Projector Reviews

Ricoh PJ WXL4540 Short Throw Projector Review – Picture Quality

Ricoh PJ WXL4540 Projector – Picture Quality:  Color Quality, Text & Graphics Readability, Video Quality, Sound Quality

Color Quality

 

The PJ WXL4540 offer 5 Color Modes.  The out-of-the-box color quality was somewhat better than average for a DLP business/classroom projector.  As with most such DLP projectors, the whites and light color shades are presented much brighter than are the more heavily saturated colors.  Unlike some competitor’s DLP projectors, the PJ WXL4540 does not offer any user adjustment to reduce the white brightness boost in order to provide a more accurate balance with more heavily saturated colors.

One significant limitation that I encountered is the projector’s picture menu adjustments for color saturation, hue and sharpness were greyed out and not available to be adjusted.  The projector’s User Manual says these 3 adjustments are only supported under “Video Mode”.   There is no explanation of what is meant by “video mode” and this is not one of the available picture/color modes.   I was using a HDMI input from a PC and also from a Blu-ray disc player for my testing and these 3 adjustment were simply not available. As a test I connected an old standard definition video source to the projector’s composite video input and with that “old fashion” type of signal input I found that the previously missing color and sharpness adjustments were available.  However, this is a high definition capable (i.e., 720p) projector and the lowly composite video input is limited to standard definition and is certainly not suitable for use with HD video or computer video sources.

Also this projector has no adjustments for color balance, where individual red, blue and green gain adjustments would be offered.  Such adjustments are found on most competing projectors.  Thus there are real limitations with this projector as to providing the means to adjust the picture for optimum color accuracy.

Even with those limitations, I found several of the available Color Modes to offer reasonably good colors with natural flesh tones that should prove just fine for typical business and classroom applications.  I selected the User Color Mode for my critical viewing and would suggest that as a starting point as it offers good out-of-the-box image brightness along with natural flesh tones and a reasonably good color balance.  Even the “Bright” color mode should prove acceptable for most business presentations.  However, this would not be the ideal projector there optimum color accuracy is needed, such as for critical viewing of photos and/or videos.

Text & Graphics Readability

The first 3 photos above show our text test image being input at the projector’s native WXGA resolution.  The 2nd and 3rd photos are close-ups of the upper and low portion of the text image respectively.  The  4th photo is a close-up with the test image input with a higher 1920 x 1080 resolution, which forced the projector to provide scaling down to the projector’s native WXGA resolution.  The text remained clear and very readable under these conditions with overall excellent performance.  The final two photos are with PowerPoint slides input at the projector’s native WXGA resolution and as with the text, the results were excellent in terms of the readability of the mixed text and graphics.

Video Quality

As discussed above in the Color Quality section of this review above, the PJ WXL4540 does not offer adjustments for color saturation, hue and sharpness in any of the available color (i.e., picture) modes with a HD video input via the HDMI input.  Also the lack of color balance adjustments limits the ability to fine tune the picture for improved accuracy.

The initial 7 photos above are from the movie “The 5th Element” the next 7 are from the movie “Casino Royale, both from a Blu-ray Disc.  The final 4 photos are screen shots from 4 different channels from Directv.

I used the User Color Mode for the above photos and the only picture adjustment I made was to reduce the gamma setting to a setting of 1.

Overall this mode produced natural flesh tones and good colors overall, especially on bright scenes.  With certain scenes there was visible exaggerated white levels with the saturated colors appearing noticeably too dark in comparison to the whites and lighter color shades.

The inability to access the sharpness adjustment (i.e., decease the sharpness level) resulted in some excessive edge enhancement visible in some scenes.

Shadow detail was reasonably good for this class of projector while black levels were average for a business/classroom DLP projector.  This means the black levels were better than for a typical 3LCD business/classroom projector, but well below that for a mid-level home theater model.

Sound Quality

The PJ WXL4540 has a single 10 watt internal speaker that plays surprisingly loud (i.e, better than average for this class of projector limited to a single 10 watt speaker).  There is not any real bass so the sound is rather ‘thin’, but it does a good job for narrations.  This is typical for the sound quality from this class of projector.  If you really need good music reproduction then the use of powered external speakers would be an option.  The bottom line is the projector’s built-in speaker plays fairly loud and should be adequate for use in a moderate size conference room or classroom, unless quality music reproduction is important where use of external power speakers could be considered.