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Mitsubishi WD390U Projector - Performance

Posted on July 20, 2013 by Art Feierman

Mitsubishi WD390U Projector - Brightness

Measuring ultra-short throw projectors (or "extreme" short throws as Mitsubishi calls them) is definitely tricky due to the steep angles involved.  Light getting from the lens to the center and even more so, to the top of the screen (we measure with the projector on a table by the bottom of the screen), can hit the screen almost 70 degrees off angle, which creates a challenge for our light meters.  We've devised a method here, that seems to work.  In this case, I did take a number of measurements, but also was able to set up another projector - not a short throw, which was easy to measure, and use that as a reference.

It seems to work well enough.  It also resulted in our getting a brightest measurement that was slightly brighter than claim. This is definitely not as precise as we would like, but an error of a few percent, or even 10% is minor in terms of real world performance is barely discernable.

Here's how the numbers look, with Presentation mode being the brightest:

Presentation Mode 3112 lumens
Auto 3006 lumens
Theater 659 lumens
Standard 1443 lumens
Whiteboard 1076 lumens
Blackboard 2326 lumens
User (in this case same as  Presentation)

Bottom line, 3000 lumens will definitely get the job done on screens of 100" diagonal or less even with a fair amount of ambient light present, and of course much larger with very good lighting control.

Right, the WD390U projector projecting just over a 5 foot diagonal image with four lights with the equivalent of 240 watts of incandescent lighting) illuminating our small, 10x11 foot testing room. Two of those lights are shining down onto the computers and projector.  To get a handle on how bright, both the MacBook and the iPad have their displays set for maximum brightness.  The room looks fairly dark, so that the projected image isn't badly overexposed.  Elsewhere in this review is a picture of the hardware we used, the lighting was the same, only the exposure different.

"Back in the Day" - let's say the year 2000, big 30 and 50 pound projectors used for "rental and staging" - such as in use in hotel ballrooms and auditoriums, typically were only 2000 lumens!   True, lights would be out to handle 25 foot screens, but consider today, we have a sub 10 pound projector that's brighter than those beasts of old.

Presentation mode is very usable for most applications, but if you do need better color, it really starts with Standard Mode, and gets really good in Theater, although you are giving up about 3/4 of brightness by the time you get to Theater mode.

Click Image to Enlarge

WD390U Projector Image Sharpness

I found the WD390U to be outstanding for such a short throw projector.  We've seen a number of ultra short throws that have real problems with sharpness.  In some cases, parts of the screen are soft or distorted enough that spreadsheet numbers become hard to make out, and often much of small text is definitely visibly not clear.    That's not good.

Even one of the best ultra-short throw projectors in terms of sharpness, the Epson Brightlink 485wi (a Best In Classroom award winner last year), can't quite match the WD390U.  In fairness, the Epson sits a lot closer - only a few inches from the screen, not two feet (give or take) like the Mitsubishi projector. We found that Epson to be pretty respectable, but this Mitsubishi WD390U is definitely sharp, rivaling standard throw DLP projectors, and that's impressive.

At this point I do believe I can say that I have not seen another projector that can produce as large an image from as short a distance, with the clarity of the WD390U projector.  Excellent!

Mitsubishi WD390U Projector - Audible Noise

The WD390U is a fairly quiet projector and I am happy to report not a distraction. It is rated at 33 dB which puts it in the high end of home theater projectors, and quieter than most smaller business projectors.   Its noise levels are really good for a small install projector.  Switch to eco-mode and the WD390U claims just 28db, which is quieter than most home theater projectors at full power.  Consider the WD390U to be rather excellent in this area.  Even in our small testing room, the fan noise never seemed loud, and is barely detectable on the videos we shot of the projector in action.

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