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Hands-on Gear Review
ViewSonic PJD5155 Review
Price: $340 List | $299.99 at Amazon
Pros: Bright lamp, inexpensive
Cons: Loud fan, not HD, fuzzy text
Bottom line: Can't match HD models, but provides a decent presentation machine at a low price
The PJD5155 is an inexpensive projector with a very bright lamp that is well suited for presentations in well lit rooms. It has a bigger body than most models in its class, making it much less portable than its competitors. It also has one of the loudest fans we encountered. Its relatively low resolution makes it a poor choice for home theaters. However, for many people these shortcomings will be erased by its relatively low price. If you don't care about portability and don't mind a loud fan, this is a great and inexpensive conference or class room projector.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The table above compares the the Viewsonic PJD5155's overall performance in our testing to that of the other projectors we put through the wringer. Below we go into the nitty gritty of how the Viewsonic PJD5155 performed in each one of our individual tests.
The PJD5155 has the obvious drawback of SVGA resolution. This means text and images looked noticeably grainy when compared to a 1080p high definition model. This put it out of the running for a high image quality score right off the bat. Ultimately it scored a 4. This is slightly better than the worst performing model, which scored a 3, but not even in the same league as the top performing model, which scored a 9. The PJD5155 had a decent contrast ratio, often rendering colors that looked rich and had depth. However, it often added a red hue to bright landscape scenes, and added a blue hue to bright indoor scenes. The software of the PJD5155 seemed to have trouble when rendering slides with white backgrounds. Sometimes they looked very white, other times they had an overpowering red glow. These flaws make are likely dealbreakers if you're looking to impress potential investors, but more than adequate for sharing information with your peers and students, and maybe even for the occasional, improptu movie night.
Ease of Use
The PJD5155 was one of the bottom scorers in the ease of use category. It scored a 5 in a metric that had scores ranging from 5 to 7. The PJD5155 weighs only 4.6 pounds. Despite its diminutive weight the PJD5155 utilizes the same housing of its much heftier sibling, the ViewSonic PJD7720. This makes the PJD5155 the largest SVGA model we tested, and consequently the least portable. The front leg adjusts via a screw with a large thread. This makes both large and fine scale adjustments a breeze. The rear legs, however, are not adjustable. This can be a huge annoyance if you're setting the projector on an unlevel surface as you'll need to get creative to make the image level. We can tell you from experience that a projector with a bunch of cardboard shimmed under one corner doesn't exactly exude an air of professionalism. The focus and zoom knobs both feel smooth and sturdy. The zoom is only 1.1X, giving you relatively little flexibility in image size. Vertical keystoning is adjusted by convenient, dedicated buttons on both the projector body and the remote control. The remote control itself is straightforward and makes it easy to navigate the onscreen menu.
The PJD5155 was one of the brighter models we tested. Our light meter measured it at 2459 lumens. This is a fair bit less than the manufacturer's claim of 3300, but still put it in the upper echelon of brightness. Ultimately it earned an 8 on our brightness test. This is just below the top score of 9 and significantly better than the bottom score of 4. This brightness often allowed the PJD5155 slices through the onslaught of ambient light and project bright graphs with vividly colored bars and true white backgrounds. However, this only happened about half the time. The other half of the time those bright white backgrounds would confuse the PJD5155's software and render an overly red image that looked like it'd been pelted with tomatoes. Again, this flaw could be embarrasing in a high stakes presentation, but it's no big deal in a classroom or showing slides to your colleagues.
The PJD5155 fan is incessant, seems to always be on the high setting, and produces a louder whir than all but one of the fans we encountered in our testing. It scored a 3 in the fan noise test, just above the bottom score of 2, but light years away from the top score of 9. Some people may be able to tune this fan out, but most will at least notice it. If you're sensitive to sound at all this is not the model for you.
The PJD5155 lists for $360, but at the time of this writing can easily be found for a bit less than that. It definitely has some flaws, but with this low price we still feel it's a great value.
The PJD5155 is far from perfect, but it offers all the power you need for slideshow presentations at an incredibly low price. If you want something bright for the classroom or for your small office's weekly media, this projector is a steal.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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