What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 19 Feb 2008, 12:00pm

Panasonic PT-AX200E

Tested at £900
100100
5

In AV terms this unit has been around a while, yet for the most part it’s refusing to show its relative age: still great value

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For

  • Simple set-up
  • punchy, dynamic colours
  • good contrast levels and insight

Against

  • Not a Full HD spec
  • occasional lattice effect apparent

As we welcome the Award-winning Panasonic back to the fold, we're reminded how this machine rewrote the rulebook for sub-£1000 projector performance.

It stopped us in our tracks with a picture quality hitherto unseen at this price, and it's fair to say we're still impressed as we put the PT-AX200E through its paces some ?six months later.

There's not much to get excited about before you see it in action; Panasonic opts for sensible styling, though the build is decent enough. The remote control is compact but effective.

Specification not quite as sharp?
One area where this Panasonic has dated is in terms of specification, where its lower-than-Full HD resolution (it's a 1280 x 720 model) now looks a little substandard.

But it can still comfortably deal with 1080p/24fps video content. There are two HDMI connections, plus component, S-Video and composite inputs. It's also fairly quiet in operation, running at an unobtrusive 25dB.

A neat joystick on the front, coupled with zoom and focus controls on the lens, makes positioning your picture a doddle.

Watching the Blu-ray of Seraphim Falls, we're again impressed by the Panasonic's dynamic palette that's simultaneously capable of bright whites and deep blacks.

Good contrast levels allow for plenty of hues in between, and as the colour balance shifts from the mountain to the desert, the 'AX200E shows an assured, even balance.

Fast motion is handled smoothly
Taken
delivers plenty of detailed, textured skin tones for the projector to gets its teeth into, and results are rewarding.

Fast motion is handled smoothly, though you can expect some momentary loss of focus and structure with particularly testing scenes. We did catch the odd glimpse of the ‘lattice effect', our 7ft screen revealing hints of the LCD's lines.

Nevertheless, this projector remains an indisputably strong performer at such an inviting price.

A Full HD resolution projector can now be bought for this sort of money, as the other contenders here neatly highlight, yet the PT-AX200E does enough to hang on to its five stars.