Casio XJ-A250V Projector: Bottom Line
Last year, the Casio we reviewed, struggled, brightness wise. It came in well below claim, and from a percentage standpoint, it missed target by the highest percentage.
Not so this year. Despite hints from Casio, that again this year, during normal measurements, the XJ-A250V would probably again come up a good deal short, though definitely better than last year. For that reason, I was pleasantly surprised, with the projector down just about 16 percent from claim, better than a number of others in the Education report.
Considering that the Casio XJ-A250V is putting out more than 2500 lumens (claimed 3000), consider it comparable in terms of brightness, with most of the portable projectors out there, without getting into much larger projectors.
Of course there's more than brightness. There's cost of ownership. Here the hybrid light source - Laser and LED, becomes a star. 20,000 hours claimed, just means that the light source will outlast the projector, presuming to eary failure. A 6000 hour, 3 year warranty on the light source, is the best warranty around in terms of lamps and lamp life.
In fact the longest conventional lamp life quoted in our Education report is 6000 hours, and that's in "eco-mode" not the projector at its brightest. In other words, you would likely have already replaced the lamp (or two) before the warranty on the Casio's light source runs out!
We also reviewed the Samsung F10M for the Education report. It has an LED light source, but only claims 1000 lumens. It does however, come with the longest lamp life in the Education report, at 30,000, compared to the XJ-A250's 20,000. The Samsung though really can't match the Casio in brightness.
As a true portable, the Casio is pretty affordable, thanks to the long life hybrid light source. It also sets up just about anywhere, with its motorized 2:1 power zoom line, and is the thinnest projector we've reviewed since last year's Casio (other than those pretty dim pico projectors). And as noted, it has plenty of brightness, especially for a small five pound projector. While noise can be an issue in full power mode, the other modes still provide good brightness, for most of the time when you won't need all the lumens. The speaker is basic, no symphonies please.
Setup is extremely quick and easy. I favor the Eco modes for their lower noise level, and the preset picture modes. I consider the lack of those same presets at full power, to be only slightly regrettable, as the default with color temp set to Medium, does looks pretty good! Some really good news for you road warriors. If you take the XJ-A250 home to watch a football game, movie or general TV (or HDTV) conent, it does do a very nice job for a business projector.
It turns out that Casio makes an excellent, and reasonably bright, highly mobile widescreen projector. With the excellent warranty, and hybrid light source, long term ownership costs should be minimal. I found the performance of the XJ-A250V to be just fine, however, I am personally more exited about the slightly more expensive XJ-A255V with its USB and wireless presenting and networking. A few years back when I presented and wireless simplifies cabling nicely, which is usually very handy if you aren't in a relatively small room.
All considered, this newest Casio is certainly an improvement over the one reviewed a year ago, and we really liked last year's except for the major shortfall on lumens. As you are looking for a really lightweight and thin projector with good brightness... one other thing has changed, and that is a bit more competition. One example, that lacks the "life of projector" light source, for example would be the Epson Powerlite 1775W. It is a 3LCD variety projector, almost as thin, a bit lighter, and with a feature set more like the XJ-A255V that I mentioned.
The point being that the casio's are impressive, but unlike a year ago, there are now a few other projectors with a similar physical compactness, for you to compare with, if the low profile is key to your own portability.
Casio this year offers up another really good projector (series), but afterall it is up to you, to "choose wisely"!
For you educators, Casio has just introduced a couple of new projectors including those better suited for classroom mounting (more sound, etc...) Mostly figure this Casio XJ-A250U and its Green-Slim siblings as the true portables.
Casio XJ-A250V Projector: Pros
- Low cost of ownership - no lamp to replace during the projector's useful life
- Very small and light - a projector for taking from city to city, or classroom to classroom, or you can mount it.
- Good brightness - measured much brighter than last year's Casio, although still a little short of the 3000 lumens claimed. Also it will take years for any significant dimming of the light source
- Widest range zoom (2:1) for best placement flexibility
- Widescreen WXGA (widescreen's are generally considered more advantageous than XGA in most user environments (ie. wider equals more words per point on one line)
- No filter to change
- Three year parts and labor warranty. three years or 6000 hours on the lightsource
- HDMI input
- Nice remote control
- Close Captioning
Casio XJ-A250V Projector: Cons
- Definitely louder than most competing projectors. In Eco-mode, it's about as noisy as many competitors at full power. At maximum power, this is the only projector in the recent education report, that I have to describe as noisy at full power. (Not so noisy, though, that you can't easily talk over it
- Limited sound, due to small 1 watt speaker
- No Monitor output
- No networking (other models in Casio's Green-Slim series offer networking, USB, wireless presentations...)
- Menu is large and dead center - in the way when adjusting the image
- Video quality OK, but not exceptional, slightly grainy