The Optoma ZW212ST is a short-throw projector that’s able to project a large image despite being very close to the screen. It uses a hybrid light engine, which uses a combination of LEDs and lasers combined with a DLP chip, such as we’ve seen in recent Casio projectors such as the Casio XJ-H2650 . The ZW212ST costs more up front than many comparable projectors that use conventional bulbs, but its light source is very long-lasting, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever have to replace the lamp.
The ZW212ST has WXGA (1,280-by-800) native resolution and a rated brightness of 2,500 lumens. This gives it slightly higher resolution and brightness than the otherwise nearly identical Optoma ZX212ST, which has WXGA (1,204-by-768) native resolution and is rated at 2,300 lumens.
Still, the ZW212ST’s rated brightness is on the low side for its size and weight. In comparison, two Editors’ Choice short-throw data projectors, the ViewSonic PJD6683ws is rated at 3,000 lumens and the Optoma TW610ST at 3,100. The Casio XJ-H2650 is brighter still, at 3,500 lumens.
The ZW212ST’s mercury-free lamp is rated at 20,000 hours, which means it is very unlikely that you will have to replace the bulb over the lifetime of the projector.
Image inputs on the back panel include the usual HMDI, VGA, and composite video ports, as well as S-Video, a mini-USB port for USB direct display, and both a USB A port and an SD card slot for reading files from a USB memory key or SD card. In addition, you can use the LAN connector or optional Wi-Fi adaptor ($30 street) to send an image over a network.
Data Image Testing
True to its nature as a short-throw projector, the ZW610ST’s data image filled our test screen, about 60 inches diagonal, from about 2.5 feet away. The introduction of a fair amount of ambient light had no appreciable effect on image quality.
In data image testing using the DisplayMate suite, showed above-par image quality, thanks to very good text quality, which was sharp down to the smallest black-on-white size, and readable if fuzzy at the smallest white-on-black size. I noticed mild yellow tinting in some white areas, and some grays appeared slightly greenish. Colors in general looked reasonably true, though reds and yellows were on the dull side. There was modest pixel jitter in images that tend to bring it out, when viewed over a VGA connection; it was mostly eliminated when I switched to HDMI.
As is frequently the case with single-chip DLP projectors, I noticed some rainbow artifacts, little red-green-blue flashes, particularly in bright areas against dark backgrounds. The so-called rainbow effect is generally not a significant issue in data images, and these artifacts shouldn’t be a problem, even to people sensitive to this effect.
Video and Audio
The ZW212ST’s video quality is suitable for short clips as part of a presentation. Rainbow artifacts were evident in scenes that bring them out, more than is typical for a DLP-based projector, and will be an annoyance to anybody who is sensitive to the effect. One other relatively minor issue is that some scenes tended to look more reddish than they should have.
The audio was of surprisingly modest volume considering its two 5-watt speakers; it’s suitable for a smaller room.
The ZW212ST provides 3D support, though you’ll need to supply the (active shutter) glasses. Like the Optoma ZX212ST, its 3D support is limited to use with computers only, over either a VGA or HDMI connection.
The Optoma ZW212ST offers a higher resolution and a modest increase in brightness over the Optoma ZX212ST at a slightly higher price. For presenters who include a lot of fine detail, it’s definitely worth the premium.
The ZW212ST has a light engine similar to that of the Casio XJ-H2650, and they share an unusually long lamp life. The Casio XJ-2650 is brighter, and comes with a standard Wi-Fi adapter, while Wi-Fi on the ZW212ST is optional ($30 street). The ZW212ST has the benefit of being a short-throw projector, while the XJ-2650 has a standard throw.
The Optoma TW610ST and ViewSonic PJD6683ws, both Editors’ Choice short-throw projectors, are brighter than the ZW212ST, and also offer above-average data image quality and lackluster video. Their audio is of good quality, and louder than the ZW212ST. The Optoma ZW212ST costs more than these models, but its LED/laser light engine uses a long-lasting, mercury-free lamp that should still be shining while those projectors may require several lamp changes over their lifetimes.
|Native Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Video Inputs||Component, Composite, HDMI, S-Video|
|Computer Interfaces||Analog VGA|
|Rated Contrast Ratio||100000|
|Rated Brightness||2500 ANSI lumens|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc