CL720D LED Projector Review and Speaker Placement
$183 on Gearbest.com
Excelvan CL720D LED Projector
HDMI + USB support
Inbuilt stereo speakers, quite rare to see in projectors
All plastic design
Fan noise becomes noticeable during silent scenes
Stereo audio output, 5.1 would have been convenient
Slight blurring on corners, becomes noticeable while displaying text
Manual focus and zoom
Often times, we need larger screens. The huge 60″ or more screen sizes need you to vomit upwards of $2000 but you also get that cool 4K resolution. A lower resolution will always cost a little less. If you are okay with a 1080p resolution and huge screen size you can settle the deal for a lower price by buying a nice little projector.
The Excelvan CL720D projector is of a complete plastic construction. The type of plastic used seems to be okay but feels cheap. After all, the projector we are talking about is cheap. The plastic body should be good as long as you are not dropping the projector from heights. On the front is the adjustable lens mechanism that allows to adjust the focus and projection size. The good thing is, the lens has a extended barrel which prevents unwanted refractions from the lens from spreading out in all unwanted directions.
There are 2 USB connectors at the back and an HDMI connection where you can feed the video signal to the projector. There are a bunch of RCA connectors for audio and SD video in case you want to do that.
The projector also has adjustable front stud to adjust the elevation. If you need to have the screen and the projector too close to each other, you can do so and need not worry about the projection becoming a keystone. You can adjust the keystone and have a perfectly rectangular projection. From what I could find, the projector is available in black and white colour options.
The cooling fans on this projector are silent and unnoticeable during a movie or a game. But, you will notice their noise during silent scenes. Although that should not be a big deal to many, but it can be annoying to some.
The Projector in-use
You can use this projector in a few different ways. If you are going to place it in your office conference room, it is going to be of great benefit. Firstly, when you want to give presentations and want to get started immediately upon entering the room, all you need to do it connect your phone (with OTG) to the projector and run the presentation on the phone. The controls in this setup will be easier to play with and you would not need any additional Bluetooth remote control to jump to next slide.
Second best thing about this projector, which I have not come across many projectors on the market is the inbuilt stereo speakers. A total of 10W (2 x 5W) can be pumped from the internal speakers and they offer quite good sound quality. I would not say that it is the best sound ever, but in a space crammed conference room this can be of great use since, the need to install separate speakers is eliminated. I would not recommend the internal speakers while watching an HD movie. In that case you should be ready to spend some money on a decent 2.1 channel or 5.1 channel surround sound setup. We will get to this later.
Having an HDMI input port is of great use. You can plug in a Chromecast or even plug in the Intel Compute Stick into this projector and have an experience of running Windows or Linux in a minimal hardware setup. This is once again useful if office setup or while hosting a soccer party at home.
One flaw that becomes noticeable while running non-video applications is the blurring near the corners. This does not seem to cause any annoyance while watching movies or sport games, but definitely stretches the text in the corners while projecting presentations or documents. I would not say that it destroys the text completely, it is just the lower corners that get affected and it is very minor.
Second problem becomes apparent when you actually setup the projector and miss the functionality of having remote control zoom and focus. Thirdly, the brightness is fixed and cannot be changed! Nevertheless, the image projection quality is above average and that may be enough to win your hearts.
CL720D comes with a digital TV tuner which is quite okay to use, but for true HD you should plug in that HDMI input. You can also go for the CL720 which has PAL/NTSC TV tuner but do not expect HD video while using that.
The audio setup entirely depends on what you have in your mind and where it will be used. If it is for conference rooms at your office space, the stereo speakers should be just fine, whereas to address a large audience, you need a separate pair of speakers that can handle high power levels. Most conference rooms are properly wired and have a bunch of speakers placed in the room. This can not only be used in offices but classrooms are also another area of use.
In order to setup the audio you can do it in two ways. If you have HDMI source, plug that into the projector and there will be stereo output that can be fed to your speakers or amplifiers if you need to boost the levels. Unfortunately, you can only have stereo output in this method and that can set you back from having a cool home theatre with surround sound. To do that, you can simply connect an optical audio cable directly from a computer to your surround sound system. You can also use a PS3 or XBOX One instead of a computer. But, if you want a surround sound from a Chromecast, Intel Compute Stick or even better, an Easycast you will need to use some kind of HDMI receiver that will extract the surround sound audio channels and give them out on audio jacks and stream the video to the projector. These HDMI receivers are not cheap and will add up in the overall cost of your setup. If you are really serious about your audio, then go ahead and look at Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040 HDMI receiver that has up to a whopping 9.2 surround sound output and cost equally whopping $2000! On a little lower price range, Yamaha RX-V577 gives 7.2 channel surround sound output, similarly, Sony STRDN1050 also has some great features that let you play with the individual audio channels and both of them are priced in the sub $500 range. All 3 of these receivers have some crazy specifications and features that can pull this article for several pages. We will keep that for sometime later.
If this was a HDTV, we could have access to the optical output port on that TV which can be plugged straight into your surround sound receiver. This projector simply does not support that.
Now comes the time to talk about the speakers because you can only do so much with the internals and they are not even that great! We have talked about some high quality surround sound setup in the past. The Q Acoustics 3000 Series cinema pack has a bunch of nice speakers for the different surround sound channels that can work extremely well with this projector. In fact, if you are not spending some chunk of money of surround sound speaker setup, you will be missing out on the crazy theatrical experience that you can have at your house. Adding a separate projector screen and having surround sound speakers placed in the room is enough to make one feel as if you are sitting in a preview theatre.
We also mentioned about the Q Acoustics Media 4 Soundbar in one of our past review articles and that could also work quite well with this projector setup.
Care to be taken
It is all great to have a nice little surround sound setup with a white screen and projector setup. Before making the purchase, make sure you actually have a big enough room to spread out all the equipment. If you plan on placing the white screen at the end of your narrow room and later come to realise that it is too narrow that there is no place left to position your speaker towers, it will be a waste of time. Visualise all the speaker placements and the screen placements before you actually make any purchase. Do not be over-confident about yourself. It is always better to take measurements and create a rough plan.
The projector is quite inexpensive being priced at $183 on Gearbest.com and having capability of projecting HD video with diagonal length of 260 inches at a distance of 3.4 meters. It should last for at least 2 to 3 years of daily usage before going out of commission. The projector itself is not that expensive, but the surround sound setup will cost your more and you should not compromise on that. Even if the projector fails in 2-3 years, good quality speakers will last for another decade to come.
I was skeptical at first but after 2 weeks am still impressed and use it regularly.
I was pleased to see how good a picture it can actually put out even at 110"
Focus is generally fine, but can suffer a little around the edges if the projector is not at its optimum position
800 line resolution means it can easily handle 720p, many other projectors are only 600 lines.
• Interface : 2*HDMI(Support 1.1-1.3), 2*USB ports, VGA (PC), YPbPr, Composite A/V, Audio out(L/R) ,Analog TV built-in
• Imaging Technology: TFT- Single LCD Panel
• Brightness/Lumens: 3000lumen
• Native Support Resolution: 1280x800
• Maximum Resolution: 1080P
• Viewable Size: 25''-260''
• Best image Size : 50''-150''
• Contrast Ratio: 2000:1
• Displayable Colors : 16.7 million, 24-bit RGB
• Video Compatibility: PAL (SECAM/NTSC )
• Digital Input: HDMI input for true digital connections from both PC or video sources
• USB Support : 2.0 High Speed input , support 1080P picture ,Video, Audio format
• Projection Method :Front, Rear, Ceiling Mount, Table Top
• Image Zoom: electronic horizontal and vertical flip;
• OSD Language : Total 22 languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, Finnish ,Swedish ,Hungarian, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Croatian , Polish, Czech, Romanian, Slovene, Serbian, Japanese) Can add any language as customer require
• Noise Level (STD/Bright): <28db (Low noise)
• Power Supply : AC 90-240V, 50-60Hz
• Dimensions (W x H x D) :320*255*115mm