness and ability (when using the Auto lamp setting) to adjust the image brightness based on the input signal, really makes for a viewable video image.
Video performance over an analog connection from a laptop was also quite good, though lacking (understandably) the depth of image of a Blu-ray disk over HDMI. Even though the E1655U is clearly designed for out-of-the-way installation in a large venue, it has a 7-watt, built-in speaker. This is fairly useless for any venue you're likely to find the E1655U, but it does have audio outputs for connection to an external speaker system.