Award. Early this year, I was even more impressed with Optoma's HD72, which was the brightest affordable home theater projector, and produced an extremely enjoyable image to view, but, a typical DLP, it is limited as to where you can place it in your room. There were also other really good projectors in the price range, each with its own strengths (Sanyo Z4 for example provided an exceptionally sharp image).
Fast forward to this year's new batch of under $2000 projectors. Once again, Panasonic's new entry, the PT-AX100U is the first in for review. This time, I'm seeing a projector that is not just a slightly improved version of the AE900U, but rather a major step up in overall performance. In addition, it has managed to cure just about all of the minor weaknesses of its predecessor.
I'll save the rest for the content and summary, but must say, right now, the Panasonic PT-AX100U earns our Hot Product Award, for being the best overall projector yet, under $2000 selling price. It's not perfect, and a competitor or two might outperform it in some aspects, and no doubt, for certain users and viewing environments there will be another projector that might be better. Overall, though, it's going to be tough to find another projector at this price that will truly amaze virtually everyone that buys one.
Let's get started!
Focus and zoom are handled manually by turning the outer and inner lens barrel. Further to the right is the same joystick control for vertical and horizontal lens shift, which allows the projector to be placed anywhere from slightly below the screen surface bottom, to slightly above the top of the surface. The more vertical lens shift you use, the less amount of horizontal shift you can use. In the center of the front is the front Infra-red sensor for the remote control. On the left is the fan exhaust. The PT-AX100U home theater projector pushes a hefty amount of hot air out, aimed forward and to the left, away from the lens. Believe me, if you set the projector low on a table, you won't want to be sitting near the flow of hot air, you'll probably want to be at least 4-5 feet away. Below are two screw thread adjustable front fee,t one each on the far front left and right. Having the hot air exhaust of the projector in the front allows you to shelf mount the projector, if so desired (and as many do). This layout is basically identical to the older PT-AE900U home theater projector.
On the right side (we're back to viewing the projector from the front) is the air intake for the PT-AX100U projector.
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