Viewsonic PJ503D review

17 May 2007
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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT


If all you need is a simple projector for carrying from room-to-room for the odd PowerPoint presentation, ViewSonicfs DLP PJ503D will probably suit your needs.

Its native resolution of 800x600 isnft very high, but itfs not very expensive. In fact, itfs less than half the price of the 1,024x768 office projectors that we looked at in our recent projectors Labs test (Shopper May 2007).

A lower resolution for slide work isnft much of a drawback and the PJ503D is capable of doing justice to a presentation. It can also take higher-resolution inputs up to 1,280x1,024 and down-scale them to fit its native resolution. While this isnft anywhere near as good as having a higher resolution, the PJ503D copes well with the scaling. Again, the quality is fine for presentations.

The projector generally performed well when connected to a PC using its analogue VGA input (therefs no digital input). Our greyscale test was displayed competently, with smooth transitions from black to white. Colours in our test photos were bold and vivid, if a little inaccurate. Skin tones looked slightly sallow, with a brownish tinge to reds.

The PJ503D has a short throw, projecting a 59in image at just 21/2m. This means that youfll be able to get a decent-sized display in most meeting rooms. At 1,500 ANSI lumens, the projector isnft very bright, so youfll find it hard to use in a bright room. Youfll be fine with standard office lighting, but you may need to lower the blinds to block out sunlight.

There is a Brightest mode preset, but this simply adjusts brightness and contrast settings to make the projected image look brighter. However, we found that colours became badly oversaturated and almost painful to look at, so wefd avoid using it.

The PJ503D supports HD video formats up to 1,080i, but only if you connect with a component-to-VGA lead. Even so, the input has to be downscaled to match the projectorfs native resolution, so you lose much of the benefit of having HD footage in the first place. There are S-video and composite video inputs if you need to connect a DVD player.

The PJ503D isnft a good projector for viewing moving images. Interlaced footage looked awful, with a lot of speckling in areas of solid colour and a jagged appearance on straight edges.

This isnft really a projector thatfs designed for moving images, and itfs certainly not one that youfd want to use for relaxing with a movie after a hard dayfs work. Its relatively low resolution means itfs not ideal for general PC use. Still, for an office where you need to give regular presentations, the PJ503D is an excellent choice and great value.

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