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If you need more than what a bargain-basement projector offers but don't want to break the bank, the Toshiba TDP-T95U presents an alluring middle ground by combining great brightness and a well-rounded selection of inputs. For a very reasonable $1,299, the DLP projector's brightness exceeds that of the HP mp3135, which is nearly twice as expensive, and the Toshiba's connectivity options are comparable to the much more expensive Dell 5100MP. The Toshiba TDP-T95P also boasts features left off many budget projectors, such as automatic keystone correction and a monitor-out port. For the TDP-T95U's low price, you'll sacrifice the portability and the fast start-up time we enjoyed from the Epson PowerLite 765c and the accurate images that the Dell 1100MP produced, but for above-average features and connectivity at a low price, the Toshiba TDP-T95U is a great choice.
Inside the sleek, no-nonsense, silver-and-black case is a Digital Light Processing (DLP) engine from Texas Instruments that produces XGA images. The TDP-T95U weighs a relatively heavy 6.4 pounds and measures 11.8 by 8.6 by 3.9 inches, making it a bit larger than most other projectors in the XGA budget category. The projector's size allows for some mobility, but it's better for traveling short distances; the 3.8-pound HP mp3320 is a better choice if portability is a chief concern. Toshiba provides a well-cushioned albeit large case that easily accommodates the projector with plenty of room for accessories or even an ultraportable laptop.
A unique, pop-off cap covers the lens and gives the front of the projector a clean look. Focus and zoom dials aren't labeled, but they're easy to access on top of the projector and work smoothly. The TDP-T95U projects images ranging from 2.5 to 25 feet (diagonal), and it works with computer images as well as high-def TV images. We appreciate the Toshiba TDP-T95U's automatic keystone correction, which the HP mp3320 lacks, and we like that the control panel includes a dedicated button for enabling the feature. Also found on the control panel are the volume adjustment for the projector's weak 1-watt speaker, an input switch button, and controls for navigating the onscreen menu (OSM). The included remote is large and fully featured, with a numeric keypad, which is required for the projector's antitheft password feature. Our chief complaint about the remote is that its large tilting button enables you to control the mouse pointer but can't be used to navigate the OSM--there's another set of arrows for that.
The Toshiba TDP-T95's large form factor affords lots of space for input options. In addition to the standard ports for analog, composite video, S-Video, and audio, there are also a monitor-out connector that outputs to a monitor screen, a second computer input, and two RCA-style audio inputs. The three-pronged AC cable and the computer video cable are both 10 feet long--typical cords are about 5 feet--giving you plenty of room to place the projector. We were disappointed, however, that composite video and S-Video cables aren't included with the projector.