Sony's VPL-EW Portable Projector: Big Picture, Small Package

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Projecting a 40- to 300-inch picture from a computer or video source has never been as easy or affordable than with Sony's VPL-EW 3LCD Portable Projector. Producing WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution with 2000 ANSI lumens of brightness and a 1000:1 contrast ratio, the VPL-EW7 is about 200 times brighter than a pico projector. It's like holding a floodlight to a candle. Incredibly, the VPL-EW weighs only 6.1 lb and occupies a square-foot footprint.

The transmissive-type projector passes light through three (red, green and blue) LCD panels to form an image composed of more than one million pixels. Though the recommended projection size is 40 to 300 inches, you can deviate according to taste. Because it's a "short-throw" projector, you can create an 80-inch picture from eight feet away. The projector can be ceiling mounted with an optional accessory.  An IR remote is included. The lens system includes an eight percent tilt angle adjustment for maintaining a rectangular picture—no keystoning.

The projector's 16:9 aspect ratio is a great fit for widescreen movies. The VPL-EW supports HDTV at its native 720p resolution (the same resolution used by ABC, Fox and ESPN). Other resolutions are converted to fit. Sourced from a computer, the WXGA resolution will make PowerPoint presentations or websites look crisp.

There are multiple inputs and a couple of outputs on the rear panel (see below). The inputs are comprised of HDMI, S-Video, VGA (HD D-Sub 15 pin), composite video and stereo audio (mini jack). A small speaker is built in. There's also a VGA out and stereo out (mini jack) for monitoring the presentation. A VGA cable is included. The projector also has an RS-232C (D-Sub 9-pin) control terminal.

The VPL-EW is ready to be used when you turn it on, and there's no waiting around for the fan to cool down the lamp when you turn it off. So, you can pop the projector in the included carrying case and be on your way. Alternatively, there's a Kensington slot for securing the projector with an optional Kensington lock. The unit comes with a three-year Sony parts and labor warranty.

So, if you're tired of being confined to the small picture or are ready to project a decent-sized image in a room that doesn't have to be totally dark, consider stepping up to the simplicity of the Sony VPL-EW.