Posted on July 11, 2019 By Nikki Zelinger
Casio XJ-S400UN Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise
The Casio XJ-S400UN claims a wall-melting 4,000 lumens, but did not reach its claim. Instead, when measured at full wide angle (with the lens aperture as open as can be), its brightest mode, Standard measured in at 3,525. Not bad! Most projectors come in up to 25% below claim, and this one almost made it to 4,000. A typical installation, however, will have this projector positioned in a way that requires it to be around mid-zoom, which is what we took all of our other measurements in.
When measured at mid-zoom, that same mode, Standard, came in at 2,637 lumens – still plenty for environments that have uncontrollable light conditions, such as many K-12 classrooms, and business environments like conference rooms and boardrooms. You already know from the previous page that Standard has a strong green/yellow hue to it, so it is recommended that it be used only in cases where the ambient light is atrocious. Otherwise, there are other modes that are well-suited to take on that kind of ambient light.
Casio XJ-S400UN projecting in a fully darkened room.
Casio XJ-S400UN projecting in ambient light.
One such mode is Natural, which is the brightest of all the remaining modes, and was used to take the photos below. I have a photo of the SpaceX website being projected in a fully darkened room, then again in the face of quite a lot of ambient light – such as what might be seen in your typical conference room or classroom. I used an image with a black background, as black is the first color to disappear when confronted with ambient light, so that you can see the projector performs well, even in a room that is not fully darkened.
The next brightest mode is Graphics, a mode that can be used for presentations and graphics, but doesn’t have as good of color as Natural. This mode measured at 1,812 lumens. Theater, the projector’s best mode for video, came in at 1,691 lumens. Next up is Vivid, measuring at 1,651 lumens, followed by DICOM SIM. at 1,510 lumens, and Blackboard, taking up the rear at 1,490 lumens. All of these modes should be able to handle a degree of ambient light, such as some light coming through the windows, with the overhead lights off.
The Casio XJ-S400UN has a contrast claim of 20,000:1. We don’t have a way to measure this claim when reviewing a projector – instead, we analyze the projector’s black level performance. Black levels refers to a projector’s ability to reproduce blacks. Whether or not the projector performs well in terms of black levels is determined by how dark the blacks are when compared to pure black. No projector ever really gets to pure black, save for a few of the highest end models, but some JVC and Sony home theater projectors get really, really close.
As for business and education projectors, we never expect the black levels to be that great. In most cases, they just don’t need to be. I’ve only run into one projector where I was completely astounded by the black level performance, and that was a commercial projector made by Sony, which I reviewed a year or so ago. As such, our standards for black level performance on a projector such as this Casio, are pretty low compared to what we expect from projectors for the home environment.
A scene from Journey to Space, overexposed in color, to demonstrate the Casio XJ-S400UN's black level performance.
A scene from Journey to Space, overexposed in monochrome, to demonstrate the Casio XJ-S400UN's black level performance.
Business and education projectors’ black levels tend to hover around medium-grey to dark grey, across all manufacturers and price points, with higher-end models and commercial projectors being the exception. For us, it’s more of a question of, “are the blacks recognizable as black?” when reviewing a business or education projector, rather than if the projector can reproduce true black. Like I said, that’s a standard we reserve for home theater projectors.
The XJ-S400UN’s black levels are absolutely entry level – and I don’t hold that against Casio in the slightest. Though the blacks are more of a medium-grey, they’re still recognizable as black. In the slider above, I have two images of the Bigelow Rendering from Journey to Space. The first is in color, and the second, in monochrome. The images are overexposed so as to demonstrate what the projected image looked like in person. Space looks like space, in both images. These photos were taken in Theater mode.
I couldn’t find an audible noise rating for the Casio XJ-S400UN, but I can tell you that it’s not loud. When reviewing standard throw projectors like this Casio, I am standing right next to the projector when taking my photos for the review. I was a mere two feet away from the XJ-S400UN, and all I heard was a gentle buzz. My computer emits more audible noise than this projector!
That was with no sound on, too. With the volume up, even at less than half volume, that hum disappears. This projector, like most business and education projectors, will likely be ceiling mounted, probably at least six feet or more above the heads of anyone under it. Even with the volume on mute, your students or colleagues are not likely to become distracted from the noise of the projector during presentations.
That does it for our review of the Casio XJ-S400UN! On the next page, I summarize everything you learned in the review, provide some insight as to the competition, and pros and cons to the XJ-S400UN. See you on the last page!
© 2019 Projector Reviews (V0625)