Hitachi - CP-RX70

Hitachi isn't a name that you usually associate with budget products but in the case of the CP-RX70 LCD projector the low price is a headline-grabbing figure.

It's no great surprise that the package is fairly basic, so the black carry case is rather ordinary and the remote control is fairly large and clunky. The only other extras are the power cord and VGA cable, so Hitachi hasn't gone out of its way to spoil us with fripperies. The projector has a silver painted finish that lacks any feeling of luxury and the styling is very plain, but that's just about the end of the sniping that we can level at this projector.

It's clear from the photo that the CP-RX70 bears a strong resemblance to a plain box with a heavily perforated front panel, but it's only when you know the dimensions are 274 x 71 x 205mm and the weight is 1.7kg that you appreciate it's a rather slender and lightweight box.

Setting up the Hitachi is a quick process as it uses two drop-down feet at the front and you can adjust settings very rapidly with the remote control. You have a choice of two menus for Easy or Advanced but we found all of the controls we needed, such as keystone, brightness and contrast, were neatly arranged under the Easy menu.

The CP-RX70 uses Hitachi's triple LCD technology and sports an XGA resolution of 1,024 x 768, which comes as something of a surprise as budget projectors often sneak an SVGA resolution of 800 x 600 into the equation. The use of LCD technology means that the contrast ratio is inevitably rather low at 500:1 compared to a DLP projector, however the brightness rating of 2,000 lumens is par for the course.

That's the brightness rating in Normal mode, which gives a noise level of 35dB and we found that to be a touch on the high side. Switch to Whisper mode and the noise level drops to 29dB, which is a significant improvement, yet the drop in brightness to 1,500 lumens makes surprisingly little difference to the picture, making Whisper mode our preferred setting unless the background light level is very high.

We had something of a surprise when we plugged in an audio cable between our laptop and the projector as the mono 1W speaker worked very acceptably. Most projectors have a pathetic speaker that distorts under the slightest duress, but the speaker in the CP-RX70 did a capable job and was rather louder than the 1W rating would suggest.

In the main we were very happy with the Hitachi and can only level one significant criticism against this budget projector, as the inputs consist of dual VGA, Component, Composite and S-Video without the option of a digital connection. It's hardly the end of the world and is quite understandable at this price point, but even so, DVI would have been nice.

Hitachi - CP-RX70 features - Verdict

There are better projectors on the market than the Hitachi CP-RX70 and there are cheaper projectors, but you'd be hard-pressed to find another projector that offers a decent XGA image at this sort of price. It performs capably in all areas without excelling in any, but that's perfectly acceptable in a budget product.

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