ViewSonic PJ658

ViewSonic PJ658

Pros: Perfect for video, highly affordable

Cons: Heavy, not very portable

Price: $815

Features: B

Brightness: B-

Color quality: A+

Portability: B-

Value: A

The PJ658 was not simply the only DLP in this review to get a perfect score on the DisplayMate color registration test. It was the first DLP we've tested to ever achieve such a feat. The color registration test is one of three we use to determine suitability for video display.

A small grid pattern is displayed, then parts of the grid change color, either from red to blue or red to green. A projector that can handle video well will show the changing colors on top of one another.

A poor video projector will display the second color off to one side. Most projectors can get close to perfect, but the PJ658 gets all the way there.

The PJ658 also boasted good color stepping, in which colors slowly cycle through 256 variations. It didn't do well with the color blue, however, which seemed artificially enhanced to appear extra vivid. This fact provided another clue that the PJ658 was optimized for video, because blue is an extremely important color in video streams.

Brightness was good at the center of our test image (700 lumens) with only a five-lumen dropoff in each corner. That translates into a stable, uniform image well suited to video.

The PJ658 displayed average text quality that appeared crisp and clean down to 12-point size. But it produced the worst gray field in the review and some of the fine details in various images were a bit fuzzy.

The unit itself is a bit heavy, at 6.6 pounds, and large, at 12 inches long and 9.8 inches wide. Despite its heft, we were surprised the PJ658 had only four input ports: two RGB, one S-video and one standard video. As with all the projectors in this review but one, we would have liked to see a DVI port in there.

One nice feature is that the projector is constantly scanning the screen and adjusting the keystone aspect automatically. If you move the projector, it only takes a few seconds for it to adjust to its new orientation. This capability makes setup a breeze.

We probably wouldn't purchase the PJ658 to display standard business-type graphics, but for any video application, it's hard to find a better unit. The inclusion of a DVI port would have helped, but at the government price of $815, you can't beat it for video display.

ViewSonic Corp., Walnut, Calif., (888) 881-8781, www.viewsonic.com

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