Mitsubishi dazzles its customers and competitors alike with the XD50U DLP projector, our Editors' Choice. This 3.4-pound, XGA device can fill a screen full of bright, colorful, and sharp images equaling those of projectors that cost and weigh twice as much. The multitude of thoughtful touches include a CompactFlash card reader and the ability to project your company logo upon start-up, a unique feature in this price range. While some competitors outdo the XD50U on one point or another, no other projector puts it all together so well. If you don't want to pay the XD50U's high price, is much less expensive and almost as good. Mitsubishi, a longtime maker of large video and data projectors, thinks small with its XD50U. One of the smallest and lightest projectors we've tested, it rivals a hardback book's size--measuring 7.5 by 9.4 by 2.1 inches (W, D, H) and weighing a mere 3.4 pounds. Even with a complement of basic cables and its tiny remote control, it has a travel weight of only 4.4 pounds.
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|The XD50U rivals a hardback book's size.||The top control panel has the common X-shaped navigational array.|
The top control panel has the common X-shaped navigational array, plus three other buttons and two LED indicators. We really liked the quick-menu button, which cycles through commonly used items such as brightness, contrast, volume, and keystone. It also has a presentation timer, an annoying feature that buzzes after a set period has expired and shows a progress graph in the lower-right corner of the display image.
With a pair of adjustable legs up front and a flip-up leg in the back, the XD50U is a snap to set up. All of the connections are on the rear panel. The XD50U offers a couple of unique features for its category. Foremost is the CompactFlash card reader (and the included 16MB card), which lets you leave the laptop behind when you deliver a presentation. A PC Card adapter lets you use the card in your computer's PC Card slot. Although the slide-show feature has some limitations, it's still nifty. Also cool is the ability to display your company's logo or another image upon start-up; Mitsubishi documents this process thoroughly in the user guide.
The small remote control has a crowded but well-labeled interface that includes an automatic keystone-correction button. It lacks a laser pointer, however, and it cannot control your computer's mouse.
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|The small remote control has a crowded but well-labeled interface.||The M1-DA port and the comprehensive array of cables give you all you need to connect.|
The XD50U's native XGA resolution can also accommodate source resolutions ranging from 640x350 to 1,920x1,080. A 1.2X optical and 10X digital zoom help frame the image. Our tests revealed one of the XD50U's few flaws: it required seven feet to create a one-meter (diagonal) standard image--a half-foot farther than
The XD50U's soft, neoprene bag can accommodate all of the included cables: audio, composite video, S-Video, and a DVI connector that can grab a signal from a computer's VGA connector. It even has a VGA-out plug to power another projector or monitor, but it lacks international power cables.
The 150-watt lamp module has a life of 1,500 hours, but running it in low-power mode can extend its usefulness. The module sells for $350 or 23 cents per hour of use. The XD50U posted good-to-excellent results in all of CNET Labs' needs. &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Edisplaymate%2Ecom">DisplayMate tests. Its 1,341 measured ANSI lumens brightness is the best of the bunch. It led the pack with an 86 percent image-uniformity score. Its 353:1 contrast ratio, while nowhere near its spec of 1,500:1, is still very good. It never showed any ghosting or flicker; images looked rock solid.
CNET Labs contrast ratio tests (Longer bars indicate better performance)
The projector's color quality was very good. Its color temperature was a near-perfect 5,783K. It differentiated 244 out of our standard 255 levels of grays--a good score, but those grays showed a blue cast. As far as color accuracy goes, the projector had trouble projecting greens and blues.
DVD-movie action looked smooth, with occasional blotchy background artifacts. A bigger problem is the noticeable amount of light leakage out the front, which could detract from your theatrical experience (this is somewhat less of an issue for presentations).
The XD50U operates quickly, taking a mere 45 seconds to warm up and a swift 1 minute, 7 seconds to shut down. But bring your pot holders: We measured a scorching 200 degrees Fahrenheit at its exhaust grille; only the Dell 3200MP was hotter. To funnel all this hot air away from the projector, the XD50U's fan ran at 38.9dB, loud but about average for the group.
CNET Labs brightness tests (Measured in ANSI lumens)
The XD50U's electronic version covers the projector thoroughly. Mitsubishi's Web site has a lot of prepurchase information--from specs to manuals to explanations of all of the projector's features--but it's of little help once you've bought the machine. In the event of a problem, the company offers a 24-hour, toll-free phone line and e-mail support. We were chatting with a technician after less than five minutes on hold.