Sony's VPL CX20 is geared towards showing off in the boardroom, but does that mean a lack of substance over style? We have a closer look.
The first thing you will notice once you take it out of the overly large box is that the projector is in fact very small. With a footprint smaller than an A4 piece of paper and the unit only weighing 1.9Kg, slipping this in the bag to go to a presentation isn't going to be an issue.
Unlike other models we've seen the projector is incredibly thin with a height of just 5.2cms. That combined with a brushed aluminium and smooth black finish and a flush lens within the case means you won't get any grumbles when showing it off.
Turn the unit on and the set up is straightforward and simple. The projector automatically makes the adjustments for you based on the previous settings before you turned it off and this includes raising the motorised foot at the front of the unit and auto-focusing and tilting the image accordingly.
Because the lens is sealed within the unit tilting and focusing can be done via the included remote control and this certainly improves the professionalism of the usual faffing that goes on when you have to set up a projector.
Although the projector comes with buttons on the side of the unit, the main focus for controlling the unit is via the included creditcard-sized remote.
There are plenty of features available to you via the menu, although at times this can be somewhat confusing as not everything is where it would seem. From the menu users can change screen shape from 4:3 to widescreen if they are hoping to take it home to catch a cheeky movie.
While most boardrooms are getting larger, business users will be pleased to see that the CX20 can produce an image with a 2m diagonal when placed between 2.3m and 2.8m away from the screen at a XGA native resolution of 1024 x 768 x 3 pixels.
Rather than DLP, the Sony VPL CX20 uses the 3LCD system that denotes the use of three separate LCD panels to create a full-colour image. This is achieved by splitting the light from the lamp with a prism into red, green and blue parts and directing these components to the relevant panels with system of mirrors.
The result is a bright and crisp image that is certainly adequate for viewing presentations on and certainly good enough to watch the odd movie on.
However there is always a catch and for the CX20 it's the notable noise levels in both High and Standard brightness settings. While the higher setting will offer you a very bright image (200 ANSI lumens compared to the units standard 1500 ANSI lumens) and certainly be bright enough to present in a room with plenty of windows and the blinds open, the fan noise to create this extra oomph will most likely drown out your presentation.
The VPL CX20 certainly delivers what it promises and has the style to match, however the noisy fan will be an issue if you are expecting to run this in a fairly light room without being drowned out.
We did, however like the Off & Go feature that allows the fan to continue to run to cool the unit after the power supply has been removed meaning the user can simply unplug the projector immediately after use.
Our only other main complaint is that you are paying for the extra styling. If you think that is going to swing the deal, then it's probably worth the extra cash, if however you don't think your prospective will care that much there are cheaper alternatives on the market. Better still, sony offer the VPL-CS20 which has SVGA native resolution of 800 x 600 x 3 pixels and costs £300 less.
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