MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
A mid-level projector with a useful short-throw lens
- Easy setup for short-throw, networking support
- Can't be used over long distances, washed out colours in presentation mode
The EX20 from Toshiba is great for small rooms. It also has wireless connectivity — an unusual but useful feature in a projector.
Price$ 1,898.00 (AUD)
Wireless connectivity and a short-throw lens help the EX20, a mid-level projector from Toshiba, stand out from the crowd.
The projector itself has a matte black finish, accentuated by silver edging. Since its recommended position is up the front of a boardroom or hall, it has to look unobtrusive yet stylish; this is something the EX20 excels at. It's not particularly small or light; carrying it from presentation to presentation might prove tiring. Transport is easy, however, using the supplied bag that Toshiba bundles with the projector. The bag is large enough to comfortably fit the projector and all cables, as well as some A4-size documents or a small laptop.
Most of the standard connectivity options can be found on the rear of the projector, including S-Video and composite, two VGA inputs and a passthrough connector. Also on the rear is an Ethernet port for connection to a Windows Vista PC, as well as a USB slot for direct viewing of images. The unit has a single internal speaker, but volume levels would only be appropriate for a small room.
Toshiba has built the EX20 with its ESP Short-Throw technology, meaning that a wide-angle lens displays a very large image size when set up a short distance from a screen. In some ways this makes setting up the projector harder, as you'll need to find a flat surface close to the wall you're projecting onto. However, the advantage of ESP is that in a small conference or boardroom the EX20 is able to display a large, bright and crisp image.
While running, the projector is only faintly audible at close range, and it can't be heard at all from more than a few metres away. The controls are in the usual place on top of the unit and are easily accessible. They're set out in a circular format. After you've used them once you'll be able to navigate without any issues. On-screen menus are clear and functional. Changing settings is easy, whether using the keys on the projector body or the bundled remote control.
Toshiba rates the EX20's brightness at 2300 ANSI-standard lumens, which is standard for a business projector of this price. The image is easily bright enough for viewing in a dimly lit or dark room, and is also very capable when displaying images under direct fluorescent lights. A true-colour mode is included, which gives a boost to colour depth and richness but cuts away a significant amount of brightness.
We ran a range of image quality tests on the EX20, and it performed capably. At the projector's default resolution of 1024x768, simple graphs and charts were displayed cleanly and clearly, with colours displayed consistently across the screen. The default presentation mode has intensely bright whites; although the colours are slightly washed out, they're still acceptable for PowerPoint presentations. When changed from presentation mode to True Colour, photos and images are far more accurately displayed.
Toshiba's EX20 has another notable feature: wireless and wired networking are supported and are incredibly simple to set up. Once the software is installed on any Windows Vista laptop, a few clicks allow the laptop to wirelessly broadcast a quality image to the projector, which can be set to accept the signal automatically. Image quality was no different to what we saw through VGA, and no lagging or tearing was noticed on-screen when looking at PowerPoint presentations and graphs.
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