As a rule, video projectors are the best choice when it comes to playing movies and other video content, while data projectors excel at displaying PowerPoint and other business presentations. The Canon LV-8320, which retails at £950 (but you can pick it up for around £750 online), bends this rule. This business projector produced a decent performance when it came to our data image tests, but possessed surprisingly good video quality as well. Its audio isn't up to the same standard you’d expect from an entertainment projector, but the LV-8320 is definitely worth considering if your business or classroom presentations include video content.
The LV-8320 is an LCD-based projector. It has a rated brightness of 3,000 lumens, and a native WXGA (1,280 x 800) resolution, at a 16:10 aspect ratio that's compatible with many laptops.
The projector is silver coloured, with rounded corners. At the lens are focus and zoom (1.6x) rings. The device measures 350 x 280 x 100mm (WxDxH). It weighs 3.4kg, which means that this projector is portable, though a little larger than you may want to carry around regularly. However, it does come with a soft carrying case.
The LV-8320 has a standard selection of ports, which you’d expect to see in a contemporary data projector. We’re talking an ethernet port, two VGA (one of which doubles as component video), RS232, two audio-in jacks (one of which can serve as a mic jack) and an audio-out. Its video ports also include component, S-Video, plus an HDMI port, which last year's Canon LV-8225 lacked. It’s also worth noting that the LV-8320 is slightly larger and heavier than the LV-8225 (the latter weighs bang on 3kg).
Enough about the specs, let’s move on to the actual testing. Firing up the DisplayMate suite, data image quality proved suitable for most business and classroom uses. Text proved itself to be average in terms of readability. Most colours seemed reasonably true, although one issue that I came across was tinting. Bright areas sometimes showed a slight yellow tint, and light greys often bore a greenish tint which was significant enough to be distracting at times. It was less prominent in High Contrast mode than in Standard or Presentation modes, but still visible. I'd hesitate to use this projector in situations where exact levels of colour accuracy are of paramount importance.
However, video proved to be a pleasant surprise, better than average for a data projector, and indeed good enough to show lengthy clips as part of a presentation. You could even use this device for movies, although you'd best sit close to the projector or employ an external sound system, as the audio from the one 10W speaker is on the faint side and not of particularly good quality.
As an LCD projector, the LV-8320 is blessedly immune from the distracting rainbow effect that plagues many DLP projectors. Also, its lamp is relatively long-lasting, and is rated at 5,000 hours when used in Quiet (aka Eco) mode. In Standard mode, lamp life is a more typical 3,000 hours. However, its bulb life pales in comparison with some projectors on the market today, such as those using a hybrid LED/laser light source, with LED lamps, which are designed to run for more like 20,000 hours.
All in all, the Canon LV-8320 is priced a little on the high side for a data projector of its capabilities. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a likeable enough proposition, though, particularly given the unit’s surprisingly good video quality for a data projector. That said, I'd like it a bit better if the LV-8302’s data images were more consistently tint-free.
Canon has produced an interesting little business projector here - it copes with presentations admirably, but also manages to perform impressively when it comes to movies or video content. If you were thinking of watching blockbuster films, however, be warned that the single speaker sound is weak.
Other niggle include its size and weight, which are a little high for truly portable use, while it also suffers from some tinting issues. Otherwise, though, this projector is a solid offering from Canon, if a touch on the pricey side.
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