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Canon REALiS LE-5W Projector Review

Posted on August 3, 2013 by Jarrod Buckley

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Canon LE-5W Specs
Price 799
Technology DLP
Native Resolution WXGA (1280x800)
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 500
Contrast 000:1, 3
Zoom Lens Ratio n/a
Lens Shift No
Lamp Life 20,000 hours LED
Weight 3.5
Warranty 3 years


Canon describes this model by saying  “the compact and lightweight LE-5W Multimedia Projector is an ideal traveling companion for sales/account representatives who need to quickly and vividly share presentations or other visual information with clients.”  It comes with a soft carrying case with space to hold the projector along with the small remote control and power cord.  With the projector measuring a compact 9.8” x 1.8” x 7.6” it will fit into a moderate size business bag or attaché case.  It weights 3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) and uses an LED light source combined with a DLP imaging chip offering 1280 x 800 pixel native resolution.

This is a rather basic projector, as are many other portable models in this class, in that it uses a fixed focal length lens, rather than a zoom, and relies on a digital keystone adjustment to correct the image geometry.  The LE-5W has a native aspect ratio of 16 x 10 (1.6:1) but can also accept input signals in 1.33 (4 x 3) and 1.78 (16 x 9) aspect ratios   It offers 500 lumens of light output in its brightest mode and its focus adjustment allows for screen sizes from 20 inches up to 240 inches.  However, with a maximum of 500 lumens available, smaller screen sizes are more realistic for providing an adequately bright image in a business environment.

The LE-5W includes a HDMI port for connecting to a PC or to a HD video source (e.g., Blu-ray Disc player).  The LE-5W also has a conventional PC-style analog VGA input connector that can accept signals in either RGB or Component Video format.  Signals input by either the HDMI for analog PC port can be accepted at resolutions up to WSVGA+ (in PC RGB format) or 1080p in Component Video format.  Inputs signals of various resolutions are digitally scaled by the projector to be displayed consistent with the projector’s native 1280 x 800 resolution.

As a compact portable business projector, the LE-5W offers good flexibility by accepting all of the standard signal formats likely to be encountered from either a laptop or tablet computer or from a standard definition or a high definition video source.  It also does a competent job of displaying typical business presentations or the occasional video.  While the projected video quality is competitive with other portable projectors in this class, the image quality falls short of what is available with certain larger lamp-based projectors (i.e., but not highly portable as is this model) within the same price range.

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The LE-5W is available with either a black or a white case. It is also supplied with a very compact remote control that is powered by a single button cell battery.  The supplied remote affords access to the projector’s menus through which all of the projector’s electronic features can be accessed. The LE-5W supports 3D, but only when used with video sources capable of providing a 3D signal in the form of a sequence of alternating right/left images at 120 Hz.  This format is supported by some PC video cards and some PC-based applications.  Active shutter 3D glasses using the DLP-Link synchronization technique are compatible with the LE-5W.  3D glasses are not supplied with the projector.  The 3D capabilities of the LE-5W were not evaluated for this review.

Projector Highlights

  • Small and relatively lightweight at 3.5 lbs.
  • Good Brightness, for this class of projector, providing up to 500 lumens
  • Audio, Video & Photo playback from USB drives and SD card
  • 20,000 hour LED life
  • 3D capable
  • Built in speakers useful for business presentations with multimedia content
  • Projector can display a slide show using photos stored on a SD card or USB Drive without the use of an external device (e.g., PC)

This projector review is included in our 2014-2015 Best Classroom Projectors Report, which is sponsored by Epson America.

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