Elite Screens Kestrel 80” Diagonal Floor Rising Electric Projection Screen – Performance
6-13-2010 - Mike Rollet
Once it’s set in place and plugged in, the Elite Screens Kestrel rises smoothly into position when the “Up” button is pushed. The mechanism uses scissors-style (think car tire jack) steel parts to raise and lower the screen, which is unrolled from a tube inside the case. The top cover of the case has the screen attached to it and the scissors raise it into place. Operation is fairly quiet and the screen rises to its full height in less than 30 seconds. The screen can be stopped at any point during the raising operation. If opened fully, there is a 32” black drop below the screen surface. This puts the screen at the proper height for viewing when seated.
It should be noted that the drive motor has an overheat protection sensor. If the screen is consecutively raised and lowered within a 3-4 minute period, the motor will automatically shut-off to prevent the motor from overheating. If this happens, the user must allow 30 minutes cool-down time before resuming operation.
The Kestrel’s CineWhite screen is listed with a gain of 1.1, which is typical for a matte white screen. I compared it with my Carada Brilliant White screen, which has a listed gain of 1.4, but has been measured closer to 1.3. Taking readings of a 100 IRE (white) screen on both, the CineWhite material came in at about 1.12, which puts it right at its rating.
I then measured a 100 IRE (white) window both from the projector and the screen for the balance of red, green and blue components. The Kestrel displayed an increase in blue (not unusual for many white matte screens) of about 3%. This is not excessive and a full screen white field did not have any blue tinge to it in the projector’s THX mode. This shift toward blue was slightly more noticeable using one of the projector’s brighter settings, which tend to overemphasize blue anyway. By comparison, my Carada screen (which is one of the more neutral ones out there) actually has a reduction in blue of about 1%.
Overall, the slight blue shift of the Elite Kestrel can easily be accounted for during calibration, such that the resulting image will look no different than it does on the Carada.
The screen uses the cord-type tensioners normally found in motorized wall screens. These cords are attached via loops at various points along the screen’s height to keep horizontal tension on the screens, thus minimizing any distracting “waves” in the screen surface. While our test unit still had a few small waves along the top edge of the screen, it wasn’t noticeable in normal viewing and will likely tend to smooth out further the longer the screen remains fully open. I also saw one of the non-tensioned Kestrels and it had some noticeable (albeit small) waves in the screen surface. For that reason, I would highly recommend paying the extra money for the tensioned version, especially if the screen is going to be used for a home theater.
Uniformity and Overall Image Quality
Placing the Kestrel in front of my wall-mounted Carada Brilliant White screen for comparison, I fired up my Epson 8500UB and projected a full screen image. The Kestrel did a fine job with a variety of Blu-ray material, both movies and test disks. The CineWhite screen material had a very natural appearance and under normal viewing the slight leaning toward blue was not noticeable. Overall, the Kestrel screen did not noticeably appear to favor any particular color. There was no noticeable grain or other visible indication of the screen surface and the few aforementioned waves one the top right edge of the screen surface were a non-factor.The Kestrel displayed a bright, clean image from any normal viewing distance. As you would expect from what is essentially a neutral gain screen, there is no hot-spotting and the viewing angle was quite wide. I’m not sure you’d want to watch it at the extremes of its claimed 160 degree viewing angle, but it’s just fine at the normal limits of 120 degrees.
NEXT: Kestrel warranty