So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- High quality image, competitive price, low noise operation, high contrast ratio, 3 LCD configuration, HDMI input
- Lacks high brightness
Perhaps the best projector available at the moment in terms of price, quality and features.
Price$ 3,299.00 (AUD)
We have been blown away with past Panasonic projectors such as the PT-AE700 and its successor, the AE900, provides all that the previous model was capable of and more. The AE900 has had an upgrade, sporting an increase of contrast ratio of 5500:1, a higher brightness of 1100 ANSI lumens, 2X optical zoom as well as a learning remote control. The result of all this is an impressive projector with a very competitive RRP, capable of producing some of the best visuals we have seen yet.
The design is very similar to that of the AE700, although it is slightly larger in size at 335 x 270 x 95mm and 3.6 Kg. One significant difference is the placement of the heat exhaust, being placed at the front of the unit. This allows users to position the projector on a bookshelf without worrying about heat issues. There is a set of controls on top of the unit which gives access to the internal menu system, which can also be accessed through the learning remote control. For users not familiar with learning remotes, they are remote controls which can be programmed to function with many devices. By pointing and executing a command from another remote, Panasonic's remote can 'learn' the function and store/assign it to one of its own buttons. With a quick examination of the included manual, we were able to assign a DVD players control and a set-top box control to Panasonic's remote.
The AE900 accepts a variety of Hi-Def inputs such as HDMI and component inputs. It also has ports for VGA, S-Video, composite and the European standard SCART connector. This provides ample connectivity for most users, and we found no problems hooking up any of our Hi/Low-Def components. Once plugged in, we were on our way to an optimized image within a few button presses. The brightness of the projected image isn't as intense as we have seen with projectors such as Epson's EMP-TW600 , although it is capable of producing a comfortably viewable image with some general ambient lighting present. Image adjustment options such as noise reduction, contrast, brightness and colour temperature are all very helpful in optimizing the image.
Once set up, we found the image qualities to be one of a kind. The Panasonic AE900 uses a 3-LCD configuration, which of course dismisses possibilities of any rainbow effect (as present in DLP systems) and the dot pitch is low enough that we could not notice any signs of the flyscreen effect. The colours were well expressed, although appeared washed out at the largest throw size of 150". The most comfortable viewing experience was found at 120", which is a very reasonable projection size, although for the best viewing experience, we do recommend that user's project in a dim lit or completely isolated environment.
The advertised contrast ratio of 5500:1 is one of the highest we have seen. We were able to confirm this with the projectors ability to clearly render dark scenes, showing many a shade of black in movie scenes which we had previously never seen.
Our expectation of Panasonic's projector range has always been high, and once again they have managed to produce a projector which raises the bar. We were impressed with all areas of the projector but the brightness. The upshot: With unmatched image quality and a competitive price, Panasonic's AE900 is hard to beat.
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