Projector Reviews

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Michael Hamilton  |  May 22, 2024  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Accurate color out of the box
User-friendly auto-geometry set-up adjustments
Movie-friendly Dolby Vision and HDR
Another amazing autofocus application
Unique hybrid laser/LED light engine
Minus
Image size relies principally on physical placement
Sub-class-leading contrast
Ergonomic quirks that should long be resolved
Mediocre remote, lacks backlighting
In the room-to-room category, but handle-free

THE VERDICT
As Larry David often says in Curb Your Enthusiasm: “Pretty good…pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.” Balancing most aspects critical to me and fancying the Horizon Ultra, I would tend to echo Larry. You may like this projector for your intended use as well. Ultimately, though, after a solid month of steady use, just enough fell slightly outside the bullseye, particularly a less-than-ideal contrast ratio but also a few grating ergonomics that, for now, my AMEX will remain at its zero balance.

A self-described purveyor of “smart projectors and laser TVs,” Xgimi may not be the first brand name mentioned in answer to a man-on-the-street projector query. Though Internet forum gurus and YouTube influencers have done much to espouse Xgimi’s evolutionary stable of products, I am willing to wager that the name still escapes a majority of S&V readers.

Michael Hamilton  |  Apr 24, 2024  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Wide color gamut
Superb lens with state-of-the-art autofocus
Auto keystone correction
Comprehensive suite of non-global calibration controls
Stylish, conversation-starting design
Minus
Physical placement determines image size
Input lag is tolerable only for casual gaming
Lacks codecs like VVC likely to be used with future 8K content
No carrying handle

THE VERDICT
A quality 300" image from a grab-n-go projector? You’ll have fun, fun, fun until daddy takes the C1 away! (Humblest apologies to Brian Wilson and Mike Love).

Always up for a projector review, I quickly responded, “Send it my way!” when asked about the Hisense C1, though admittedly, at the time, I was unfamiliar with this new model. Having previously reviewed the UST Hisense PX1-Pro and been impressed by its triple-laser light engine—giving it an S&V Top Pick—I was keen to explore any advances made by the self-proclaimed pioneer in Laser TV in the dynamically evolving projector technology category.

Mark Henninger  |  Apr 03, 2024  |  0 comments

Home theater comes in many shapes and sizes, but one constant is that it could be a more portable experience. But it’s not impossible! Elite recently sent an ezCinema Tab-Tension CineGrey 4D screen to evaluate, which is an excellent match for an Anker Nebula Mars 3 projector ($1,099) that I have on hand. The Mars 3 has a built-in battery with up to five hours of playtime, although using the projector at its full light output lowers that to around two hours.
Andy Grimm  |  Feb 21, 2024  |  3 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Vertical and horizontal lens shift
Very good pre and post calibration
4LED means no laser speckle
Rich with features

Minus
Disappointing contrast performance
Lackluster sharpness and focus uniformity
Fan noise is loud at full brightness
WCG filter cuts light and disables dynamic contrast

THE VERDICT
The BenQ HT4550i takes a valiant swing at making a home theater but is held back by its limited contrast. Outstanding pre and post calibration performance, 2D lens shift, and an included Android TV streamer make it one of the easiest projectors to set up and use. While not a true home theater projector the BenQ HT4550i makes a strong case for a media room environment.

The home theater projector market is undergoing a major transformation. Lamp-based projectors are being replaced by solid-state projectors. BenQ is a unique company in this market, as it primarily uses 4LED technology instead of the single or multi-laser setups that are becoming more common.

Mark Henninger  |  Nov 22, 2023  |  5 comments
In just a few short years the home projector landscape has undergone a radical revolution in terms of price and selection. There's the proliferation of UST (ultra-short-throw) DLP projectors with laser light sources over the past few years. Even more recently, a new breed of compact and powerful "lifestyle" standard-throw models has emerged. These produce bright and sharp images, often with a level of fidelity previously unimaginable at their price point.
Michael Hamilton  |  Nov 15, 2023  |  2 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,749

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright image with proper screen pairing
Low gaming lag
Portability
Quiet Operation

Minus
Placement woes with short-throw lens
Throw-away audio
Manual Focus
HDMI 2.0 only
Ineffective CMS

THE VERDICT
It may be difficult to wrestle it away from the kids when they are gaming, however, for serious movie watching, that may not bother you. Big and bright for gaming, there are better options from Optoma for cinema-centric viewers.

Optoma boasts of being both the top 4K UHD projector brand globally and the number one Digital Light Processing (DLP) brand in the United States for 2022, citing the PMA Research Worldwide Projector Census, making the company no stranger to the world of projected light.

Mark Henninger  |  Feb 21, 2023  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $6,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Accurate colors
Laser light source
2,000 ANSI lumens
Native 4K
X1 Ultimate for Projector processor
Attractive price

Minus
Manual lens adjustment
Lens could be sharper
Does not cover DCI/P3 gamut
No 3D support
Lacks HDMI 2.1

THE VERDICT
Sony changed up the recipe for its most affordable native 4K home theater projector. The laser light source is a huge plus, as is the X1 Ultimate for Projector processor, but the new lens has limitations compared to the the model it replaces.

Long live home theater! That's the first thought that came to mind after I set up Sony's latest and most affordable native 4K projector. And the main new feature is all about long life, 20,000 hours worth thanks to a new laser light source. As a matter of fact, Sony no longer sells any bulb-based 4K home theater projectors, the entire lineup is now lit by lasers.

Mark Henninger  |  Jan 13, 2023  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,499 (without screen)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Sits close to wall
Very bright
Low input lag
No rainbow effect
Accurate colors
Minus
Limited color gamut
Can't be calibrated
No HDMI 2.1
2-way pixel shift
No 3D

THE VERDICT
Serving up to 150 inches of viewing, Epson's new triple-LCD UST blows away the UST competition with its category-leading high brightness and easy placement. It's a do-it-all display equally happy to serve up TV, streaming shows, live sports, video games, and 4K movies.

The ultra-short-throw projector category is where all the action is these days when it comes to home entertainment projection. You'll find both name-brand TV makers and brands you've never heard of battling it out for a spot in your living room. But here's the thing: A UST can do both TV and home theater projector-like things. And in some ways, it's a whole new animal.

Michael Hamilton  |  Sep 22, 2022  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Ultra-wide color gamut
Terrific lens for impressive focus
Built-in (ATSC 1.0) tuner
Minus
No dynamic tone mapping
Netflix not part of the Android bundle
Tuner doesn’t support ATSC 3.0

THE VERDICT
With its onboard streaming capability and TV tuner, the Hisense PX1-Pro comes about as close as you can to the proverbial “Home Theater in a Box” concept—one that that lets you savor big-screen fun without leaving home.

Hisense is known by Sound & Vision cognoscenti as a brand taking ambitious steps to spotlight itself as an innovator in leading-edge television technologies with pricing it terms affordable. For those who do not peruse our pages, the Hisense name may be more closely identified with refrigerators and other home appliances. But as a manufacturer in the consumer electronics space, especially one in the business of making flat-panel televisions and projectors, you can legitimately claim to "have arrived" when your products occupy rack space in Costco alongside the best-known brands in TV.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 18, 2022  |  12 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $7,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Deep blacks
Exceptional resolution
Dynamic tone mapping
Minus
So-so remote control
Dense owner's manual

THE VERDICT
With its exceptional overall performance, JVC's DLA-RS1100 projector defines the law of diminishing returns where increasingly subtle improvements command dramatically higher prices.

True native 4K projectors have only been widely available — and reasonably affordable — for the past few years. Prior to that, most home projectors used a process called "pixel shifting" to produce 4K images: A 2K imaging device first presents half of the pixels in each 4K frame, shifts the image by less than the distance of a single pixel, and then displays the other half of the pixels. All of the pixels in the 4K source appear on screen — just not at the same time. The shift takes place so rapidly that it is undetectable to the human eye.

Kris Deering  |  Jun 09, 2022  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Laser light engine
HDMI 2.1-compatible (4K/120Hz)
HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG support
Minus
Not native 4K
No frame-by-frame adaptive processing for HDR
No 3D Support

THE VERDICT
Offering great image punch, clarity, and good contrast, Epson's LS12000 impresses with most content, though its HDR performance is hindered by the lack of dynamic tone mapping.

After what felt like a lifetime since its last new home theater projector announcement, Epson recently launched the LS12000 4K PRO-UHD laser model. Selling at the surprisingly low retail price of $4,999, the new Epson boasts serious chops when it comes to features and specifications, and I felt fortunate to have a review sample sent my way. Let's dive in and see what this new projector brings to the home theater game.

Al Griffin  |  May 04, 2022  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive contrast
Flexible zoom and lens shift range
Built-in streaming platform with HDMI eARC
Minus
Limited brightness necessitates dark room viewing
Smart interface not for everyone

THE VERDICT
LG’s 4K laser DLP projector delivers impressive picture quality and value, but its limited brightness requires a dark room for best performance.

LG has been at the vanguard in manufacturing "smart" projectors—models that, like more traditional offerings, sit at the back of the room and beam images to a separate screen, but also provide the streaming and voice control features you'd find in any smart OLED or LCD flat-panel TV. In 2021 we reviewed the company's HU810PW ($2,999), a single-chip (0.47-inch) DLP projector that delivered 4K images via pixel-shifting. Now, we have that model's sibling, the HU710PW, a similarly featured projector that arrives with a lower 2,000 ANSI lumens brightness spec, but also a lower price ($2,499 MSRP).

Al Griffin  |  Mar 02, 2022  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent detail
Vivid color reproduction
Motorized focus, zoom, lens shift
Minus
Relatively limited light output
No dynamic iris
Basic HDR tone-mapping adjustment

THE VERDICT
Sony's entry-level full 4K projector delivers detailed, seamless images and is a great option for dedicated home movie theaters.

Sony's projector lineup is notable for its use of the company's full 4K-resolution (4,096 x 2,160-pixel) SXRD (Sony-speak for LCOS) chips. It's also been notable for featuring a 5K model—5K as in $5,000, the price for the line's entry-level projector. Back in 2021, the company replaced that model, the VPL-VW295ES, with the VPL-VW325ES, an updated version offering a few new features, though at a higher $5,499 price. Are the updates worth the extra coin? Let's find out.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 19, 2022  |  6 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Ample brightness
Contrast-boosting HDR-Pro feature
Vivid color and detail
Living room-friendly design
Minus
Wide Color Gamut filter dramatically reduces light output
Relatively high fan noise in Normal Light mode
No integrated Netflix streaming

THE VERDICT
BenQ’s first ultra short throw projector is a winner on many fronts, offering compelling brightness, vivid color, and a dynamic presentation of 4K/HDR sources.

Is there a projector maker that hasn't yet come out with an ultra short throw (UST) model aimed at viewers who want a theater-size image in their living room, but without the usual ceiling-mount and dark room baggage that accompanies it? If you asked me that question one year ago, I would have replied "BenQ." But now, with its V7050i 4K DLP Laser TV, BenQ has joined the UST projector fold, adding its name to the ranks of Sony, Epson, Optoma, Vava, Hisense, LG, Samsung, and others.

Kris Deering  |  Dec 01, 2021  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $24,999.95

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Industry leading HDR performance
Contrast improved over previous flagship models
True 8K video input and displa
Minus
Light loss in wide color gamut mode
Laser dimming needs some refinement

THE VERDICT
The DLA-NZ9 has an impressive list of features including support for true 8K and 4K/120Hz video. Its HDR performance is second to none for a projector and a new laser light engine provides a robust increase in light output along with a reduction of operating noise.

Given the current uncertain state of the world, I was truly surprised when JVC announced not one but three new projectors prior to the kickoff of CEDIA Expo 2021, an event that ended up being a pale shade of its regular self. The new JVC trio largely replaces the company's current projector lineup, offering a list of new features including a next-gen BLU-Escent laser light engine, HDMI 2.1 connectivity with full 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video input support, and HDR10+ high dynamic range.

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