It’s been a while since we've reviewed anything by Sharp, let alone a projector. This respectable Japanese brand specializes in LCDs, and has a major unit that rolls huge volumes of panels. But currently we are not talking about LCDs, it’s the other technology that shares the throne in the projector realm: DLP technology. We have the latest model by Sharp, called the PG-F320W.
This piece of work is a huge product with a sizeable foot print, faraway from the portable category. The chassis is metallic silver on the top, with dark gray on the sides and bottom panel. The finish is smooth and mildly lustrous on the silver part, and regular matte plastic finish on the rest. These side panels are grilled and expose the cooling fan. The lens pops out from the front left side of panel, and has concentric aluminum colored dials around it for focus and manual zoom.
There are 2 typical screws for height adjustment, one on the centre of the front edge, and one in the corner. There is also the regular mechanical lever for the front screw, to push it down for height adjustment. Transparent glass plastic lens cover is included, one that can be screwed on the lens. It’s not attached to anything and comes off totally, so losing it is possible. The top panel is not bare like models these days, instead the buttons are huge and centrally arranged. There is a colored power switch, along with four directional arrow push buttons ubiquitously placed. Also, the product comes with a small remote, with regular small round buttons powered by 2 AA batteries.
This model is a DLP projector, with a native resolution of WXGA (1280x800). Thus it can be termed as HD ready, or 720p capable projector, though it actually conforms to general data projection parameters. (The aspect ratio is 16:10.) The max it can go to is 1600x1200. Brightness is rated high at 3000 lumens, while contrast too is healthy at 2000:1 native (Full On/off). The lamp life is 2000 hours in normal mode, and there are included speaker which manage about 2 watts of RMS power. The included connections are one DVI (with HDCP) one VGA (mini D-sub), one S-video (mini Din 4 pin), 2 audio ins (one 3.5 mm and one RCA L+R) and finally old fashioned composite video(RCA). Manually we can zoom till 1.20:1, while throw distance is 1.3m - 8.8m, image Size is maximum 762 cm.
We plugged in our PC via DVI, and embarked on the arduous task of getting the picture right. This was where we encountered the menu of the projector, a simple one with individual settings for RGB, brightness, contrast and 5 presets out of which Movie and sRGB were workable. We selected sRGB and started tweaking. A couple of things to note in this stage was the ease in focusing it right. I found it quite a breeze to get a sharp image, though spatial position was not that simple, as the unit displays the image initially on a slight tilt to the left, and this is definitely the projector’s fault as our surface is dead flat. Finally we did get a fine large 155-inch diagonal screen, from about 5.7 m throw distance. I have to say that this projector can get quite a large image, and mainly the higher resolution of 1600x1200 makes a difference when we blow up the image to 150 plus inches.
After this we were thoroughly impressed again in the brightness contrast department, as we ran our black moving bars test, and also 256 level grayscale test. Here the projector did not hiccup to display extreme low blacks, that too with detail. Even the other end of dynamic range, the high whites were neutral. 6500K neutral point was maintained more or less throughout the grayscale, of course with a few imperfections here and there.
Next, we started watching some 720p HD downloaded trailers and films like 300 and Ratatouille to figure out the quality, and this is the verdict. The sharpness and detail aspects of the projector are very nice, we got a distinct image with well defined borders, and especially icons and programs for presentation looked nice. Our pictures had blackbars as the native ratio is 16:10, but the colors are so deep that we were glued to it without distraction. Of course, only when it is pitch dark, can we get a good enough picture. This projector is not bright enough to play in a lit-up room, and since it is a data projector, I expected it to be a bit brighter in this respect.
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