Samsung SP-H710AE Projector Review - Overview
10/17/2006 - Art Feierman
Beautiful! Right out of the box, the first thing you notice about the Samsung SP-H710AE home theater projector, is that the projector is physically very good looking, larger than most, and the finish is first class. The projector looks great, and feels solid, not a lightweight plastic box like most DLP home theater projectors.
The 2nd, and more important aspect of the SP-H710AE home theater projector, becomes apparent as soon as you get it hooked up and start watching your first movie.
The out of the box image quality, especially the color balance and shadow detail, is extraordinary. Samsung marketing stresses that they have gone the extra mile to create an affordable projector that approaches the natural qualities of CRT projectors. I'd have to agree, in that the image, regardless of what I watched, always tended to look just right. There are other issues, of course, including brightness and black levels - the SP-H710ae uses a Darkchip2 DLP processor, instead of the Darkchip3 found in this price range on a few competitors (notably from Optoma and BenQ), putting it at a disadvantage in terms of black levels.
Overall, though, Samsung has, in the SP-H710AE, an extremely impressive projector. We'll consider the various tradeoffs thoughout this review. To start with, let's look at the SP-H710AE's basic specifications (more available in our database). I do believe that there is a ready market for the SP-H710AE projector.
The buyers of the 710AE, I believe, will tend to be those with "purist" tendencies, who will appreciate the impressive film-like qualities of the Samsung, and who are not looking to fill large screens, or fight much ambient light. Perhaps more importantly, it will appeal to those who won't mind black levels that aren't the best in the price range, because they value the color accuracy, and naturalness of the image (right out of the box)! For all those people who can appreciate the Samsung's impressive strengths, we award it our Hot Product Award.
Samsung SP-H710AE Home theater projector basic specs:
Technology: Darkchip2 DLP
Native Resolution: 720p (1280x720)
Brightness: 700 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.3:1
Lens shift: Vertical
Lamp life: 2000 hours
Weight: 19.8 lbs.
Warranty: 2 years, parts and labor
Full specifications: SP-H710AE
SP-H710AE Physical Tour:
As usual we start from the front. As noted above, this Samsung projector is very nicely styled, and looks professional and expensive, compared to most. At almost 20 pounds, it feels solid. Facing the Samsung SP-H710AE, the large zoom lens is mounted to the right of center. In placing the projector (ceiling/tabletop/shelf) you'll have to compensate slightly so the center of lens is in line with the center of the screen. The focus and zoom rings are at the top of the lens array. The infrared sensor for the remote, and hot air exhaust are also on the front. I should note that the fan speed is not great, so if you are sitting several feet in front of the projector and slightly to the right, it shouldn't be a problem.
There are two screw thread adjustable feet at the bottom front left and right.
Moving to the top of the projector, the control panel starts right behind the lens' focus and zoom rings.
The first dial is a manual rotating control for adjusting the vertical lens shift (no horizontal lens shift) to move the image up and down on the screen so that you maintain a rectangular image without keystoning. Details in the General Performance section.
Behind that, the usual four arrow keys with a center Enter key, then the Menu button, Source button, and Power.
Moving to the back of the SP-H710ae, is the input panel. the H710AE, is fairly typical. It has a digital DVI input (instead of an HDMI), 2 component video inputs, a computer input, and the usual S-video and composite video inputs. In addition, there is an RS-232 serial port for controlling the projector from a computer or room control system. There is also a rear infrared sensor for the remote control.
There's no 12volt screen trigger. Lastly, there is the power receptacle, and a "hard" power switch, which must be on to turn on the projector from the control panel or remote.
Of course, image quality is normally the top consideration for those shopping for a home theater projector, so, that's up next in our review of the Samsung SP-H710AE home theater projector.