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Casio Slim Projectors: High-Definition Video without the Bulk

         

For years, Casio was known as “that calculator company.” High-school and college students, and those in the fields of science, engineering, and advanced math were rushing out to buy the latest scientific or graphing calculator for their increasingly difficult equations. They chose Casio for a good reason: not only did Casio develop the first all-electric compact calculator in 1957, the company released a scientific calculator in 1974, the first graphing calculator in 1985, and has continued to unveil “firsts” ever since, and not only in the world of calculators.

Now, Casio is helping on-the-go businesspeople slim their luggage down with a line of Slim Projectors. These low-profile, lightweight display solutions provide high-definition video without the bulk. There are six models in the Slim Projector line, and I’ll briefly but clearly detail their similarities and differences.

Slim Projectors are Slim!

Casio calls this its Slim Series, and it lives up to that moniker: all six models are 11.69 x 8.26 x 1.69" including any protrusions, such as extendable feet. This makes transporting them as easy as tossing them into your laptop case, laptop optional—more details on that later.

Similarities: Lens, Light Source, Contrast Ratio, and Maximum Image Size

All six models use the same 2x power zoom and focus lens, which will allows you to adjust the image size without moving the projector. They also have the same laser/LED hybrid light source, which produces an 1800:1 contrast ratio. When used with the right projection screen for your room, this contrast ratio will produce clear images with well-defined light and dark detail. Also, this hybrid light source has an estimated lifespan of 20,000 hours, which is approximately 833 days of non-stop projection.

All six models will project up to a 300" image diagonal. There’s a slight difference in the smallest images they can produce, but that’s typically not a concern; if you want a small image, you’d show your presentation on a portable DVD player, laptop, or tablet.

Differences: Resolution, Aspect Ratio, Brightness, and Display Chip

The top four models (XJ-A242, XJ-A247, XJ-A252, and XJ-A257) all feature WXGA 1200 x 800 resolution at a 16:10 native aspect ratio, with a 0.65" DLP chip; the two more entry-level models (XJ-A142 and XJ-A147) have XGA 1024 x 768 resolution with a 4:3 native aspect ratio and a 0.55" DLP chip. The XJ-A252 and XJ-A257 offer 3,000 lumens of brightness, while the rest have 2,500 lumens of brightness.

The higher resolution might make a slight difference for up-close viewers but, typically, that difference isn’t noticeable without having a different resolution displayed side by side for comparison. In short, there’s no significant difference in resolution. The aspect ratio also won’t make a significant difference, as projectors will typically adjust to whatever the aspect ratio of the source is.

"... Casio Slim Projectors are easy to transport and offer a number of features to make presentation simple."

The DLP chip size, however, is a bit more telling. To correlate the chip size to that of a photo or video camera, the larger the chip is, the more efficiently it will handle the available light; however, although the XJ-A142, 147, 242, and 247 all have the same light output, the 242 and 247 will render a seemingly brighter and more vibrant image than the 142 and 147, due to their larger chip size. Of course, the 252 and 257 emit 3,000 lumens of brightness along with the larger 0.65" chip size, so those are clearly the brightest of the bunch.

These four specifications are typically the most important factors in choosing a projector, as they have the greatest bearing on the image. Beyond these differences, there are two main feature differences.

Sister Model Differences: USB and WLAN

This series of projectors was designed in pairs: the XJ-A142 and 147, the XJ-A242 and 247, and the XJ-A252 and 257. These sister pairs have the same features up and down each line. Basically put, the XJ-A147, 247, and 257 all have a USB input with 2GB of built-in storage and wireless LAN capabilities, while their sister models, the XJ-A142, 242, and 252, have neither of these features.

For those on the go, you can load your entire presentation onto either a thumb drive or the built-in 2GB of storage and leave your laptop at home. Sometimes you need your laptop for other reasons, so the USB input and integrated storage might not be important to you. The Slim Projector series gives you the option, so if you don’t need the USB port, save yourself some cash and skip it.

The WLAN (wireless local area network) feature will allow you to connect the projector to a wireless network and display content from a computer on the same network, wirelessly. This would be a major convenience for those who will be presenting with on-site material, or content that’s available online. You can go to your presentation site, power on your laptop, connect to the wireless network, and display away.

WLAN also enables you to connect to your mobile device wirelessly with the C-Assist app, which is available for free download from the iTunes and Google Play stores. This app will allow you to present content directly from your mobile device without any wires, freeing you to walk around the room as you wish and still control your presentation. If you’re an interactive presenter, or just fidgety, this feature will be a must-have.

In the interest of simplicity, below is a table showing each model and its features, with the upgraded features and specifications highlighted.

Specification \ Model XJ-A142 XJ-A147 XJ-A242 XJ-A247 XJ-A252 XJ-A257
Native Resolution XGA 1024 x 768 XGA 1024 x 768 WXGA 1200 x 800 WXGA 1200 x 800 WXGA 1200 x 800 WXGA 1200 x 800
Native Aspect Ratio 4:3 4:3 16:10 16:10 16:10 16:10
Brightness 2500 Lumens 2500 Lumens 2500 Lumens 2500 Lumens 3000 Lumens 3000 Lumens
Display Chip Size 0.55" 0.55" 0.65" 0.65" 0.65" 0.65"
USB Input for Thumb Drive No Yes No Yes No Yes
Integrated WLAN No Yes No Yes No Yes
Integrated Storage None 2GB None 2GB None 2GB
Lens 2x Power Zoom and Focus 2x Power Zoom and Focus 2x Power Zoom and Focus 2x Power Zoom and Focus 2x Power Zoom and Focus 2x Power Zoom and Focus
Light Source Laser/LED Hybrid Laser/LED Hybrid Laser/LED Hybrid Laser/LED Hybrid Laser/LED Hybrid Laser/LED Hybrid
Contrast Ratio 1800:1 1800:1 1800:1 1800:1 1800:1 1800:1
Maximum Image Size 300" Diagonal 300" Diagonal 300" Diagonal 300" Diagonal 300" Diagonal 300" Diagonal

In a nutshell, the Casio Slim Projectors are easy to transport and offer a number of features to make presentation simple. As always, if you’re looking for advice in choosing the right product, Casio or otherwise, the B&H sales staff is happy to answer whatever question you may have, via phone at 800-606-6969, chat, or email

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