By WILLIAM GOH
With Ricoh's new projector you will have no difficulty displaying big pictures even in small rooms.
PROJECTORS are great because they are portable and yet they are still capable of displaying huge images.
However, they have their fair share of problems - for instance, to get the biggest picture possible, you'll require a fairly long room which isn't always practical.
It's lucky that short throw projectors were invented. These class of projectors don't require a huge distance to display large images.
Enter the Ricoh PJ WX4130N, an ultra short throw projector. It can achieve a screen of size of 48in from a distance of 11.7cm away from the projection surface.
Placing the projector close to the wall has other advantages - a presenter won't end up blocking the image accidentally by walking in front of it, for instance.
This model has a lot of handy features. The autofocus function will, as the name indicates, automatically focus the image on the wall. It can also compensate for slanted walls but takes a bit longer to adjust.
The display controls are standard but we found it a bit tedious to use the on-board buttons on the projector. Luckily, the wireless remote makes it easy to adjust most settings from the comfort of a couch.
All projectors work best in the dark and the Ricoh projector is no different - you will have to dim the lights to get the best image quality.
On the bright side, it starts up pretty fast for a projector. Most take about 30 seconds as the bulb needs to heat up sufficiently. The Ricoh shaves 10 seconds off the startup time which means it is ready before most computers boot up. With a minimum projecting distance of 11.7cm, it is easy to achieve huge images from the projector.
You get the standards set of ports including VGA and HDMI which should suit nearly all computers. It only comes with a VGA cable but we would have preferred a HDMI one as well because the port is fast becoming the preferred option for output for most laptops.
It has a maximum resolution of 1,280 x 800-pixels which is pretty standard and good enough for even watching 720p movies. A 1080p resolution would have been great but not really necessary for business presentations.
It also has a USB port for hooking up an external hard disk or thumbdrive. It can be used to view photos and videos which should come in handy in any presentation.
However, it is hobbled by limited support - the projector can only display JPEG pictures and MPEG4 videos. At least it should support more formats like TIFF images, PDF documents and MKV videos.
As the projector supports HDMI, it can accept both video and audio but that doesn't mean you can leave your speakers at home. The projector has a 2-watt mono speaker which is pretty loud and gets the job done but it isn't crystal clear. It is best to bring along a pair of good portable speakers if you plan to play a video.
On top of having a wide range of video inputs, it also has a network port and built-in WiFi. Once connected to a network, everyone can take turns using the projector without having to hook up their laptop directly to it.
It, however, requires you to get your hands a little dirty - you will have to install drivers and configure your computer to work with the projector.
But once it's up and running, it's very useful and pretty cool.
You can even use an iPad to control your presentation once you install the Ricoh app.
For a portable projector, the Ricoh is a little on the heavy side - it weighs 3kg. It comes with a nice carrying bag but the weight will still get you down.
If you are looking for a feature-packed projector then the Ricoh PJ WX4130N projector could be your answer.
It starts up fast, is sufficiently bright, has an ultra short throw projection and a very handy autofocus function. Also, for the times when you need to quickly view JPG photos and MP4 movies, it has a USB port for hooking up thumbdrives.
A network port and built-in WiFi capability also means that the projector could easily be shared which is handy in a business meeting.
All in all, the Ricoh projector is great for business use as long as you don't mind the price tag of RM6,689.
Pros: Ultra short throw; compact; handy autofocus function; network sharing; built-in WiFi capability.
Cons: Heavy; pricey.
Ultra short throw projector
Resolution: WXGA (1,280 x 800-pixels)
Brightness: 2,500 lumens
Contrast Ratio: 2,500:1
Speakers: Built-in 2-watt mono
Other Features: Auto keystone correction, blackboard mode, closed captioning, economy mode, key lock, mute, password protection, wireless remote control, network port, built-in WiFi
Dimensions (W x D x H): 257 x 144 x 221mm
Review unit courtesy of Ricoh Malaysia Sdn Bhd, 1-300-88-8228