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Casio Ecolite XJ-V110W LED/Laser Projector Review - Special Features

Posted on June 11, 2016 by Art Feierman
Ecolite XJ-V110W PROJECTOR REVIEW - SPECIAL FEATURES:  Hybrid LED/Laser light engine, Virtually No maintenance, Low Cost of Operation, Multiple Eco modes, Audio, Instant On/Off, Warranty

V110W Hybrid LED/Laser Light Engine

Casio has been doing solid state projectors as long as anyone.  More significantly, other than pico and pocket projectors, (neither a match for traditional lamp based projectors when it comes to brightness), Casio is the only player that offers sub-$1000 projectors with solid state light engines.  That is their focus, no lamp based projectors in their lineup.  They've been doing these hybrid projectors for at least six years, and have constantly been improving the performance, and characteristics of their light engine.

I believe this is is a fifth generation Casio laser light engine, so they've had a lot of practice, and seem to have a very stable design.

Casio XJ-V1 light engine

A block drawing of a Casio hybrid LED/Laser light engine used in their projectors

Like all of the Casio projectors this one uses a blue laser.  Part of that light is used as the blue light source, while part of it hits phosphors to produce a green beam.  The Red LED provides the third primary color.  They are combined with a lens and mirror combination to produce white light, which then is reflected off the DLP chip to modulate the picture.

One minor, but interesting aspect, is that this Casio, like their others, measures its brightest moments after being powered on.  It definitely loses some brightness over the first few minutes.  As a result, we wait a sufficient period of time to get a more accurate measurement that represents the brightness in normal use - that is, on for a while, even if that means hundreds of lumens less than at initial power up.  Enough said.

The advantages of a solid state light engine are many, with the only real downside, that it raises the upfront cost of the projector.  The V110W seems free of any noticeable artifacts that would make anyone think that it is different than the lamp based competition.

One advantage of solid state engines is that you can have a lot more control in terms of adjusting brightness.  That helps the Casio serve up multiple power modes. More below.

Virtually Zero Maintenance

That is, assuming the projector doesn't break, but we'll get into the warranty below.  Here's the thing, having a projector with a solid state light engine is great in terms of minimizing maintenance, and the costs associated with it.

But to get as close to zero maintenance as possible, other aspects of the projector come into play.

Casio points out that they go the extra mile to create a cooling system (three separate cooling blocks) to minimize any chance of dust getting into the light path.

In addition, the XJ-V110W is constructed with dust resistance in mind. The projector’s optical block, containing the DLP chip and lens elements, is physically separated from the rest of the projector. This allows proper ventilation of the power supply and light source without introducing dust into the light path.

Now we once were told that single chip DLP projectors had a true sealed light path - no dust could get in, a real advantage compared to 3LCD and LCoS designs (and 3 chip DLPs).  But, we all learned over time that while the "sealed light path" was superior, it is not completely sealed on these single chip DLPs, so while less likely, dust can get in, and put dust blobs on the projected image, like other techs, even if less likely.  So it's great that Casio did some extra isolation.  Because, though of the long life of the light engine, Casio didn't want weaknesses in this aspect of the light engine to increase frequency of service.  Good for them.

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Low Cost of Operation

Turns out that the XJ-V110W is especially energy efficient.  Maximum power consumption of the V110W is only 150 watts in its brightest (native) mode, and 125 watts in others.  Even the most efficient competing 3LCD projectors (3LCD typically use less electric than single chip DLP projectors), normally draw at least 200 - 250 watts, so there's a real savings here.  Many competing lamp based DLP projectors will top out at over 300 watts!  If you have a fleet of projectors there's some real long term savings there.

With no filters to change, and no other scheduled maintenance, for the most part, there are no additional costs beyond purchase price, other than the electric bill, unless the projector breaks after the warranty runs out.  When considering the time and cost of replacing lamps and filters, this can be significant, especially if a company or school district has a lot of these projectors.

Multiple Eco Modes

Almost every projector has two brightness modes (full power, bright, etc. and Eco or low power)  Thanks to the solid state LED/Laser light engine, however, the Casio serves up a menu with seven brightness options simply numbered from 1 to 7.  This allows you to dial in whatever brightness you need, and save even more on the electric bill.  Seven is the brightest mode.

The XJ-V110 drops down to 55% of full brightness when the 1 setting is used.  That's more light control range than any lamp based projector I've encountered, as most drop between 20% and 35% maximum.  I recently reviewed a lamp based Viewsonic projector that had 2 eco modes, the lower one down 40% from max, but the image suffered from some lamp flickering in that super-eco mode.  (Lamps are more prone to flicker when running when significantly less bright than full power.


Audio, Speaker and Lack There-of

Sometimes we use the Special Features section to point out some key missing features.  It's that time again.

The XJ-V110W has audio inputs and a stereo audio out.  In that regard it is like just about every other projector out there (except for higher end home theater projectors).  Where it differs from others is that Casio does not put speakers in these "core" series projectors.  Now that can be an important issue to consider.  If using portably, or installed, either you need to know that you won't be doing any presenting, teaching, etc., where the content has sound (videos, background audio, voice), or you need to come up with a work around.  There are typically two work arounds:

The more obvious one is handle the sound from the source - for example, use the computer' speakers, or route the sound from the computer to a compatible speaker system (usually powered).

The alternate would be to output the audio coming into the projector through the audio out, and feed that to powered speakers or a sound system.

But again, be aware of the lack of built in speaker(s).  If you are making the buying decision, you don't want to hear later "why did you get a projector without speakers?"

Instant On-Off

Or that's what Casio says.  They are close.  A deeper read finds that the Casio requires about 8 seconds to achieve full brightness.  That's certainly better than anything lamp based, by up to a minute - or even more.

As to power down, Turn it off, and it shuts off, and can be unplugged immediately.  That's a less rare capability, as many projectors are now designed to cool themselves without needing power to run fans. Just be aware, you should never take any instant off projector and immediately stick it into a carry case without giving it some time out in the "open air."

Casio V110W Warranty

Casio’s warranty on the XJ-V110W is good for three years parts and labor. That warranty covers the projector; a separate warranty covers the light source for three years or 6,000 hours (whichever comes first). That is an excellent warranty on such an inexpensive product, and provides some measure of security for schools and businesses that need to ensure the longevity of their equipment. It doesn’t cover the typical "five-year replacement cycle", but it comes close.

And of course that solid state light engine, in most situations, should last a great many years:  Even at 40 hours a week, that's 10 years!

Most sub-$1000 projectors have 1, 2, or 3 year warranties, with 1 year the most common.

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