Projector Review: Before You Buy An LCD Projector

7:40 AM

Before You Buy An LCD Projector

Buying an LCD projector is not an insignificant investment, so you'll want to think carefully about how you're going to use the projector so you can match the features you need with the best price point. For instance, an LCD projector's brightness is a key buying factor, but if you're not planning to frequently give presentations in large conference rooms or classrooms, you may not need high performance in this area. These key buying factors will help you choose an LCD projector.

LCD Projector Resolution

SVGA (800 x 600), XGA (1024 x 768), SXGA (1280 x 1024), or UXGA (1600 x 1200)? The higher the projector's resolution, the higher the price. If you will use your LCD projector mainly for PowerPoint presentations, the SVGA resolution will be fine, while XGA is a good choice for displaying numerical data. You'll only need the higher resolution LCD projectors if you need fine details to be accurately displayed.

LCD Projector Brightness

The higher the ANSI lumens rating, the brighter the LCD projector's light output. Projectors of less than 1000 lumens may not put out enough light for your needs. Projectors of 1000-2000 lumens put out enough light for normal business or classroom situations, while projectors of 2000-3000 lumens produce enough light to illuminate images without washout in large conference rooms and classrooms.

LCD Projector Contrast

Projector contrast is expressed as a ratio between the brightest and darkest areas of the image. Look for LCD projectors with contrast ratios of 400:1 or higher so that graphics and video images are clear. You'll want to choose an LCD projector with a very high contrast ratio if you plan to frequently project images with the lights on.

LCD Projector Weight

Projector weight is a portability issue; if you're going to be carrying the projector around a lot, making presentations in different locations, the lighter the better. There are now many LCD projectors available that weigh less than 5 pounds, which can lighten your load considerably if you're a mobile presenter. However, generally, the lighter the projector the more it costs.

LCD Projector Connectivity

When you buy an LCD projector, you'll choose one that connects with the computer you use, of course. But will you always use the same computer? You may need a separate connector cable or adapter in some cases. Check as well to see if the LCD projector has multiple computer ports, in case you want to connect multiple computers or video sources to the projector at the same time.

LCD Projector Lamp Life

Another factor you may want to consider when buying an LCD projector is the listed lamp life, as replacement lamps cost hundreds of dollars. A listed lamp life of 2000 hours is excellent. Some projectors come with mode choices, such as "eco-mode" that allow extended lamp life, and cut down on operating costs

Susan Ward

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