- Document camera allows 'live' presentation
- automatic vertical keystone adjustment
- No digital input
- less portable than many new projectors
If you need to give a presentation that includes ad hoc material, Toshiba's T61 could come in handy. As well as being a 1500 ANSI Lumens XGA LCD projector, it features a Visualiser unit, which can relay live images of printed documents or 3D objects. So, as well as being a data projector, the T61 can operate like a trusty old overhead projector.
The projector's specifications are respectable, but not leading edge: The 1,024 by 768 native resolution and 400:1 contrast ratio are good enough for most presentation work. The 1.19X zoom lens doesn't give you a very wide range of image sizes compared to some other projectors, although the image sizes you get are normal for the throw distances involved. Image quality is very good for presentations -- the high brightness makes the images clear even in brightly lit rooms. There's a slight softness to the image, even when properly focused, but text remains legible.
The T61's performance with a video signal is less impressive, however, its relatively low contrast making darker movie scenes appear washed-out. However, the T61 isn't really designed with this market in mind, so it's hardly a major drawback.
One neat feature is an automatic vertical keystone correction. This measures the angle the projector is tilted to, and applies an appropriate amount of digital keystone correction. Note that this technique relies on the projection screen being vertical, and also doesn't correct for horizontal keystone distortion. The T61 features an economy mode that makes the projector quieter and the bulb last longer, but reduces the brightness. The normal noise level of 37dB isn't excessive, but in Eco mode this drops to 33dB.
You get a fair range of analogue inputs on the T61. There's no digital video input, which is a shame, but this is less of an issue on a projector that will mostly be used for presentations from a notebook PC or using the visualiser arm. The VGA input can also be used with component video sources given the correct adapter cable -- which isn't supplied as standard, unfortunately. S-Video and composite video inputs are provided, along with a monitor pass-through port and an audio input. In common with most other projectors, the sound facilities are limited: a 1W mono speaker is all you get.
The Visualiser arm features a CCD camera that can be positioned to look down on a document or other object . The visualiser can be attached to the side of the projector, or detached and connected via a supplied cable. This latter option is essential if you're going to angle the projector upwards. If you detach the visualiser there's a stability foot that you can fold out to prevent the whole thing toppling over. The arm is extendable and can be rotated through 180 degrees. The camera can be rotated on the arm through 270 degrees, so it's possible to look at documents of most shapes and sizes. When not in use, the arm folds down and the camera head folds under so that the lens is protected. There are controls for the projector input and camera gain on the visualiser arm., which allow you to adjust the image for the ambient lighting conditions. Since there's no light source on the arm, you may have to turn the gain up in poorly lit rooms.
On our review model the visualiser arm had become floppy, and could not stay up unaided. Although this can be explained by some rough handling prior to our receiving the unit, no dmage was detectable. There's no way of adjusting the tension on the arm, so if this problem occurs it looks like a trip back to the manufacturer will be required.
The T61's remote control can be used as a pointing device on your PC, but rather than this working through the projector, as with many units we've reviewed, you're supplied with a USB infrared receiver. This means you'll have to point the remote in two separate directions if your notebook isn't near the projector, although you're unlikely to want to make many adjustments to the image settings during a presentation.
As a projector, the T61 is nothing spectacular. It's a competent presentation unit, but is a bit too large to be used on the road -- smaller, lighter units with the same brightness are now available. However, in some slightly more unusual applications -- an engineering department springs to mind -- the ability to present from both a notebook and using good old pen and paper could be a distinct advantage.