ViewSonic PJD6235 review

Pros

  • Bright, with a 3,000-lumen rating
  • Highly portable
  • High quality data image
  • Long lamp life

Cons

  • Rainbow artifact issues with video
  • Exceedingly low volume

If you need a portable projector with XGA (1024 x 768) resolution, the ViewSonic PJD6235 is an obvious candidate. Light enough to carry easily, at 2.1kg, and bright enough to stand up to fairly high levels of ambient light, with a 3,000-lumen brightness rating, it also delivers high quality data images and a long lamp life. Add in the LAN connector that lets you control it over a network, and it's even worth considering for permanent installation. Either way – portable or permanent – it's a potentially good choice.

The PJD6235 clearly outdoes its competition in some ways. It’s light and bright compared to rivals – although sometimes brightness isn’t exactly a straightforward matter when you’re comparing LCD and DLP-based models. Three-chip LCD projectors offer the same colour brightness as white brightness. DLP projectors like the PJD6235, on the other hand, usually have lower colour brightness than white brightness, which can affect both the brightness of colour images and colour quality.

That's important to keep in mind, because it complicates brightness comparisons between the two technologies. It even complicates comparisons between DLP projectors. Just because the Dell S320wi has the same brightness rating as the PJD6235, for example, doesn't mean its colour brightness is the same. (For more on colour brightness, see our article entitled Colour brightness: What it is, and why it's important).

The basics

The PJD6235 offers a suitably small size to go along with the light weight, measuring 265 x 220 x 85mm (WxDxH). However, ViewSonic doesn't include a carrying case with it, so if you need one be sure to consider the added cost when you compare the price to other models that include a case.

Setup is standard. Plug in the power cord and appropriate cables, and adjust the manual zoom and focus. The zoom is only 1.1x, which doesn't give you much flexibility for how far you can put the projector from the screen for a given size image, but any zoom is better than none.

Connectors for image sources include the usual HDMI port for a computer or video source, VGA ports for computers, and component video, plus S-Video and Composite video ports. Missing from the list is a USB A port for reading files from a memory stick. And note that the LAN port I mentioned earlier is strictly for controlling the projector over a network.

Image quality

Data image quality is one of the PJD6235's strong points, with the projector doing a good job on our standard suite of DisplayMate tests. Colour balance was excellent in all modes, with suitably neutral greys at all levels from black to white, and colours in most modes were suitably eye catching, despite a slightly mustard colour for yellow.

More important for data images is the fact that I saw little to no pixel jitter with an analogue connection even on screens designed to bring out jitter. The projector also did a good job with fine detail, with both black text on white and white text on black being crisp and highly readable at sizes as small as 6.8 points.

Video image quality is obviously limited by the native resolution, with the projector needing to scale HD video to fit in the available pixels on the chip. On the plus side, I didn't see any posterisation (colours changing suddenly where they should change gradually) and the projector also did a good job with shadow detail (details based on shading in dark areas) even with test clips that tend to cause problems.

One potentially key issue for video is rainbow artifacts – with light areas breaking up into little red-green-blue rainbows. These are always a potential problem for single chip DLP projectors because of the way the projectors create colours. I didn't see the artifacts often enough in data images to consider them a problem, but they showed up regularly enough in video images that anyone who sees them easily is likely to find them annoying. If you're sensitive to them, or are concerned that someone in your audience might be, this limits the PJD6235 to showing short video clips at most.

A less critical shortcoming is the underpowered audio. The 2 Watt speaker delivers acceptable quality for presentations, but the volume isn't enough to fill a small conference room. If you need audio, plan on using an external sound system.

Very much on the plus side for the PJD6235 is a longer than usual lamp life at 4,500 hours in Normal mode and 6,000 hours in Eco mode. The replacement cost for the lamp is fairly typical, i.e. not cheap, but the long lamp life will still help keep the total cost of ownership down.

One other feature that demands a mention is support for 3D, with the HDMI 1.4a port letting you connect directly to a Blu-ray player or other video source for 3D. However, 3D video has the same issue with rainbow artifacts as 2D video, and in my tests, I needed to use 144Hz DLP-Link glasses to work with Blu-ray 3D at 24 frames per second. For games, both my old 120Hz glasses and the 144Hz glasses worked without problems.

Verdict

The PJD6235 delivers a potentially attractive balance of portability, brightness, and data image quality. If you need to show much video and are concerned about rainbow artifacts, you'll be better off with an LCD projector. But if video isn't an issue, the PJD6235 delivers good data image quality in a lighter, more portable, format – and that can make it a more than reasonable choice.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

ViewSonic PJD6235

Video Inputs

Component, Composite, HDMI, S-Video

Computer Interfaces

VGA, Ethernet

Wireless Connectivity

No

Native Resolution

1024 x 768

Rated Contrast Ratio

15,000:1

Engine Type

DLP

Type

Business

Aspect Ratio

4:3

Rated Brightness

3000 ANSI lumens