Hitachi CPX1 full review

Hitachi’s CPX1 looks suspiciously like the Viewsonic PJ358, and in fact it turns out that this is a rebadged model with very similar performance and only a few differences. The main attraction is the weight, which is just 1.7kg, making this one of the lightest projectors you can buy. Although the Hitachi is wider than most budget portables it offers two feet instead of a single central foot, which takes a little longer to set up but makes it easier to level the unit.

From the outside, the Hitachi logo and silver finish create a more polished impression than the black and basic look of the Viewsonic. Otherwise the styling is identical, with a hefty front grille and rather plasticky menu buttons. Ergonomics are middling, with a two-way menu set offering a basic mode for simple tweaks and an expert mode for those who want more control. In spite of the complexity it’s fairly easy to find your way around, and although there’s some learning required to start with, once you’ve spent time with the options they should become second nature.

At the back there are two SVGA inputs, one with component video support via an optional adaptor. There’s also support for a USB stick, so you can save your project to a pocket-sized medium and display it without a laptop. Composite and S-Video are also available, as well as audio in and out – although as with most projectors, if you’re using sound you’ll need an external speaker system for best results.

Video performance is mixed. The best feature is the short-throw lens, which will produce a 60-inch display at a distance of 1.5 metres. As an LCD system, colour saturation is slightly better than average, but still not outstanding. LCDs projectors offer lower brightness and contrast specs than DLP models, so the quoted 2000 ANSI lumens and 500:1 contrast look better than you might expect. But even though there’s a Home Cinema mode, video performance isn’t smooth enough or bright enough to make the CPX1 a likely choice for home use. And for business use, this projector works best when ambient light is limited.

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