GCN LAB REVIEW

Sharp PG-F255W

GCN LAB REVIEW: If you want to hook up your projector to a high-end desktop PC using a DVI cable to maximize the display properties, the PG-F255W is the only game in town.

Sharp Electronics’ PG-F255W is a good all-around performer that excels in a few areas but lags in others.

The unit weighs 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and is 11.5 inches wide and 11.2 inches long, which means it’s too big to truly be considered portable. Although its weight is not totally out of bounds, the fact that it’s 4.2 inches thick adds to its seemingly large size.

GCN LAB SCORECARD

Sharp PG-F255W

Pros: Only projector with DVI input, best fine-lines display in test history.
Cons: Colors are slightly off, a bit heavy to be considered portable.

Portability: B-
Features: A
Color accuracy: C+
Brightness: B+
Value: B-
Price: $1,495

That thickness facilitates a variety of ports — VGA, local-area network, monitor out, S-Video and USB. The PG-F255W is the only projector in this review with a Digital Visual Interface input, which means you can connect it to a desktop computer with a high-end video card just as easily as you can hook it to a laptop PC. Projectors started including DVI a few years ago but have since backed off because the laptop market didn’t follow suit.

In many cases, the extra quality offered by the DVI port is worth the investment. However, because we tested other projectors using VGA, we did the same with the PG-F255W.

Despite using the lower-end VGA interface, the PG-F255W scored extremely well on our fine-lines display test. It was perfect across the entire screen, without a pixel out of place. It was the first projector ever to get a perfect score for fine lines, and it is something to behold in that area. Other reviewers came into the lab to see what a perfect score looked like, and it was quite a show.

It’s no surprise that the PG-F255W also did well with text display. It rendered text clearly down to 6.8-point size — among the best in the review in that area as well.

Unfortunately, despite some fine-tuning, the colors were off in almost every area. Reds took on that tomato-soup glow common to projectors when the colors are not quite perfect, and greens were yellowish. Shades of blue, however, looked just about right.

The PG-F255W was one of the few projectors that did a perfect job with color registration, which, combined with accurate blues, makes it great for video.

It put 800 lumens on the screen in the middle of an image, with only a 60-lumen drop-off at the corners. It will work in most environments, but you probably need to at least dim the lights to get the most out of a presentation.

The $1,495 price tag is a bit steep compared with others in this review. However, if you want to hook up your projector to a high-end desktop PC with a DVI cable to maximize the display properties, the PG-F255W is the only game in town. And it’s a pretty good one.

Sharp Electronics, 800-237-4277, www.sharpusa.com

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