The light fantastic

1st November 2002 at 00:00
You could easily imagine magic was at work with this first-of-breed, innovative Toshiba projector, the TLP-T500. While in every way a versatile unit, you can make pretty good use of this projector without even plugging a PC into it. Fire up your PowerPoint or surf to your web page and then let today's magic - wireless technology - deliver the picture, albeit after a delay of a second or so.

When using a current wireless set-up it does not handle video or fast animation but, with a Tablet PC, the ability to move around and show things washed whiter than any whiteboard. You can even indulge in regularly letting pupils take the helm and show their work. They can do this from a laptop with a Wi-Fi card (about pound;70) or even a regular network with a wireless access point (pound;125).

Cabled up, the TLP-T500 shines on all counts: its menu is better than many, it can correct for keystone (slanted images) automatically and there's a quick input change button. Then there is the solid build, with a sensible finish, multiple inputs, monitor output and all the necessary cables. At 1,600 lumens, its brightness is ideal for courses and classrooms. A high brightness version, the TLP T700 offers 2,000 lumens, to suit assemblies and larger rooms and costs barely pound;250 more. Pull the wireless LAN card from the projector - it's a regular PC card - push in a PC storage card and you've a great way of doing open-day style presentations without lugging a laptop along. For example, you can save a PowerPoint presentation as a set of picture files (JPGs) in a folder and then show them in sequence on a projector. I tried both a camera card in a PC card adaptor, and a PC card hard disk and the projector found my photos, showed them as thumbnails and played the slideshow.

This is an outstanding piece of kit, backed by a sound guarantee. You're paying for the extra sharpness of XGA resolution, which easily marks this out as the school or ICT suite projector. Based on past prices, you're seemingly not paying for its wireless feature which provides a clean solution to the everyday cable carry-on.

Toshiba TLP-T500 XGA projector

Fitness for purpose *****

Ease of use *****

Features *****

Design *****

Value for money ****

Projector with wireless network capability,1,600 lumens brightness. Price around pound;2,600

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