Panasonic PT-AX100U Projector Review – General Performance

Four main menus, but most of the action is on the Picture Menu, and its sub menus. Let’s start there. This image shows the main Picture Menu, and as you can see, there are a great many options. The first lets you select the preset (Cinema 1, Dynamic, Normal, etc.), and when selecting this, brings up a small menu at the bottom of the screen, and you can toggle through the 7 different presets. A minor complaint – toggling is ok, but having the full list, so you can jump directly from one to another you want, would have been better. On the other hand, the Remote does it better, as I will discuss below.

PT-AX100U Home Theater Projector: User Menus

Four main menus, but most of the action is on the Picture Menu, and its sub menus. Let’s start there. This image shows the main Picture Menu, and as you can see, there are a great many options. The first lets you select the preset (Cinema 1, Dynamic, Normal, etc.), and when selecting this, brings up a small menu at the bottom of the screen, and you can toggle through the 7 different presets. A minor complaint – toggling is ok, but having the full list, so you can jump directly from one to another you want, would have been better. On the other hand, the Remote does it better, as I will discuss below.

Of course the Picture menu has all the standards: Brightness, Sharpness, Color (saturation), Contrast and so on. It also has control of color temperature, and very importantly the Off/On for the Dynamic Iris, whose function is to significantly improve black levels, and provide a real improvement to overall image quality.

You can save your favorite settings into one of three Favorite settings, as discussed below in User Saveable settings.

There is also the Light Harmonizer, which if on Auto will adjust the image as room lighting changes.  I didn’t spend much time at all with it, but it is functional, but hardly a cure-all. The good presets, plus user saveable settings are more important.

Also on the Picture menu, is the all important Advanced submenu, which you’ll use to tweak the color, if you get an easy to use calibration disk (do it)! There are extensive controls here, as you can see, for gamma color and contrast. In addition you have two different noise reduction schemes. I stuck with the defaults NR on, and MPEG NR off. That certainly worked fine for me.

The next main menu is the Position menu – with almost nothing to control by comparision, mostly, the aspect ratio, but also of note, there is an overscan control which you might need with some conventional TV if you get some noise at the top of the screen. There’s also keystone correction, best avoided, especially since you have plenty of optical lens shift to work with.

The next menu gives you a choice of languages for the menus, no picture needed.

The last main menu is Options. Here you’ll find all kinds of secondary goodies, relating to how the menus display, startup logo, whether you want the projector to automatically search for sources when turned on (as opposed to coming up looking for the same source as when you powered down. Projector positioning (front, ceiling, desk, etc..), and a high altitude setting for the folks in Denver, or Nepal, which runs the fan harder (and louder) to keep the projector cool. Of greatest note, however, is the lamp control for selecting normal or the not as bright Eco-mode which will stretch lamp life if you don’t need the horsepower. Panasonic also provides several test patterns, a nice touch, but missing is a color bar test pattern, which would have been nice to have.

That’s about it for the menus. You’ll find the manual to be very helpful, with decent explanations of what all the functions do. Definitely a much better than average manual.

PT-AX100U User Memory Settings

Click to enlarge. So close

This Panasonic offers three saveable user settings, very handy. I immediately setup one for an adjusted Dynamic mode, and another for Cinema 1. Ideally, I would have liked to see 2 or three more saveable settings, but 3’s not a bad number!

Click Image to Enlarge

This image shows the menu for saving settings, and the one for recalling a saved (Favorite) setting, looks about the same. You can, as noted elsewhere, access your Favorite settings directly from the Favorite button on the remote, or from the menus.

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