Projector Reviews

Panasonic PT-RW430UK Picture Quality

Color & Picture Quality

To start, I connected my laptop to the PT-RW430UK via HDMI and fed the projector its native resolution (1280 x 800).  The PT-RW430UK displayed a sharp image that was notable for its accurate, well-saturated colors in most modes.  Colors were quite accurate in any mode, with the exception of a slight greenish cast to whites in Dynamic mode.  Even so, colors appeared natural, without the normal darkness in reds or yellows.  It should be noted that in Dynamic mode, Panasonic Solid Shine technology employs a light sensor that drops the brightness when color is present in the image.  This results in much more balanced colors, but the drop in brightness brings the lumen output down to the next brightest mode, Graphic.  While this ensures a better color balance than you’ll see with most DLP projectors in their brightest mode, it does limit full brightness to black and white presentations.

So, unless having the brightest possible image at all time is a priority, you’ll appreciate the balanced color in any mode.  Dropping down into Cinema or Rec. 709 modes improves the color over Graphic or Standard and is the equal of many home theater projectors.  Of course, this color fidelity comes at an even higher price in lumen output (see Performance section for details).  As a practical issue, unless your presentation is dependent on very accurate color or brightness is not a concern, Dynamic mode is your best bet for most presentation uses.  Not having any X-ray film to display, I was unable to check the effectiveness of the DICOM Sim mode, but it’s a feature that has a lot of appeal in medical schools.

As a result of the good color, photo presentations are excellent with the PT-RW430UK, particularly in Cinema or Rec. 709 mode.  As mentioned in the Setup and Menu section of this review, there are a number of adjustments available to improve the picture quality.  The high contrast of the PT-RW430UK provides decent black levels for most uses and the red, green and blue grayscale adjustments will provide the proper basis for accurately displayed colors at any level of brightness.

Comparing Image Modes

Dynamic mode
Rec709 mode
Standard mode
Cinema mode
Dynamic mode
Rec709 mode
Standard mode
Cinema mode

Readability

The PT-RW430UK provided a sharp image at any resolution or aspect ratio.  Displaying our usual spreadsheet with a range of text sizes and colors at its native resolution (1280 X800), there was no problem reading small (8 pt.) text on an 80” diagonal projected image.  This level of readability was maintained with white text-on-black and yellow text-on-dark blue backgrounds as well.

Moving to higher resolutions and aspect ratios than the native resolution, the PT-RW430UK proved to be a solid performer.  As seems to be the norm these days, there is little difference with the higher resolutions.  Switching to 1600 x 1200 and then 1920 x 1080, the PT-RW430UK was still able to provide readable text of any size, with virtually no distortion.  Being a single chip DLP projector, there are no potential convergence issues to worry about and the image remains sharp with any color combination, as small text remained quite readable and there was no color separation or overlap.  This also was the case when dropping down to XGA (1024 X 768) resolution, where the displayed text looked essentially the same as it did at the PT-RW430UK’s native resolution.

Resolution

Video Performance

For testing video quality, I used the Blu-ray playback from my Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player.  Starting in Cinema mode, I viewed a few movies that I am quite familiar with from my home theater projector (Casino Royale is a favorite).  As I expected from the Color and Picture Quality evaluation, these movies looked quite good on the PT-RW430UK.   Skin tones were quite natural and color depth was at the level usually associated with LCD projectors.  Black levels were among the best I’ve seen in a multimedia projector.  Video performance over an analog connection from a laptop was also quite good, though lacking (understandably) the depth of image of a Blu-ray disk over HDMI.

For viewing in an average lit room, the high brightness and automatic color balance of the PT-RW430UK in Dynamic mode provides for a highly watchable image, making it a good choice for video presentations in a classroom or conference room.  While there are no built-in speakers, they’re not likely to be needed in the typical venue for this projector and the ability to control the volume of the audio output of the projector will give a presenter control over an external speaker system.

Overall, in addition to its obvious advantages in the commercial market, the PT-RW430UK could be very attractive to a home user that wants a projector to display broadcast TV and an occasional movie in less than light-controlled conditions, can be used for many hours a day and requires no maintenance.