HP spotlights lightweight projectors

Focusing on products instead of merger talk, Hewlett-Packard will launch on Monday two lightweight digital projectors.

Targeted at mobile professionals, both products are scheduled to begin shipping April 15. The HP xb31 will carry an estimated retail price of $3700; the sb21 will sell for $2500.

The products represent HP's first foray into the burgeoning mobile projector market. Compaq, whose merger with HP is pending, already markets a line of lightweight professional projectors.

"The digital projector market is one of the fastest-growing areas in IT right now, with a 20 percent growth rate," says Stephen Brown, manager for digital projection and imaging operations at HP. It's a $4 billion annual market, and HP has decided it is time to bring its talents to the table, he says.

"We have a huge strength in imaging and image science," he says. Combined with the company's "deep understanding of optics" and its knack for notebook products, HP expects to fast become a contender in the mobile projector business, he adds.

Brightness Counts

The xb31 projector weighs in at 3.5 pounds and includes a 150-watt lamp rated to produce 1500 ANSI lumens, which HP claims is best in class.

Most mobile projectors rate between 700 and 1500 ANSI lumens, the industry-standard measure of light output. A 700-lumen projector is adequate for use in a small room with the lights down. A 1200- to 1500-lumen model, on the other hand, is suitable for use in large rooms with an office's low, ambient lighting.

The xb31 uses Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing technology, and has an 1800 to 1 contrast ratio that offers a stunningly clear image, he says.

The xb31 projector also offers a 1024-by-768 XGA resolution, an optical zoom lens, a projector range of 36 feet, and an adjustable image size of 28 to 295 inches (diagonal).

The most likely buyer of the xb31 is an executive who wants a top-notch image from a projector they can move from office to office within a building, Brown says.

Smaller, Lighter

HP's sb21 makes its svelte sibling look chubby. Weighing in at a mere 2.2 pounds and sporting dimensions of just 8 by 5.5 by 2 inches, Brown says it fits in the palm of his outstretched hand. HP claims the unit's size is best in class, although Plus Lightware offers a 2-pound projector.

The sb21 uses a 120-watt lamp that produces 1000 ANSI lumens. (Plus Lightware's product produces a lesser 700 ANSI lumens). The HP projector offers a maximum of 800-by-600 SVGA resolution, includes a digital zoom feature, a projector range of 36 feet, and an image size of 25 to 300 inches. It also uses TI's DLP technology and offers 1800 to 1 contrast.

The sb21 should attract a user who's on the road more, traveling from client to client. The projector is so small, Brown says, that "it almost fits in the pocket of a notebook carrying case."

The xb31 and sb21 share a host of features, including automatic image synchronization, auto image resizing, optimization for use with HP OmniBook 6000- and 500-series notebooks, and wireless remote controls.

Both projectors also include a two-year limited warranty.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Mainelli

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?