Good data image quality. Ultra-short throw. Long-lasting, mercury-free light source. Includes Wi-Fi adapter.
Does not include wall mount. Some rainbow artifacts in video.
- Bottom Line
The Casio XJ-UT311WN is a hybrid laser/LED data projector with an ultra-short throw distance, good data image quality, and very long lamp life.
The Casio XJ-UT311WN data projector ($1,500) is slightly dimmer and less expensive than the Casio XJ-UT351WN that we recently tested, and has just one HDMI port while the XJ-UT351WN has two. They both deliver very good data image quality, though not quite as good as the Epson PowerLite 585W WXGA 3LCD Projector, and should be able to handle most any typical presentation. The XJ-UT311WN has slightly better video quality, with a less pronounced rainbow effect than the XJ-UT351WN. If you do need a data projector that can also show longer video clips, the Epson PowerLite 585W—an LCD projector, which is free of rainbow artifacts—is a better choice, but for most classroom uses the XJ-UT311WN is a fine choice.
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LED and Laser Combined
Like the Casio XJ-UT351WN and the Epson 585W, the XJ-UT311WN is an ultra-short-throw projector with WXGA (1,280-by-800) native resolution. The XJ-UT311WN's 3,100 lumen-rated brightness matches its predecessor, the Casio XJ-UT310WN, and is a little short of the Epson 585W (3,300 lumens) and the XJ-UT351WN (3,500 lumens). The XJ-UT311WN uses Casio's LED/laser light engine, which produces red light with LEDs, blue with lasers, and green by shining blue laser light on a phosphor. The projector's optical system directs the red, green, and blue light to the DLP chip, and along a folded light path, to emerge from a window towards the back of the projector, where it fans downward if the projector is on a wall mount above the screen, or upward if it is set on a table. Ultra-short-throw projectors such as the XJ-UT311WN are able to project a large image when placed very close to the screen.
A key advantage of an ultra-short-throw projector is that you needn't worry about someone casting shadows on the screen, as it is nearly impossible for anyone to get between the light beam and the screen. One potential downside to note is that ultra-short-throw projectors require very flat and rigid screens, because any ripples or kinks in the screen may cause distortion in the image.
The light source is rated at 20,000 hours, meaning that it should effectively last the lifetime of the projector. Another benefit is that unlike most conventional lamps, the XJ-UT311WN's light source is mercury free.
The all-white XJ-UT311WN measures 6 by 16.5 by 13.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 12.6 pounds, making it best for permanent installation, either on a table below the screen, or attached above the screen to a wall mount. (Unlike some ultra-short-throw projectors such as the Epson 585W, the XJ-UT311WN does not come with a wall mount, but Casio offers one as an option.) As an ultra-short-throw model, light emerges from a window near the back of the projector and fans upward to fill the screen—or downward if it's mounted above the screen.
The ports are on the side of the projector, near the focus lever. To access them (as well as to plug and unplug the power cord), you need a Phillips head screwdriver to unscrew six screws that hold a side panel in place. Most ultra-short-throw projectors are mounted in a wall mount with the projector suspended above the screen, so the lettering for the ports is printed in what at a glance would seem to be upside-down. The XJ-UT311WN has a good set of connections, including an HDMI port, two VGA-in ports (which double as component video), a VGA-out port for connecting to an external monitor, and one S-Video port. It also includes RCA jacks for composite video and stereo audio, plus four small (2.5mm) audio jacks: one for a microphone, two audio-in, and one audio-out. It has an Ethernet port, plus a USB Type A port for connecting a USB thumb drive or the included Wi-Fi adapter. (The Epson 585W doesn't include a wireless adapter, but one is available as a $99 extra.) There's also a micro-USB Type B port, but only for use in displaying a school or company logo when the projector is warming up.
Quality Suitable For Presentations
I performed our still and video image testing under theater-dark conditions, with the image filling our test screen (approximately 80 inches diagonal) with the front of the projector a little more than a foot away from the screen. I tested the projector with it set on a small table, projecting the image upward onto the screen. The addition of ambient light did not adversely affect image quality.
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Data image quality, as tested using the DisplayMate projector suite, is good, and should be suitable for typical classroom and business presentations. Both black type on white, and white type on black, were easily readable down to 9 points. There was a minor color balance issue, with a bit of green visible in light grays, though it only affects grayscale images. Colors looked reasonably true, although some reds looked a bit dull. I often see this in DLP projectors, which tend to have lower color brightness than white brightness.
I saw rainbow artifacts—little red-green-blue rainbow-like flashes, particularly in brighter areas against dark backgrounds—in several images. I often see this rainbow effect in single-chip DLP-based projectors. The XJ-UT311WN's rainbow effect is average for a DLP data projector, and its rainbow artifacts shouldn't be an issue in data presentations.
Video rendering is of a quality suitable for short to mid-length clips. Rainbow artifacts were visible in the XJ-UT311WN's video output, at a typical level for a DLP projector. People sensitive to these artifacts may still find them distracting, although its rainbow effect wasn't as severe as what I saw in the XJ-UT351WN. Colors were good, bright but not oversaturated.
Audio from the XJ-UT311WN's single 16-watt speaker is loud, and should fill a small to midsize room. And sound quality is reasonably good.
Designed For Data
As an ultra-short-throw data projector, the Casio XJ-UT311WN offers the brightness and and the audio system for use in up to midsize rooms. Its light source will likely last as long as the projector. The XJ-UT311WN is a good choice for classroom or conference rooms that need a projector that can handle data presentations well. Its video quality is better than we saw with the Casio XJ-UT351WN, thanks to fewer potentially annoying rainbow artifacts. The Epson PowerLite 585W, our Editors' Choice WXGA ultra-short-throw data projector, delivers still better video quality and slightly better data image quality as well, but the XJ-UT311WN is still a top choice as a classroom projector for data presentations.
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As Analyst for printers, scanners, and projectors, Tony Hoffman tests and reviews these products and provides news coverage for these categories. Tony has worked at PC Magazine since 2004, first as a Staff Editor, then as Reviews Editor, and more recently as Managing Editor for the printers, scanners, and projectors team. In addition to editing, Tony has written articles on digital photography and reviews of digital cameras, PCs, and iPhone apps Prior to joining the PCMag team, Tony worked for 17 years in magazine and journal… More »
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