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Panasonic PT-AE4000 review

Kat Orphanides
11 Jan 2010
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Panasonic PT-AE4000
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
2,199
inc VAT

Stunning image quality make this one of the best projectors you can get. Simply put, if you can afford it, buy it.

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Specifications

1,920x1,080 resolution, 1,600 ANSI lumens, 130x460x300mm, 7.3kg

Panasonic's PT-AE4000E is the successor to the Ultimate award-winning PT-AE3000E. It's just as good as you'd hope a projector this expensive to be. It has three HDMI inputs, as well as component, composite, S-Video and VGA, so you're unlikely to run out of inputs. It's exceptionally quiet when running, so you won't need to blast the volume to hear quiet dialogue over it. The remote control is backlit for ease of use in the dark. Its controls are all replicated beneath a flap at the side of the projector.

It's far from lightweight, so you won't be moving it around much once it's installed. However, it's more flexible than most projectors when it comes to positioning, with vertical and horizontal lens shift wheels that allow you to easily adjust the position of the lens to point at your screen without the hassle of moving the projector itself. The 2x zoom lens can be shifted up to 40 per cent in either direction horizontally and 100 per cent on the vertical access, with provides plenty of room to manoeuvre. Once you've positioned everything to your satisfaction, a Lens Control menu allows you to configure zoom and focus using a handy calibration utility. You can save up to six different zoom, focus and lens calibrations, which is handy for watching content with different aspect ratios.

There are scores of other configuration options available from the menu, but they're all clearly laid out and easy to access. Not all of them are very easy to understand and use effectively. Some are clearly for experts, like the waveform adjustment tool for tweaking the luminance of individual colours, which requires you to acquire and project test patterns to enable the projected to carry out auto-configuration. Others, like the Advanced settings in the Picture menu, allow you to manually tweak everything from colour and gamma to MPEG noise removal. This level of control is brilliant, particularly if you use Split Adjust mode, which creates side-by-side reproductions of the same part of the picture and shows the effect of your settings changes on one of them. However, the projector's default settings are so good that you may never need to carry out any significant reconfiguration.

Image quality is outstanding, with natural, well balanced colour rendering deep, rich black tones are among the best we've seen from any projector, including those that use DLP technology. The PT-AE4000E put in an excellent performance in our moving image response test, motion blur was minimal and the lines of our playing card test image remained sharp as it moved across the display. If you want an even smoother viewing experience, you can enable Frame Creation mode, which interpolates extra frames. Three different settings range from subtle smoothing to a far more obvious smoothing effect in Mode 3. The latter is too extreme for normal viewing, but makes it much easier to follow the action during fast-paced sporting events.

At this price, the PT-AE4000E is one for serious home cinema enthusiasts but its phenomenal image quality and range of controls make this an ideal choice if you can afford it. We've given it our Ultimate award.

Details

Price£2,199
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk
Rating*****
AwardUltimate

Specifications

Projector technologyLCD
Lamp brightness1,600 ANSI lumens
Lamp life3,000
Lamp life in economy mode4,000
Contrast ratio100,000:1

Picture

Native resolution1,920x1,080
Max compressed resolution1,920x1,080
Aspect ratio16:9
Other aspect ratios4:3, 14:9
Max diagonal at 7ft70in
Throw ratio1.8:1 to 2.4:1
Optical zoom2.0x
Projection distance1.2m to 18m
Mirror imageyes
Invert imageyes
Lens shift horizontal40%
Lens shift vertical100%
HD Readyyes
Special view modesNormal, Dynamic, Colour1, Colour2, Cinema1, Cinema2, Cinema3

Inputs/Outputs

VGA inputyes
DVI inputNo
Sound inputsnone
Composite inputyes
S-video inputyes
HDMI inputyes
PAL supportyes
SECAM supportyes
NTSC supportyes
Audio outputnone
Video outputnone
Others inputs/outputssecond HDMI input, RS232, trigger in, trigger out

Other

Noise (in normal use)22dB(A)
Size130x460x300mm
Weight7.3kg
Internal speakersnone
Extrasremote, cables (power), power cable secure lock, safety cable
Remote special featuresnone
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on202W

Lamp

Lamp cost (inc VAT)£347
Lamp supplier
Lamp cost per hour of use£0.12
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)£0.09

Buying Information

Price£2,199
Supplierhttp://www.soundandvision.co.uk
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

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