There are projectors, and then there are projectors.

You know the kind – projectors that boot up fast, connect easily, display the crispest image, run quiet, and don’t get too hot. Cheap and cheerful projectors can do a job for you, but not as well as projectors like this Hitachi CP-CW251WN.

The Hitachi CP-CW251WN is a short-throw projector, which means it can fill a massive screen with projected video from around 2ft away. In other words, it works up close to a projector screen, which makes it ideal if space is limited, or for use with a tabletop projector screen if you’ll be moving around.

Speaking of moving around, the CP-CW251WN weighs 3.6kg. It’s one of the lighter projectors on the market and it isn’t too bulky either. It sits on little rubber feet and is designed to work at tabletop height or on a bracket.

In operation, the sound level is 37 dB in normal mode and 32 dB in Eco mode. To put that into perspective, a whisper registers at 30 dB, and a desktop computer fan whirs at around 39 Db. So, it’s rather quiet. The cooling system is also sufficient with the top of the projector comfortable to touch after 30 minutes.

Features and projection

Now we have all that out of the way, let’s talk features.

The CP-CW251WN has a WXGA projection quality, which means it is suitable for business use and 720p video playback. The actual resolution is 1280 x 800. The projection quality is up there with the best at this level. In particular, it handles blacks brilliantly, giving videos a very nice contrast, thanks to the 10,000:1 contrast ratio.

There are two standard brightness modes. The output in Normal mode is 3000 ANSI Lumens, while the output in Whisper mode is 2640 ANSI Lumens. If these numbers mean nothing to you, they basically mean it’s bright enough.

The lens zoom is a digital zoom up to x 1.35 with a manual focus. The throw distance is 0.691 – 1.838m and the throw ratio is 0.6.

This is a very close ratio, with the CP-CW251WN sitting close to the projector screen. In fact, it is so short, it’s perfect for tabletop use if that’s what you want this projector for. There are ultra-short projectors with a closer ratio, such as the Hitachi CP-AW3506, but the projection quality isn’t as high as with the CP-CW251WN.

In terms of connectivity, there’s plenty of options here including Wi-Fi, LAN and USB. There’s no Bluetooth, which is a shame, but you can use USB Type A to connect a tablet or smartphone to the projector and run videos on it.

The icing on the cake for the Hitachi CP-CW251WN is the 3 ½ year projector and lamp warranty. It comes with its own remote control (with batteries) and a handy PC setup CD which is curiously missing from most modern projector packages. Overall, you really can’t go wrong with it. It’s a great projector.