Hitachi CP-X260

Hitachi CP-X260

Pros: Many inputs, good sound quality and color accuracy

Cons: Large unit, expensive, heavy

Price: $2,795

Features: A

Brightness: C+

Color quality: B+

Portability: B-

Value: B

Speakers, especially ones you can hear, tend to add weight, which is why most makers of portable projectors tend to shy away from them. The one inside the CP-X260 is a single-watt model, so while it won't shake up the meeting in the next room, you can hear it pretty well. Keep in mind, though, that if sound is an important criterion, the Dell 1800MP has a 2-watt speaker in a lighter model.

The larger 12-by-9.8-inch Hitachi offers several input ports, including component video, normal video, S-video, a LAN port and RGB analog. It's odd that there is no digital video input, though maybe you won't miss it.

The CP-X260 also features the best and easiest-to-use menu controls in the review. Using the remote, you can do just about anything, including tell the projector to log into a DHCP server or assign it a static IP address. All the menus are highly intuitive. For example, under the sound menu you can set individual controls for how to handle sound for each of the various inputs. Perhaps you want the sound to be loud during the S-Video portion of your presentation, but muted when showing images from the RGB input. All this can be preset.

For a larger unit, the CP-X260 was not exceptionally bright. It produced a 610-lumen image at 10 feet, with almost no drop-off at the corners (580 lumens). At that brightness level, you will need to dim the lights to display a great presentation.

In our video tests for things like color stepping and registration error checking, the CP-X260 was very good. Greens and blues came out very vivid, but red was a bit orange-like and not as detailed. Text was crisp and easy to read down to about 10-point size. Below that, problems with the unit's ability to display grays and blacks that appeared too light began to take a toll on text projection.

It's fairly obvious that the CP-X260 is optimized for video, though it does an adequate job with static images as long as the room you're working in is not too bright. Still, for a 6.6-pound unit, we would have liked to find a bit more raw power. It's a good unit if you work primarily with video, especially highly detailed component video, and in an environment where you can close the blinds and darken the lights.

Hitachi America Ltd., San Diego, (619) 591-5413, www.hitachi.us/digitalmedia

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