A very light projector, with interpolated resolutions up to 1600x1200 and a wide zoom, the Hitachi CPX1 is a rebadged version of the Viewsonic PJ358.
The main attraction is a tiny weight of just 1.7kg, making this one of the lightest projectors you can buy. Although the Hitachi CPX1 is wider than most budget portables it offers two feet instead of a single central foot, which takes a little longer to set up but makes it easier to level the unit.
From the outside, the Hitachi logo and silver finish create a more polished impression than the black and basic look of the Viewsonic. Otherwise the styling is identical, with a hefty front grille and rather plasticky menu buttons. Ergonomics are middling, with the Hitachi CPX1's two-way menu set offering a basic mode for simple tweaks and an expert mode for those who want more control. In spite of the complexity it’s fairly easy to find your way around, and although there’s some learning required to start with, once you’ve spent time with the options they should become second nature.
At the back of the Hitachi CPX1 there are two SVGA inputs, one with component video support via an optional adaptor. There’s also support for a USB stick, so you can save your project to a pocket-sized medium and display it without a laptop. Composite and S-Video are also available, as well as audio in and out – although as with most projectors, if you’re using sound you’ll need an external speaker system for best results.
Video performance is mixed. The best feature is the short-throw lens, which will produce a 60in display at a distance of 1.5m. As an LCD system, colour saturation is slightly better than average, but still not outstanding. LCDs projectors offer lower brightness and contrast specs than DLP models, so the quoted 2000 ANSI lumens and 500:1 contrast look better than you might expect. But even though there’s a Home Cinema mode, video performance isn’t smooth enough or bright enough to make the Hitachi CPX1 a likely choice for home use. And for business use, this projector works best when ambient light is limited.
The Hitachi CPX1 gives best results in an office or on the road when used for presentations in a darkened room. Colour and video performance mean that it’s not quite as convincing as a home cinema unit. And the price is high – cheaper competitors aren’t quite as light, but perform almost as well.