Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Tiny, good image quality
- Loud fan, large images display slowly through USB
Toshiba's miniature TDP-P9 offers a portable solution for business presentations, with the experience only slightly hindered by a loud fan.
Price$ 2,640.00 (AUD)
Toshiba's TDP-P9 projector is targeted at mobile business professionals, weighing just over a kilogram. Combined with a tiny footprint, it's one of the most portable projectors we've tested. Image quality is crisp and sharp, with only a slight flaw in colour reproduction.
The projector is simple to set up, with a rubberised lens cap that comes off easily and stays attached via a short cable — ideal for a portable system. The unit's adjustable spring-loaded front foot makes vertical adjustment quick and painless. A VGA port as well as composite and S-Video are offered, and the unit will allow separate connections to all of these simultaneously.
Picture quality from the P9 is quite good; it's on par with other portable models we've tested. Once the picture was manually focused, we found that the picture was consistently crisp and clear, though colour reproduction was a little bland. The projector has a 1024x768 native resolution, though it handles higher and lower resolutions acceptably with only a little fuzziness. The projector's default aspect ratio is 4:3, but it is able to stretch or crop the image to 16:9 if necessary. With a laptop connected through VGA, the P9 displayed the Windows desktop with no visible issues. The image was quite bright on default settings, with text that was sharp and easy to read. Graphics and simple images were displayed cleanly without any colour bleeding.
When looking at full-colour images such as photos, it struggled a little and subtle colours were lost. The images also seemed to lack contrast, with shadowed areas too dark to make out the fine detail. This is compensated for by a wide range of adjustments in the menu, with three separate colour and brightness modes. We found the standard one provided the best compromise between image brightness and colour reproduction. Additionally, there is some scope for adjusting contrast, brightness, sharpness and colour temperature manually.
Toshiba rates the P9's lamp life at 3000 hours using its economy mode, which is adequate for a portable model. Even in economy mode the projector was able to display a bright picture in a well-lit room — essential for business presentations. The unit also offers a small amount of zoom, which was useful for fine-tuning the image to the size of a projection screen. Minimum throw distance is 1.6 metres, resulting in a picture of just over a metre in size. No screen-door effect was visible even from close viewing, and we couldn't see any noticeable rainbow effect occurring.
Under normal operating conditions, the fan is audible but quiet enough to ignore. However, when the projector was changed to a high brightness mode, or if the fan was manually set to high speed, the noise became quite loud and distracting. The automatic fan control was adequate, with warm air consistently expelled during its operation. The unit has a built-in two Watt speaker with a 3.5mm audio jack, which will suffice for audio playback during presentations, if not much else.
The projector also comes with a USB port, and it is able to support JPEG and MPEG playback. Low resolution, DVD-quality videos played without any issues in our tests, though high-definition ones refused to load. Picture display was also simple to navigate, and often worked seamlessly. Displaying images around the native resolution was trouble-free, taking only a few seconds to load each time. Moving up to higher resolution pictures — around eight megapixels, the size that most new cameras capture at — caused the projector to pause for up to 30 seconds before an image was displayed.
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