The Casio Core XJ-V1 projector was launched mid 2015 as an extremely affordable XGA LED projector. LED projector technology is an area Casio has both invested in and pioneered, so I was very interested to see what they could achieve in an entry level device.
Editor's message: The Casio Core XJ-V1 currently has a £50 trade in offer (until 31st March 2016). You can claim £50 for trading in an old lamp projector for every Core XJ-V1 you purchase - find out more »
The Core is a lightweight projector with a pleasing rounded design. As already mentioned, the Casio Core uses LED technology as its lamp which, according to the spec sheet, produces a brightness of 2700 lumens, which on paper is brighter than several of Casio’s other offerings. The lens is set back into the side of the projector with the zoom and focus rings just behind which, like most lower end projectors, are manually controlled. The specs of the projector show a small zoom range which is noticeable in the shortness of the lens controls. The connections provided are VGA, HDMI, audio in and out, and serial. The display resolution is 1024 x 768 pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
With a price of around half what Casio’s more premium Green Slim and Signature ranges cost you will not be surprised to know that I had set my expectations quite low. Also, as someone very familiar with lamp based projectors, I have always been unsure of using LED instead. I’ve seen the evolution and development of LED technology whilst doing lighting for various events over the past few years. Many lighting fixtures now use LED but there are still some limitations to the technology which means that many larger lights are still lamp based. So I admit that initially I was a little unsure of the Core, thinking that, given the price point, it might be a little lacking in brightness and vibrancy, but I’m happy to report that the Core thoroughly exceeded my expectations.
Switching on the Core for the first time I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of the output and any doubts about the brightness and vibrancy of LED projection I may have previously held were instantly dispelled. The projected image is clear and bright and will be crisp and visible in, say, a lit classroom. Being LED the brightness of the projected image will take much much longer to dull compared to lamp based projectors. Casio back this assertion up by providing a 10,000 hour/5 year warranty on all of their LED projectors, light sources included. This is a great selling point of the Core and the rest of Casio’s range as there are no ongoing replacement lamp costs which makes the cost of ownership much lower.
I feel I am well on the way to recommending the Casio Core as a great entry level projector at a fantastic price, but in the interests of objectivity, I’d like to point out a few limitations. The zoom range is quite small (it sits more or less in the middle of what many of the other Casio projectors offer), so the Core will not be appropriate for all throw distances. If you are mounting in a security cage be aware that with the wrong cage the beam projected from the set-back lens can catch the edges of the enclosure, casting a shadow on the image (If you are wanting to mount the Core in a cage I recommend the RA Casio XJ-V1 Core Entrapment Cage from RA Technology (RA-Cent-XJ-V1). RA manufacture several mounts designed for the Casio Core enabling it to be easily mounted. The RA brackets are well made and sensibly priced making this a great solution).
It is worth noting that although there is an HDMI connector the Core’s resolution is limited to 1024 x 768 pixels. For many applications this resolution is fine although some users will prefer to see a 16:9/16:10 format as this has become the standard mainly due to films and TV. Although seen as quite old-school now, I was slightly disappointed to see no standard video connections. Some education establishments will still utilise this connection for DVD players. For those looking to do a projector replacement scheme with the Core the above details could cause issues so it is worth checking your requirements beforehand and perhaps considering one of the other LED projectors from Casio’s family instead.
Casio has for me shaken up the lower end projector market with the Core. The price point Casio has put this at makes it a very affordable option when compared to a lamp based projector. When you consider Casio’s offer of £50 trade in for your old lamp based projector (currently available until 31st March 2016 - read more) when buying the Core, the net cost makes it just about the best entry level projector deal on the market. Would I buy this projector myself? The truth is yes I would. The Core is a brilliant projector; like everything it has its positives and negatives, yet the price and the long term cost of ownership make this projector a great purchase.