While the PJ358 (a cunning matte black re-branding of Hitachi’s CPX1) doesn’t exactly cause a revolution in overall size or footprint – bar a relatively slimline design – it’s less than half the weight of most standard projectors, and that’s a noticeable difference.
Cleverly, there’s no need for any external adapter; a standard three-pin cable is all that’s required, ensuring that projector, leads and all weigh little more than two kilograms, a fully acceptable weight to hang off a shoulder. Compare this to your laptop and you’ll almost certainly find this far less dense. There’s a padded carry bag included, which provides adequate protection against scratches and light bumps, but we must raise a few concerns over the lens. With no dedicated lens cover, and the precariously exposed position afforded to it by the otherwise slimline case, that most pricey of components seems a little unprotected. You’d be a little upset if you scratched it.
But these are mere niggles. Realistically, if you’re in the market for a mobile projector, you’ll want it light and you’ll want it bright. You might even want to leave your laptop at home, which is where the PJ358’s built-in USB port comes in handy. Reformat your slides as JPG files, pop them on a FAT flash drive, and you can present PC-free. Not bad. There’s a pair of VGA inputs (so multiple presenters can easily share the same projector), inputs for composite and S-Video, and audio in and out. What more could you ask for, bar DVI for slightly more clarity?
Brightness isn’t an issue; 2,000 lumens is enough for the output to be seen in a well-lit room, but only just, and the colour definition is more than up to scratch thanks to the DLP processor at its heart.
The controls are well placed and the menus simple to use; we didn’t feel that any important features were hidden away. Automatic vertical keystone correction means it’s quick to set up too, and the reasonable throw distance helps it suit a wide range of rooms.
While there’s nothing strikingly outstanding about the whole bundle, we have to give the PJ358 full ‘does what it says on the tin’ marks. Plus it comes at a very reasonable price and is far easier to carry around than a massive TFT…