Panasonic's PT-LB51E is a lightweight, slim business projector with a 4:3 aspect ratio and resolution of 1024 x 768. Designed primarily for portability, the LB51E also manages to deliver impressive image quality, and is more than capable of handling most presentation tasks. Although its small range of connection options limits its home theatre potential, it nevertheless is a well designed and highly functional business projector.
We started by testing the projector with a range of standard presentation tasks, including slideshows, images, and simple videos. Sharpness and clarity were great, and still images were clear with text easy to read. Even high resolution images didn't lose their finer detail. The one flaw we noticed was that white text, particularly on a black background, displayed some chromatic aberrations, with greens and reds leaking on the borders between the two colours. Moving text and video was clear and didn't suffer from any overt ghosting or loss of quality.
We then ran the projector through our range of DisplayMate Video Edition tests, in order to get a more specific idea of image problems. The PT-LB51E handled the vast majority of these tests excellently, with great grey levels and bright colours. We did notice the chromatic aberration again, however it appeared to be confined to horizontal lines. Otherwise, the projector handled the rest of the tests admirably, again showing its ability to reproduce high resolution images with minimal loss of detail.
Even a cursory glance at this unit shows that it's built for portability. Measuring 297x210mm (about the size of an A4 sheet of paper), and only 57mm in height, the PT-LB51E is designed to be carried around with a laptop or briefcase relatively easily. The design is compact and uniform, without protruding parts to make carrying the unit cumbersome. At 1.9kg, it's also relatively light.
The rear panel houses a limited array of connection options, including S-Video, composite, and two RGB inputs. An extra pair of audio inputs is also available for PC connection, although the size and form factor of the projector limit its inbuilt speakers from delivering massive amounts of power.
The lack of digital or high definition connections and the projector's weak speakers severely limit its home entertainment use, although it could relatively easily be used to play DVDs or standard definition digital TV. Its performance in this area is relatively average, although this can be excused due to its portability and business functionality.
The Panasonic PT-LB51E is a great business projector. A few image aberrations prevent it from being perfect, but its great handling of high resolution imagery and lightweight design make it a perfect business projector for those looking for a good combination of function and portability.