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On the plus side, a rating of 1400 ANSI lumens will cope in all but the brightest of ambient light conditions and for most presentations, 800 x 600 is a perfectly adequate level of detail. The image presented is sharply focussed and the DLP engine, allied with an integrated video scalar processor, means it handles video just as well as it does business presentations.
Also on the plus side is the bulb life of 3000 hours (4000 hours in eco mode), which is on the positive side of generous. Many brighter projectors will need their bulbs replacing earlier, and will ultimately cost you more money. A bulb replacement for the TDP-SW20 will cost around £177 (inc VAT).
A quick look at the rear of the projector reveals a bumper array of connections, although the lack of DVI is somewhat disappointing. Not only do you get a PC card slot for wireless connectivity, but also two D-SUB ports, an S-Video and composite video input too. You also get a computer monitor output plus a pair of 3.5mm audio jacks (input and output).
Again, however, it is not without its problems. The 1400 lumens rating means you’ll have to dim the lights if you want to display at anything near the maximum stated screen size (300in). And we found the display occasionally exhibited an odd shimmering effect in brighter areas of the image.
You’ll be getting the feeling by now that, in pretty much every respect, the TDP-SW20 is outgunned by its competitors in the levels of performance, specification and portability you get for your money.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that there’s anything major wrong with the TDP-SW20. It’s just that you don’t have to look very hard to find projectors boasting XGA resolution (1024 x 768) with higher brightness ratings for around the same money as this machine (£866.10 inc VAT). And many of them are a good deal more portable too.
Where the TDP-SW20 comes into its own is that it is just about the only projector in its price bracket that comes ready for wireless connection, and it’s this that will ultimately sway buyers one way or the other.
If you think about it hard enough, though, and take into consideration the limitations of wireless projection, you may well come to the same conclusion as we did: that it’s not really worth the sacrifice, even at such a low price.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network