Runco LS-10i 3-Chip DLP Projector

Plenty of people reading this review may exhibit a rather visceral reaction to the Runco LS-10i projector’s $20,000 price. After all, the Sharp XV-Z17000 DLP projector that I reviewed in Sound+Vision’s last issue was 25% as expensive, was nearly as bright, and did 3D. So what gives? What does the extra money get you? A fair amount, it turns out.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: No one who doesn’t have money to burn is going to buy a $20K projector, nor should they. The performance of the LS-10i is not 3 times better than the JVC DLA-X7 that I reviewed in S+V’s April-May issue (read that review here). In fact, by one major metric, it’s far worse. Like Lexus is more than a Toyota in drag, and Acura isn’t just a gussied-up Honda, the LS-10i fi ts a specific niche of projector installs — and it does it well.

The LS-10i reviewed here is a standalone 3-chip DLP projector. Its almost-identical twin, the LS-10d, offloads the processing to an external box, easing many custom installations. Both are available with multiple lens options, including anamorphic, which is the first advantage of the Runco over lesser projectors. High-quality lenses can do a lot for the image, and being able to add long- or short-throw lenses for larger rooms or narrow rear projection is invaluable. (Okay, not invaluable, seeing as there’s certainly a value here.)

Setup

The LS-10i has 65% vertical and 30% horizontal lens shift available, plus whatever zoom your chosen lens offers. The menus lack flash but offer extensive adjustments for just about any option you need. The remote has a cool blue backlight, lit by pressing a glow-in-the-dark button. Too bad most customers won’t use it (instead driving the 10i with their Crestron/Control4 systems). It’s got direct access to each input, plus aspect ratio settings and lens adjustments.

The auto settings for most adjustments, like color space and gamma, were accurate and worked fine. Out of the box, the contrast was set way too high, severely crushing whites. However, as we’ll get to, this was one of the few areas where the LS-10i didn’t perform almost perfectly out of said box. 

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