Retro design of Sony projector hides advanced features

Box Score

The Sony projector accepts an Air Shot card for beaming presentations wirelessly from a distance.

J. Adam Fenster

When I opened the box of the Sony VPL-CX75 LCD projector, I thought there must have been a shipping mistake.

With its smooth white curves, the VPL-CX75 looked like a portable record player from the 1950s. The white power cord appeared to have come from a blender'not from one of the most advanced projectors the GCN Lab has tested.

Part of the design's charm is that the lens is hidden as part of the frame. And it's incredibly simple to use. You just hook up your input and push the power button.

Like magic, the lens-concealing door opens and the system checks all inputs before turning on the active one, which you can change with remote or onboard controls.

Ports for standard RGB input, S-Video, audio and cable are hidden behind doors that snap closed, and flush with the case, when not in use.

There's also a wireless port. Slide the Sony Air Shot wireless card into the projector and beam your presentations directly to it. A Sony Memory Stick port and a USB port let you hand-feed presentations, too.

The XGA resolution in native mode displays 1,024 by 768 pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio. At 10 feet from the projector, the GCN Lab measured a constant 800 lumens. In the corners, that dropped only very slightly to 760 lumens.

The projector has enough brightness for most lighting environments'even conference rooms that can't be completely darkened.

Sony put quite a lot of effort into reducing fan noise'it's only about 30 decibels. The included 1-watt speakers don't have to compete with the projector's background noise.

Although compact, the VPL-CX75 is not exactly portable. At 2.8 inches by 11.8 inches by 9.6 inches, it takes up a lot of room in a standard carry-on bag. And at 6.5 pounds, it's a little heavy.

But if you aren't certain of the lighting conditions where you will present, and you want to make a big splash, the VPL-CX75 is worth lugging around. If your presentation is error-free, save weight by leaving your notebook PC behind and just bring a memory stick or USB key drive.

For use within an office, the projector has the extra advantage of not needing a data cable. It will operate wirelessly from an IEEE 802.11b signal.

The long, thin remote is as stylish as the projector. The laser pointer still shoots out a red beam, but in a unique way. The top is clear plastic with an inch-long frosted tube through it. When the beam passes through the frosted tube, the entire top glitters. It's more like a Star Trek phaser than a remote control, but it works well and adds to the innovative design.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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