Panasonic PT-AR100U Review
First off, let me say for $1,000… I LOVE this projector! The color, sharpness, and brightness of this projector are fantastic. Not to mention there is virtually ZERO lag time while gaming. I played some Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Battlefield: Bad Company, Left 4 Dead, and The Sims 3 on the PC. On the PS3 I played Brutal Legend and Fight Night Champion. Everything looked great, the only knock I can give this projector is the black level isn’t going to knock your socks off, but it is VERY acceptable. Keep in mind I am coming from an Epson 8700UB, which is over twice the price of the Panasonic PT-AR100U.
I found the color was what I would like to call more “real world”. The Epson gives a dramatic “pop” to the color, which is a little over the top. I also watched about 20 minutes of Gamer, Knowing, Star Wars, and Return of the Jedi on Blu-ray. I wanted to experience all aspects of how this projector would perform in a non-theater environment. While watching Star Wars, and Return of the Jedi I found the color was more believable, and realistic. I did miss the black levels of my Epson 8700UB though. I have beige walls, and ceiling. I also deal with ambient light, which this projector had no issues handling.
I would buy this projector in a second, especially with the street price of $999.99. I haven’t seen anything in this price range that has impressed me as much as the PT-AR100U. It is one of the best bargains out there, I was even debating on buying one as a secondary projector…not that I need one. LOL. If you are looking for a gaming projector, and/or to use in a living room/family room environment, then you found it. It has everything you would ever want, at a super low price. Well, let’s get to the meat of things:
Virtually no lag for gaming (see lag tests here)
Very good, natural color
Very bright (link to lumen output here)
Street price of $999.99 (AMAZING!!!)
Great remote – brightly lit buttons and not too large
Very good build quality, very solid
Great placement flexibility, horizontal and vertical lens shift
Black levels aren’t bad, but could be better
No 3D, if that’s your thing
One year warranty, but this is a budget projector
A bit on the noisy side, but that’s what surround sound at loud volume is for…right?
As Art stated in his review under the light leakage section here, there was a dust blob visible on black screen. I thought it was the black out cloth I was using for a screen, but alas it was a dust blob. It may have just been an issue with this particular unit, it wasn’t noticeable once I was watching a movie, or gaming.
If you are a gamer on a budget, this is the projector for you. If you are the dad (or mom) on a budget that wants to impress his (or her) kids with a huge screen for family night movies, then this projector is for you. A sports fan who likes to have a lot of friends over with the lights on to watch the game, this one’s for you.
I will suggest an extended warranty, as this only has a one year warranty. If you are really on a budget, at least get a third party lamp warranty. Most of them cover two lamp replacements, and are available for about $80-$100 which covers a three year period. Just make sure you buy through a reputable retailer.
I am giving this projector an award, because I am amazed at what you get in this projector for $999.99. I am as cheap as they come, and I think this projector is worth every damn penny! I bestow upon the PT-AR100U, my More Bang For Your Buck award!