Hitachi CP-AW250N : Readability
The Hitachi CP-AW250N was typical of ultra short throw projectors in that the corners furthest from the projector (the top left and right when table mounted) lose quite a bit of sharpness. This is primarily due to the convex mirror that enables the throw to be as short as it is. Using a Nokia monitor test pattern that projects very small text (about 6 pt.) into the corners, blurring of the text was very noticeable. However, larger text (14 pt. or higher) as would typically be the smallest text in a presentation was quite readable. Moving away from the top corners, the CP-AW250N’s readability was equal to any other projector in its class. Very small (8 pt.) text was easily readable on a 60” diagonal projected image, though not quite as sharp as other projectors that project directly from the lens to the screen. This was true of white text-on-black and yellow text-on-dark blue backgrounds as well. Nonetheless, unless you have a need for projecting full screen small text or detail (in which case you’d probably be looking at a much more expensive projector with high quality optics), the CP-AW250N will handle the job.
Hitachi CP-AW250N : Video Performance
While video playback will probably be a low percentage of the CP-AW250N’s use, it did a very good job with videos presented via HDMI from a laptop. The CP-AW250N’s 2000:1 contrast ratio (with the active iris engaged) is pretty much the norm for LCD multimedia projectors and combined with the proper gamma settings, provides some very nice video reproduction. Using Cinema mode, skin tones were quite natural and, as we also noted with photo presentations, the overall color balance was quite good. The default gamma setting for Cinema was not optimal for shadow detail, but that can be resolved with judicious use of the custom gamma settings. If brightness is not an issue, switching the lamp to Eco mode will also help improve perceived black levels.
If you need a little more brightness, video performance in Normal mode is more than acceptable, with good solid colors and decent skin tones.
If your video presentation includes sound, you’d be best to consider externally powered speakers. The CP-AW250N has a single built-in 10-watt speaker, which isn’t too bad, but its positioning on the bottom of the projector reduces its effectiveness.