Review: Canon LV-8235 UST
- — 17 May, 2012 22:00
|Name||Projector: Canon LV-8235 UST|
|At a glance:||Limited 1280 x 800-pixel resolution,110-inch image at just 46cm from screen,Nvidia 3D Vision support,No optical zoom, lens shift or keystone correction|
|Summary:||Literally a niche product; get the biggest screen out of a small space.|
Canon’s LV-8235 UST is one of the more interesting projectors we’ve had through the PC World labs recently. Why? Because it gives you all the advantages of a big-screen projector without the annoyance of a large, noisy box parked in the dead centre of your lounge, classroom or boardroom.
How? An ultra-short throw (UST) design means that the distance between the projector lens and the projection screen (known as the ‘throw distance’) is much shorter than the norm. In fact, with the projector just 32cm from your wall or screen, you can have yourself a mightily large 80-inch image. A throw distance of just 46cm nets you the largest-possible 110-inch image, which was larger than the wall I had available to test on.
Instead of the traditional round lens, the LV-8235 projects from a rectangular mirror atop the body (or below, if you mount it from the ceiling). In addition to providing the short throw, this unique projection mechanism also allows the unit to be wall-mounted flat, i.e., at 90 degrees to its usual orientation, for maximum installation flexibility.
The projector’s image is generated by a single 1280 x 800-pixel, 0.65-inch digital light processing (DLP) chip. As opposed to LCD-based projectors, that shine light through an LCD panel which acts as a sort of digital shutter, DLP projectors use an array of tiny mechanical mirrors to shine light toward or away from the projector’s lens. This produces excellent contrast compared to LCD, with high brightness and dark black areas.
Input is supported via VGA, composite video (single RCA), component video (3x RCA), S-Video and a single HDMI port. I performed all of my testing over HDMI, using a DVD player, MacBook Pro and gaming desktop. Connected to the latter, you might be in for a pleasant surprise: the LV-8235 UST supports Nvidia’s 3D Vision setup, so combined with a high-end Nvidia graphics card and 3D Vision glasses, you can have a wall-sized 3D gaming experience with no more effort than connecting up a regular 3D-capable 120Hz monitor.
I tested the 3D running Just Cause 2 and Metro 2033, both of which looked amazing in a darkened room. Note that the 3D effect really does require as little ambient light as possible: while the projector is amply bright in 2D, the 3D Vision shutter glasses reduce that brightness a fair amount.
Missing from the LV-8235 UST is any kind of optical zoom, lens shift or keystone correction. You do get digital zoom from 0.5x to 2x, and digital keystone correction plus or minus five degrees, but both will notably degrade image quality and cut down on the projector’s already-limited resolution. This is fine if you make use of the projector’s mounting flexibility to position it ‘just so’, where you have no need for zoom or keystoning, but limits its usefulness when just popped down on a table or shelf against the wall.
At just 321 x 170 x 385mm in size and weighing 6.2kg, wall or ceiling mounting won’t require serious structural reinforcement. As you can mount right at the projection surface, it also means you don’t have to run cables all the way into the centre, or to the back, of the room you’re installing in; both major cost and time-saving advantages for permanent installs.
Really, this is a projector intended for schools, universities and offices; something to allow for convenient mounting in small tutorial rooms or meeting areas. However, it also proves a brilliant option for ultra-cramped living spaces where you want a wall-sized screen with the minimum space-penalty. Despite the limited resolution – many projectors now offer 1920 x 1080 pixel full-HD output – it’s also a good option for 3D gamers more concerned with the stereoscopic effect than minute detail.