Panasonic claims its PT-AX100E boasts class-leading brightness for a home cinema projector. This means it's just as comfortable displaying images when it's light as in dim environments, which is ideal if you have a bright living room or want to watch sporting events during the day.
The feature list also includes high-definition compatibility, all-inclusive video connectivity and exceptionally simple installation and operation. For less than the price of a 42-inch flat-screen TV (you can find it for under £1,000 online) you could be watching equally impressive pictures at least twice the size -- maybe it's time to take a look at the bigger picture.
The design isn't especially compact but it is surprisingly lightweight and easy to carry around. An off-white colour scheme has been used to match typical room interiors, especially if you want to inconspicuously wall- or ceiling-mount the projector.
There are several primary controls arranged at the top that correspond to the layout of the small remote, which means you can get used to the controls quickly. From the projector you can turn the power on, select different input sources and navigate the main menu system.
The silver-styled remote carries only a few more controls including quick-access keys for selecting various picture modes and entering picture, colour and aspect ratio menus. The small number of spaciously arranged keys and a backlight function make it extremely easy to use, even in the dark.
At the front, the lens is set on the right-hand side and accompanied by a clever joystick control that can flexibly adjust the position of the image, while you can alter the height using two adjustable feet at the front.
Single input options for all video connections are tightly arranged across the rear panel. These include all standard AV inputs except Scart, while high-definition signals are supported by both component connections and an HDMI digital input. There's also a standard VGA input that can be used to display images directly from your PC.
The PT-AX100E features 3LCD technology, which can outperform its DLP counterparts, especially ones in this price range.
The 1,280x720-pixel resolution will display 720p and 1080i high-definition images as well as accepting 1080p signals (via HDMI only), although these are downscaled to fit.
The unusually high brightness rating (2,000 ANSI lumens) means it's versatile enough to use during the day and at night. This is supported by so-called 'Light Harmoniser' technology, which automatically detects ambient light and adjusts brightness and black levels accordingly.
Setting up the system is a breeze. The relatively short-throw lens lets you display large-scale images (50-200 inches) from between around 2 and 6m away, so it's good for both small and large rooms. The front joystick controls horizontal and vertical lens shift as you move it and it only takes a few minutes to size, centre and focus the image.