Sony VPL-PX41: boardroom style and networking
The Sony VPL-PX41 projector makes a stylish and networkable addition to any conference room, and though it displays smooth video and accurate colors, its lack of brightness and high $6,150 price detract from its overall appeal. Most users will be better served by the less expensive and far more portable Dell 5100MP.
As is the case with many network-ready projectors, the 17.3-pound Sony VPL-PX41 isn't built with travel in mind. The white-and-gray body measures 16.6 inches wide by 12.5 inches deep and 5 inches high and could pass for a small suitcase; it even has a foldout handle. It's more likely, however, to be lugged from conference room to conference room than carried coast to coast. If portability is important, the 8-pound Dell 5100MP is a more viable option.
Underneath the stylish plastic casing is a trio of three relatively large 0.99-inch LCD imaging panels. As with most high-end projectors, the VPL-PX41 has native XGA resolution but can also accept additional resolutions ranging up to UXGA. It's capable of putting a 25-foot image onscreen.
Though it lacks motorized focus, lens tilt, and zoom capabilities, making adjustments on the VPL-PX41 is fairly easy. It features a manual 1.3X optical zoom; the manual zoom and focus rings both surround the lens, allowing little finger room for adjustments. Most projectors place the menu control buttons on top for easy access, but Sony puts the VPL-PX41's control panel on the left side near the connectors. This set of 12 small buttons includes one for navigating the projector's onscreen menu--a task impeded by this unorthodox location. Most users will no doubt opt instead for the remote control, which features all the menu control buttons, including a prominent set for managing a PowerPoint slide show.