Mitsubishi PK20 LED Portable Projector Review: Image Quality

I’m not sure where to start, but since I must, let’s talk about color. Color performance is actually very good overall. Since this projector has many uses, business, photos, watching movies from your laptop or video iPod, and so on, I’ll comment on different types of uses.

Mitsubishi PK20 Color Handling

Business usage. Surprise, surprise, the PK20 (link to specs), a DLP projector, actually produces better reds and yellows than most of the business DLP projectors. Most tend to turn what should be a bright red, into a dark, wine colored red, and bright yellows, tend to end up a mustardy greenish yellow. Not so the Mitsubishi PK20. Reds were nice and bright, as they should be, and yellows, though not perfect, were very good, actually better than the two pure business DLP projectors reviewed in the last few weeks, the Dell 3400MP and InFocus IN34.

My.yahoo.com homepage gives you a good idea of the colors (the shift to red you see, pre-dominently in the lower right quadrant is from a nearby overhead incandescent light hitting the screen.

For what the room lighting looked like. Note, however that trying to capture the room lighting best makes the screen image overexposed, so it looks too washed out. The image above has the exposure set for the projected image, and looks far, far better, and realistically reflects what the eye saw when the photo was taken.

In addition to looking at data from my laptop, I also popped in Lord of the Rings, to see what movie viewing from a laptop might look like. Again, the image quality was very good. No, not up to a dedicated home theater projector, but still good enough for the job.

The movie was very watchable, as long as the lights were down.

The next thing I decided to try, were some images from a digital camera. I simply removed the SD card from my small Canon digital, and placed it in the SD card slot of the PK20.

Once again, colors were very good. Here are two images for your consideration. I later downloaded these images into my laptop, and looked at them again, from the laptop, not the SD card, and saw the same quality.

The second image from the beach (a rather gray day), didn’t look that great to start with, however, my point and shoot camera, set to auto white balance, had a bit of a problem capturing this image from the projected one from the Mitsubishi PK20. In other words, it looked a bit better on the screen than here.

I also grabbed an existing image off of my laptop, from last year’s summer vacation in San Francisco. Again, the Mitsubishi PK20 did a very respectable job, of this scene of my family, with the San Francisco bay in the background.

The Mitsubishi PK20 also looked good hooked up to my Playstation, so gamers can have portable, big screen fun – in the dark.

I should note, that in Brightest mode, the overall color balance picks up a green caste, as the projector tries to eek out every last lumen. This, by the way, is typical of many home theater projectors in particular.

I had intended to also view the photos from my Motorola Q smartphone, which uses a mini-SD slot. However, there were no photos to be found. (I only have a few on the phone, and apparently there is a procedure to put them on the memory card from the internal memory. Since my other test of an SD card directly into the PK20 worked fine, there is no reason to believe that images from a smartphone (PDA) won’t also be just great.

Mitsubishi PK20 Clarity and Sharpness

The image the PK20 produces is very sharp. Text is nice and clear, even small type. The spreadsheet image here, you may click on, for a much larger view. If you do, you will see a clean, highly readable spreadsheet.

The PK20 worked just fine at its native 800×600 resolution, but also displayed good compression technology, producing a good image when I fed it the higher resolution XGA 1024×768 source from my laptop.

Click Image to Enlarge

Overall, the Mitsubishi PK20 did everything I asked it to. Whether SD card input, computer, video source (DVD or game machine), the image was sharp and clear, and colors were very respectable, better than the average business projector in it’s default and brightnest mode (whether it’s called Dynamic, Presentation, Bright, etc). Since this is not a direct competitor to much larger projectors and especially home theater projectors, I’m not going to spend time talking about the subtle differences in flesh tone handling, black levels, and color temperature (white) balance as I would with a home theater projector.

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