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HP xp7030 Digital Projector

Extra bright presentation projector has some problems By Guy Wright

The HP xp7030 Digital Projector

The HP xp7030 Digital Projector

The HP xp7030 Digital Projector ($2,499.99) is a lightweight projector designed for the business presentation market. Featuring high brightness (3500 ANSI lumens) and contrast ratio (2500:1) the xp730 is powerful enough to provide bright, crisp images even in well-lit rooms. At 12.2 x 9 x 4 in and 7.3 pounds the unit is not really an ultra-portable, road warrior device. Rather, it is most comfortable in a permanent or semi-permanent installation. We had the chance to put one of these projectors through its paces and unfortunately it didnt live up to expectations.

In the box you get the projector, extra long power cord, remote control and battery, 1.8-m VGA cable, 1.8-m USB cable, CD-ROM User's Guide, warranty booklet, and Quick Start guide. On the front of the unit is the F/2.3 to 2.75, 23.6 to 28.25 mm manual focus, manual zoom lens with cap and an IR sensor. On the side is the power cord socket and a disconnect switch. On the top are the focus and zoom controls, warning indicator lights, and button panel. On the back of the unit are connections for just about any type of input including audio in and out ports, USB port for connecting to a computer, a DVI port, VGA in and VGA out ports, S-video port, composite video port, component video port, a serial port for connecting to a room controller and a 12-Vdc trigger output for controlling a motorized screen or similar device. There is also a second IR sensor and a security lock slot.


Underneath youll find an adjustable height front foot and both rear feet can also be raised or lowered. The projector can sit on a table or stand, be used for front or rear projection, and can be ceiling mounted with optional mounting hardware. Powered by a 2,000 hour, 300 watt lamp the five-color wheel DLP system can create images from 40 to 250 inches (diagonal) at XGA (1024 x 768) resolution.

Setting up the xp7030 is relatively easy (at least until you get to the more advanced networking options). Plug in the projector and a video source. Connect the USB cable (if using a computer), turn on the disconnect switch, then turn on the projector. Power up only takes about 15 seconds and once youve got an image you can adjust zoom, focus, etc.

I ran the projector through my usual battery of tests using various input sources and the DisplayMate video calibration software from DisplayMate Technologies (www.displaymate.com). DisplayMate features hundreds of test patterns created to both calibrate any display and to evaluate how well a particular display performs. Running through all the test patterns can take a bit of time and I was half way through the tests when I started running into some serious problems with the xp7030. First, it was difficult to completely adjust the contrast and brightness properly without sacrificing either the darker shades or the brighter shades. Next, (in graphics mode) the yellows look more mustard colored and the reds are a bit on the rust colored side (in video mode the colors are fine). Also, for some reason when the projector is in graphics mode it has trouble displaying fully saturated whites and yellows showing ghosting streaks and interference. Finally, there appeared to be tracking problems as if the projector couldnt quite sync with the computers graphics card. This was most evident on test patterns showing 256 level gradients and on certain resolution screens with dithered dot patterns. This problem was so severe that on a simple 256 level grayscale image there was drastic vertical banding in the brighter half of the image as if the projector didnt have enough intensity levels to create a smooth transition from the blacks to the whites. On some of the dithered dot pattern screens the image was filled with static sparkles. All these problems went away when the projector was switched to video mode.

I tried switching video cables but ran into the same problems. I tried a different computer and still had problems. I finally sent the projector back to HP and received another xp7030 the next day. Same problems.

Unfortunately these problems are so severe there wasnt much point in finishing up the rest of the tests. Perhaps I just happened to get two faulty projectors with the exact same problem but I suspect that the xp7030 may have some serious design flaws.

The bottom line is that until HP addresses these problems I cant recommend the xp7030.

 


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Guy Wright has been kicking around computers and video for more years than he cares to admit and written too many articles to count. He has been a director, editor, producer, video operator, and announcer for a score of radio and TV stations. His credits include hundreds of insipid local-origination programs and commercials, dozens of cheesy radio spots, and even a book or two. Mainly he writes and edits articles for Digital Media Online.
Related Keywords:HP, xp7030, Projector, presentation, DisplayMate,

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