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Mitsubishi XD510U

May 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer

Affordable, low-maintenance projector balances brightness and color to fit business and education environments.

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In the projector industry, we're all so familiar with RGB primary colors that it's sometimes a little jarring to think about producing additive colors any other way. Yet RGB is just one imperfect color model that ultimately cannot produce all of the colors we see in nature. That's particularly true when there's a competing goal of producing images that are bright enough to cut through the ambient light in a typical office environment.

Mitsubishi's new XD510U uses a DLP-based image engine, Texas Instruments BrilliantColor technology, and a new RGBWYC six-segment color wheel to produce surprisingly good color while still achieving the brightness that business settings require. Even still, it remains an affordable, low-maintenance projector that should appeal to the broad business and education communities. The XD510U has a MSRP price of $2,495 โ€” although I've seen it for less than $1,000 online.

The XD510U is the middle child in a new family of three 500-series XGA business projectors, with a fourth SVGA stepsibling also in the mix. Altogether, they range in brightness from 2200 lumens (for the $895 MAP XD500U and the $649 MAP SD500U) to the 3000-lumen XD520U (price TBA). All projectors in the series use the same 6.5lbs. white chassis, are filter-free, and have a top-loading lamp replacement for easy, continuing operation.

To keep them affordable, all 500 series projectors have the same basic business-connection options. There are two 15-pin VGA inputs and one 15-pin passthrough for a local monitor; these can accept component video with a splitter cable. There are also the obligatory S-Video and composite jacks, with stereo RCA jacks for the video inputs and a stereo mini-jack for the data inputs. An RS-232 port and a USB port are also provided for control.

The onscreen menus are typical Mitsubishi โ€” although there are a few noteworthy additions that leverage the new BrilliantColor implementation. Smartly, Mitsubishi goes in both directions with the technology by making it easier for the novice to quickly adjust image settings to different room conditions, while at the same time making it deep enough to take advantage of better color if you're willing to work a little at it.

First, there's a Wall Screen option that lets you choose the wall color to accommodate awkward, less-than-ideal business projection surfaces. Choices include beige, light blue, light green, pink, blackboard, and whiteboard, plus โ€œoffโ€ for when you do actually have a real projection screen. That range is admittedly limited, but you can fine-tune the intensity of each setting using a 1 to 5 scale. The XD510U's color-processing power adjusts the color temperature and color/tint settings automatically.

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