Viewsonic PJ258D (ViewDock)
- Excellent image quality, iPod dock, attractive design, good range of connections
- Some rainbow effect, iPod functionality is limited
If you are in the market for a good all-round portable projector, the Viewsonic PJ258D will certainly fit the bill.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
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The Viewsonic PJ258D is a portable DLP projector with a native resolution of 1024x768. Designed primarily with PC projection in mind, it also has support for Component video, 16:9 display and it also sports an iPod dock. Using the ViewDock, users who own a video iPod can watch videos and picture slideshows, or listen to music thanks to the integrated speakers.
To test the PJ258D we attached a DVD player via the Composite connection, a PC via the D-Sub connector and, of course, a video iPod via the ViewDock. High Definition resolutions (720p/1080i) are supported via a D-Sub to Component adapter, but this was not included in the model we reviewed.
Naturally, the first thing we tested was the ViewDock. Like many iPod accessories, the uses for the ViewDock are a little limited. We were expecting to insert the iPod and have its menu system suddenly appear on-screen, but this is not how the ViewDock works. To play a video you start the video on the iPod, set it to TV-out mode and then insert it into the dock. While being able to project iPod video is great in theory, the reality is less than pretty. iPod video is low resolution and meant to be played on a small screen. Projecting video at such low resolutions looks pixelated and blocky. This is not the fault of the projector though, but rather a limitation of the resolution of iPod video. However, if the novelty of being able to watch your iPod videos on a big screen appeals to you then you will be happy to know that the ViewDock also come with a remote control. This gives you the ability to control the volume as well as rewind and fast forward.
We were highly impressed with performance during DVD playback. Using the lobby scene from The Matrix, we found no noise, colour or contrast issues. We felt the image was a little dark but considering how crisp and clear it was overall, this wasn't a major problem. We also ran a series of still test images using the Digital Video Essentials DVD and found very few problems. There was a very slight magenta discolouration in the greyscale tests as well as some noise in low grey. However, considering the native resolution is 1024x768, this is most likely a product of interpolation and does since it does not affect the video performance it is negligible. While the projector is natively 4:3, there is a mode that will letterbox 16:9 content and we found no problems when using it for DVD playback.
To test the PC performance we connected to the projector via the D-Sub port at a desktop resolution of 1024x768. While the projector supports 1280x1024 via desktop compression, we felt it was best to test at the native resolution so as to avoid undue errors in the testing process. Using DisplayMate Video Edition we ran a series of intensive tests designed to uncover any image quality problems. The PC performance was top notch and the PJ258D passed all the tests with flying colours. The only problem is the presence of fairly severe rainbow effect due to the three segment colour wheel. While this is noticeable when watching video, it is more evident when viewing spreadsheets due to the lines on the screen.
Design, Connections, Speakers
The Viewsonic PJ258D is fairly small and compact and has a glossy piano black chassis. The lens sits to the right of the face of the unit and has both focus and zoom functionality. The top of the device is a little different to most projectors as there are no buttons. The ViewDock is the only slot on the top of the device with the function buttons situated on the rear instead. They are hard to see in the dark, but the function buttons are still easy to use and are not obstructed by any of the connection ports.
In addition to the function buttons, the rear of the device has connection ports for 15 pin D-Sub, Composite video, S-Video and audio in via a 3.5mm jack. Unfortunately, there is no audio out ports, so users are unable to play the audio from their iPod through an external device like speakers or a home theatre system. The integrated speakers do a good job with audio from the iPod with adequate sound quality but are far from brilliant. There is a lack of bass in the audio as well as limited treble range. However, they are still quite good for projector speakers.
If you are in the market for a good all-round portable projector, the Viewsonic PJ258D will certainly fit the bill. While the iPod dock is an interesting feature, it does not come without its limitations so you should really think about whether you need that functionality before you make your purchase.
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