Planar 7060 Projector Review - General Performance
User Memory Settings
Lens Throw and Lens Shift
SDE and Rainbow Effect
Audible Noise Levels
Lamp Life and Replacement
Projector Screen Recommendations
Planar 7060 Projector: Menus
We'll start off with the menu structure, which I really like. Basically Planar crams most of the image controls onto a single large Image menu. About the only downside of doing it this way, is that the menu itself is very large, and can be a bit of a problem when having it open and trying to adjust the image using something that is partially covered by the menu. I should note you can control the level of transparency of the menu. The medium selection I chose was too transparent for very "busy" scenes, which I avoided for the menu shots.
Here's the Image Menu:
Navigating is straight forward. One minor complaint. With certain inputs, certain controls don't function, which is normal. With most projectors, when a control isn't going to be usable, it's usually grayed out or not present. With the Planar, it still looks normal, so you might think you can adjust it. An example above would be the Color Tint and Saturation controls, which are not operable with an HDMI inputs, but look as "active" as, say, Brightness and Sharpness.
Of particular note on the Image menu are the Color Temperature, and Gamma controls. The Color Temp controls are reasonably accurate, with 6500K being the ideal choice for movie watching.
Gamma gives you three options that you might not be sure which is best for which type of viewing - Film, Video and Cinema. Per the manual,
I find it very handy to see, and be able to adjust almost all the image controls from a single menu. A few items are missing, however, for example advanced color controls (separate R,G,B gain and offset) are on their own User Color Menu, shown here:
The Display Menu, below:
Of note, the Display menu has the white peaking control (0-100) mentioned in the fix. Also, the overscan control.
The Advanced menu (above, has the three lamp brightnes options (eco, normal, and boost), menu controls and the save memory options. as well as power options.
The service menu, below, is mostly an Info menu, providing status, including lamp usage (and reset).
Again, overall, I like the menu layout - with limited menus to choose from almost everything is extremely accessable.
Planar 7060 User Memory Settings
The 7060 has 3 user memory settings. The manual doesn't mention that they are source specific (or much at all, about them). Assuming not, 3 is about the minimum number of acceptable memory settings, so not too bad, but a couple extra ones would be nice for those that may want to set a number of presets for brighter ambient light, lower levels, etc.
Planar 7060 Remote Control
The Planar remote is just fine. It is what I would call a compact remote, strangely extremely light, and blue LED backlit. The identifiers on the keys are a little tough to read with the backlight, but doable. There aren't that many controls, so this is a remote that most people will know their way around within a couple of weeks.
My one complaint is right below the on and off buttons at the top. There are five Source buttons, and I can't fathom why they aren't labeled HDMI, DVI, etc., instead of 1...5. I realize that there are more than 5 inputs, but other remotes double up, or they could have had another two buttons.
After those two issues it's a good compact remote. The four arrow keys and center Enter, are reasonably well spaced, and Menu and Exit are in logical spots to the lower left and right.
Following that a row with the three user savable settings, and a row with contrast, brightness, and aspect ratio, are two more rows - Gamma, Overscan, and Keystone. The last row has auto setup, a video mute (labeled Blank) and
Planar 7060 Lens Throw and Lens Shift
As mentioned on the overview, the zoom lens is a 1.16:1 ratio, which is minimal. For a 100" screen that's as close as 13 feet 2 inches or as far back as 15 feet 3 inches (from screen to lens). There is no adjustable lens shift. The lens offset is listed as 128 degrees. I have emailed Planar for clarification as to their method of measure. The offset definitely isn't as great as on some of the DLP's like the Optoma HD70 and HD72, and the similar Mitsubishi HD1000U and HC3000. All and all, this is a projector primarily designed for ceiling mount, or a table, not rear shelf.
Planar 7060 SDE and Rainbow Effect
The Planar projector has a 5X color wheel, making the rainbow effect an issue only for a very small percentage of people, probably just a few percent, although I have never seen an official number.
As to Screen Door Effect, the 7060 projector is a typical 720p DLP projector. Most people will find pixels unnoticeable most of the time seated about 1.3x the screen width. At those distances you are likely to only notice pixels in things like credits in movies, large stationary bright areas (such as a cloud), or signage (like the score and other overlays for sports), and then, mostly if looking for it. Most of the time, most people at those distances just wont notice anything. For those really pixel adverse, try 1.5x - 1.6x screen width.
If you have a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen 1.3x screen width works out to about 9.5 feet back.
To take a look, and compare the pixel structure, and sharpness, click on the thumbnail below, for an extreme closeup of my cable guide on the Planar
Click on this second thumbnail for a similar image from the LCD based Sanyo PLV-Z5:
And, lastly here's the pixel structure and sharpness from the 1080p BenQ W10000:
Planar 7060 Light Leakage
A small amount of light leaks out the vent grates on the sides, and is apparently designed to make the projector look cool. This is not enough light to pose any issue. Of more concern is light leaking out the lens, as seen in this image below. The good news is that the amount is very dim, only likely to be seen when the projector is on, and no source or a completely black scene is up. The image below, the "bright" rectangle is actually the small amount of light coming out with a black image. As you can see that is many times brighter than the leakage above. Interesting, but not a problem.
Planar 7060 Audible Noise Levels
Interesting, I looked high and low, data sheets, manual, could not find a posted spec for noise levels. The good news is that the Planar 7060 is a bit quieter than most DLP projectors.
Just as interesting, all three modes - Eco, Normal, and Boost, for the lamp, have the fan, and therefore the noise level unchanged. I would guess that the 7060 is about 30 db, or a bit less. which is about typical for eco modes, and quieter than most DLP's do in full power (usually 31 - 34 db. The only downside, the overall noise does seem to have a bit of a high pitched whine from the color wheel (or a fan). Because the overall noise level is fairly low, this should not be an issue. It is certainly less intrusive than the fan noise of the Optoma or Mitsubishi DLP projectors previously mentioned.
Planar 7060 Projector Brightness
The nature of things, these days, is that DLP projectors are typically brighter in "best" modes, than LCD projectors, but the brightest LCD projectors, in their brightest (and least color accurate modes, tend to be a notch brighter than most DLP projectors.
That general description holds for the Planar 7060. In its "best" mode - low power, Color Temp set to 6500K and gamma set to Cinema, the 7060 cranks out a measured (and very impressive, 592 lumens! Changing the lamp setting to normal, increases brightness to 649 lumens, and Boost 777 lumens (about 31% brighter than eco mode).
In addition, I pushed contrast (to 81) and brightness (68) a bit still yielding a very watchable image, and in boost mode, I was able to measure a very satisfactory 904 lumens.
I tried two other Color Temp settings - 7500K and 9000K expecting brighter measurements, but instead found that 7500K yielded a few lumens (7) less than 6500K measured, and 9000K dropped even further, down to 530 lumens (from 592 lumens). go figure!
All in all, the Planar would have to be considered a fairly bright DLP projector, and it has particularly good brightness in best mode. I used Normal, Cinema, and 6500K to fill my 128" Firehawk for movie watching, and the Planar 7060 was up to the task. While it won't begin to match the brighter LCD projectors, or even the brightest DLP projectors in output in lower quality modes, the roughly 900 lumens is still very respectable for tackling a bit of ambient light, for watching HDTV, sports, etc. In this regard, it's not too dissimilar from my BenQ PE8720's performance (with Iris open). The BenQ can muster a few more lumens in brightest mode, and a few less, in best mode, but they are close in this regard.
7060 Lamp Life and Replacement
Planar lists a 4000 hour life in Eco mode. They do not provide lamp life ratings for Normal, or Boost modes. Trying to guess would be foolish, but I will, anyway. Boost mode, which probably is overdriving the lamp - maybe 1500 hours, and maybe 2500 hours for normal (based on the 4000 for eco). That's not based on anything strictly scientific, there just isn't enough information to really know for sure.
To replace the lamp, the projector, if ceiling mounted, will have to be unmounted to gain access to the lamp door on the bottom. (That is the rule, rather than the exception, in under $3000 projectors.)
Planar 7060 Projector Screen Recommendations
Very good black levels allow the projector to work well with small gain white surfaces like the Stewart Studiotek 130, Carada Brilliant White, and similar surfaces, as well as with standard matte white screens. At the same time, my Firehawk (light gray, high contrast, with gain) worked well with the projector in my theater. For those of you with larger screens (say 110" or larger, the black levels should be suitably low enough to make the white gain surfaces, probably the best choice (unless you have specific ambient light fighting requirements that favor the HC grays). A Firehawk or similar HC gray surface, would be a very good choice for 110" or less, and especially for 100" or less screen sizes, as the black levels will get rather gray, on smaller screens with white surfaces.
Planar 7060 Calibration
Due to the issues with this pre-production projector, I didn't do all the white balance adjustments I normally measure and adjust - I'll save that for the "rematch" when they send me a production unit.
I did, however do most of the usual measurements. I found at Eco and Normal lamp settings, with the Color Temp set for 6500K, that the Planar 7060's measured color temperature is a little warmer (lower - redish) than 6500K. In fact white measured 6212K. What is impressive, is that there is virtually no color temperature variation between:
100IRE (white) - 6212K
80IRE (light gray) 6159
50IRE (medium gray) 6246
30IRE (dark gray) 6227
It is rare to see a projector that measures from 30IRE to 100IRE staying within 100K, even on far more expensive projectors.
There was virtually no shift in color temperature between the Eco and normal Settings. Setting Lamp mode to boost, did cool the color temperature rather nicely, to an almost ideal 6571K at 100IRE.
In Eco mode, using the 7500K setting brought white (100IRE) up to 6885K (still better for movies, than HDTV). Resetting color temp to 9000K yielded a 100IRE measurement of 8203K (pretty good for HDTV/sports)...
No noteworthy problems here. I used the Silcon Optics HQV test disk, the 7060 performed very well on jaggie tests, was very good on most noise, a trifle slow on the motion artifact test panning the empty seats in a NASCAR stadium), and handled normal cadances fine, but had problems with some of the usually difficult ones. Overall, its a slightly less noisy DLP projector in this regard, than most in its price range or below. On fixed scenes that look like still type photo images, it is still noisier, though, than most LCD projectors.
OK that was a lot to digest. The next section warranty, will, by comparison, only set you back about 30 seconds or so. Next....