Projector Reviews

Casio XJ-S400UN Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality

Casio XJ-S400UN Projector Review – Picture and Sound Quality: Color Modes, Video Picture Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Audio Quality

Color Modes

The Casio XJ-S400UN has seven color modes: Standard, Graphics, Theater, Blackboard, Natural, Vivid, and DICOM SIM. Of those color modes, I would consider only a couple to have good color, with all others ranging from decent to not so good. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a projector where I wasn’t completely satisfied with at least one of the color modes, so this should be fun. It’ll be good for you to read a review of mine where I’m not raving about the color.

That said, the two “best modes” are Theater and Natural. Theater has the best performance in terms of skin tones, while Natural is, in fact, the most natural-looking all around. Theater, like most other projectors’ modes of a similar name, has a more magenta hue than the others. This is what gives skin tones their natural look. I would choose Theater for films and educational shows where skin tones will be present, and Natural for presentation and other graphics. But, I’d like to point out, that neither of these modes are particularly true-to-color out of the box, and could do with some tweaking in the settings.

Vivid is aptly named, as the contrast of the colors is intense. It made the blue menu of my PlayStation QUITE blue, and I found it to be a bit too much. That isn’t to say it won’t work for someone else’s applications, but I did not choose to use it for any of the photos in this review. What you’ll see throughout this review are photos taken in the Theater and Natural modes. Vivid has a very cool tone, and could look good on certain graphics where color isn’t of the utmost importance.

Graphics mode also has a cooler tone, though not so much as Vivid. It, too, could be used for some graphics or presentations where accurate color isn’t needed, but I would choose Natural over either, every time. Blackboard is always going to be strongly magenta, no matter what projector you’re looking at. This is because that hue, when projected on a blackboard, allows for more natural-looking color. Standard, which is the brightest mode, is your “break glass in case of emergency” mode, only to be used in the most dire cases of uncontrollable ambient light, due to its sickly green/yellow hue.

DICOM SIM. is the mode I am most disappointed in. DICOM SIM. is used for viewing high contrast films, such as X-Rays and MRIs. When I projected the X-Rays I have of my kitty’s stomach, I couldn’t see any of her organs. DICOM SIM. is supposed to make these X-Rays easier to view, but in the case of the Casio XJ-S400UN, it rendered the X-Rays useless. Good news though – when I changed the mode to Natural, I was able to see all of her organs extremely well. I have included photos of both modes for you to compare, in the slider below.

Video Image Quality

The video picture quality on the Casio XJ-S400UN is pretty good, thanks to its WUXGA resolution (1920×1200), which is the business and education world’s 1080p. When projecting in Theater mode, most everything looked good, whether the content was streaming from Netflix or from a BluRay disk. I felt that the color is just the tiniest bit off, but this is way less important on a business and education projector than it is on a home entertainment or home theater projector.

Casio XJ-S400UN projecting a scene from the Netflix show Explained.
The Casio XJ-S400UN does well when reproducing skin tones. This photo was taken with the projector in Theater Mode.

The photos in the slider at the top of this section were taken in Theater mode, as it does the best on skin tones and looks the most natural when viewing films and educational TV shows. Natural would look good as well, but I felt Natural had a more desaturated look, and leaned a bit more toward the green side of the spectrum, and we all know what green does to skin. If you don’t, just go take a selfie under some fluorescent lights and you can be just as appalled at the color as the rest of us.

Casio XJ-S400UN projecting a scene from Journey to Space.

I like to use this photo from Journey to Space to determine whether or not I like a projector’s color, as it really shows off a projector’s depth, contrast, and color. Here, I saw that Theater mode, although tinted more toward magenta than green, has stronger yellows than it does blues. In modes used for documentary films and education TV shows or videos, I tend to like to see more of a blue tone to accompany that magenta. It makes the whites look more white, rather than off-white.

No matter – on this Casio, the tint is so slight I doubt anyone who isn’t an artist would really notice. That is, unless their applications require some truly accurate color. If that’s you, there are other projectors at this price range and below that can get you closer to what you need. If that’s not you, read on.

One thing I’d like to mention before moving on to the Text and Presentation Quality section of this review, is the Rainbow Effect. This is a phenomenon that occurs on DLP projectors with slower color wheels, and affects around 5% of the population. Though less rainbow sensitive than Art, I do see rainbows from time to time, and I saw them with this Casio. It’s not a huge deal – just something to be aware of.

Text and Presentation Quality

Text and presentation quality is great on this Casio, thanks to that WUXGA resolution and its laser light engine. I find laser projectors to appear sharper than many lamp based projectors, and that it has high resolution, also helps quite a bit. Speaking of the sharpness, though, there is a little bit of a blur effect on the edges of the projected image.

This was most evident to me when I brought up the menu while I was taking photos for this review. It wasn’t noticeable when I was viewing the content – only when I brought up that menu. You can offset this issue by focusing on an area about 1/3 away from the center of the screen. We give this advice to anyone focusing the lens of a projector, though admittedly it is now so common sense to me that I forget to write it into my reviews.

Casio XJ-S400UN projecting a presentation slide.

Of the color modes, I would suggest Natural mode for projecting presentations and graphics, as it has the most natural-looking color of all the modes. Graphics is another suitable mode, if you don’t mind a bit of a cooler-tint, although I would say that Natural is better because it is the brighter of the two modes – and you can never go wrong with a little more brightness in a classroom or conference room environment! As such, all of the photos in this section of our review were taken in Natural mode.

Casio XJ-S400UN projecting our test graphic for text.

For every review, we take a photo using our test graphic for text size, so that we can determine readability. The Casio XJ-S400UN’s WUXGA resolution makes text sharp and readable. Even the smallest font size, which is 8-point font, was readable from the back of my viewing room. Though it’s unlikely you’ll encounter text that small, it is readable – but from rather close up. Standing 10-15 feet back, you can see it pretty well, but further – well, I wouldn’t count on it.

10-point font, naturally, was more readable than 8-point, with 12-point being more readable still. 12-point font is what you’ll run into on websites and documents, for the most part, as well as infographics. Infographics may have 10-point font size, but I think it’s more rare. Anything larger will be even more clear. Whether you’re projecting PowerPoint Presentations, infographics, websites or Word Documents, I believe you’ll find the Casio XJ-S400UN to be suitable for your business or education applications.

Audio Quality

The Casio XJ-S400UN has a single, 16-watt speaker built in. After the last projector I reviewed, the NEC NP-MC382W, I was a little wary of whether this projector’s speakers would perform. You see, the NEC also had a built-in 16-watt speaker, but I was thoroughly unimpressed with the volume that projector’s speakers could produce. Things worked out in favor of this Casio, however, as this projector, at half-volume, was about as loud as the NEC could get.

At full volume, the Casio’s sound boomed. It could easily fill a K-12 classroom, as well as larger high school or university classrooms – but not lecture halls. For that, you’ll want an external sound system – for which the Casio XJ-S400UN has the inputs you need – so that sound can reach all corners of the room.

As far as conference rooms and boardrooms go, the XJ-S400UN’s speakers will do just fine. Like any built-in speaker, this projector’s speaker is lacking in any bass, but that shouldn’t be an issue for most applications. If your presentation requires that you have deeper sound, simply hook up external speakers, and you’re on your way.