Panasonic PT-AX200U

Review

posted 3/21/2008 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
One Page Platforms: AV
As I was preparing for my CES 2008 appointments, there was one visit in particular that I couldn’t get out of my thoughts. It was the Panasonic Projector meeting I had scheduled, where I was slated to take a look at their newly branded “gaming” projector the PT-AX2000U. Having done some intial research on the PT-AX200U, I knew what Panasonic was touting the projector’s capabilities as, but to witness and experience it first-hand was something that I was really looking forward to.

Having over 12 years of home-theater sales and consulting under my belt, I was eager to see how Panasonic was prepared to eliminate the stigma that front projectors did little for gaming other than to make it appear big. Additionally, the game mode that was touted as reducing lag and improving the visuals were very intriguing as they would also overcome traditional projector faults.

The Specs

Model PT-AX200U
MSRP $1,999
Avg Retail price $1,299
Native Resolution 1280x720
Contrast 6,000:1 (dynamic IRIS)
Response Time n/a
Lamp Life (Hrs) 2,000
Dimensions (in) 4.4 (H) x 15.5 (W) x 11.8 (D)
Weight (lbs) 10.8
Mounting Pattern n/a
Inputs HDMI (2), VGA (1), Component (1), S-Video (1) and Serial (1)
Outputs n/a
ANSI Lumens 2000
Zoom 2x
Screen Size (in) 40 - 200
Throw Distance (ft) 10.2 - 20.4 (100 in)

Out of the Box
While unpacking the AX200, I noticed that a fair amount of care went into protecting the projector and the rest of the box contents. Instead of a standard foam protectors and dividers, Panasonic used a more rigid cardboard system. While there is nothing wrong with foam (and it does do a better job of cushioning), cardboard helps the box maintain its rigidity even when getting jostled around during shipping.

Included in the box with the PT-AX200U projector are the remote, 2 AA batteries, User Manual, AC Power cord, lens cover with cord and a Safety cable.

Aesthetics
While one of the trends over the last few years has been to move away from the wide and boxy projectors in favor of smaller and sleek models, I just felt there was something special about the AX200U when I started setting it up. While it is a touch on the boxy side, the high-gloss, bone-white finish gave it this sexy aura that screams class. Most of the projectors I have crossed paths with tend to have a gray or black finish, possibly to help them blend into their surroundings. Not the AX200U, as this unit screams ‘Look at me!’ Considering the target audience, this is a nice touch for the gamer who wants to flaunt more than just their FPS skills.

The main chassis has very smooth flow with just a few distinguishing features. The five main buttons and directional “pad” are grouped together in the front center of the top of the projector. They are in metallic silver and are mounted, for the most part, flush with the surface. A handful of status indicator lights are also in the area. The lens area has the manual controls for zoom and focus attached to the lens, and a control stick for the lens shift right next to it. The back panel layout is simple and effective with nothing that stands out or causes any cord management problems.


About the only thing that may be considered “unattractive” is the plastic lens cap, which connects via a cord to the lens housing. While it may look goofy to attach it and let it dangle when the projo is in use, the certainty of knowing exactly where the lens cap is at all times far outweighs any un-cool vibe that it puts out while dangling.
Page 1 of 4