Showing at Infocomm: The Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector – Model S718QL

Front side view of the Dell 4K UHD Laser Projector

Dell just announced what should be an impressive new projector, the S718QL, or more intelligently, the Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector.

At Infocomm I’ll definitely check out the Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector, as it is likely to be our first chance to review a 4K UHD projector with this combination of attributes: 4K UHD support, HDR, and an Ultra Short Throw design (UST).The MSRP of this Dell projector is $5999.

Photo of The Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector
Meet The Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector, a well endowed ultra short throw projector.

The Dell Advanced Laser Projector claims plenty of brightness – 5000 lumens. That should do a fine job in

small to medium classrooms or conference rooms. It likely can tackle even larger rooms when paired with a good screen specifically designed for ultra short throw projectors, with an ALR (light rejecting) design.

Information

The projector itself sits as close as 4 inches from the screen. AT it’s maximum distance 9 inches, it can create it’s largest image, 130” diagonal! (Those distances, are, of course, from the back of the projector – which sits closest to the screen.)

The Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector (S718QL) can not only be used wall or ceiling mounted above, and on a table top below, but it will work for any angle, making it a prime candidate for digital signage applications, and other specialty applications. Paired with the right “presentation” software, it could even be used to present vertical presentations (a tall screen, rather than a wide one) by mounting the projector to the side of the screen, half way up (either side), and rotated appropriately.

The laser engine itself is rated 20,000 hours, which is pretty typical. It basically implies that the projector will be pretty obsolete by the time the laser engine gets close to that number, assuming even 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for a decade.

Just think, a decade ago, a 5000 lumen projector was probably $20K+ and had at best, XGA resolution, no ultra short throw projectors were out there yet, and projectors back then lacked features found on even today’s sub $1000 projectors.

But, back to The Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector (S718QL)!   Dell seems to put some real thought into this, for example, most projectors have 2 HDMI, one that’s HDMI 1.4, and one that’s 2.0 with HDCP 2.2, for today’s 4K Blu-ray UHD players and more.

Dell ups that with a second HDMI 1.4. I don’t know how many reviews (a whole lot) where I mentioned that I really felt the projector manufacturers should put 3 HDMIs on. So, thanks for that.

Dell is positioning this as a business projector, and most certainly it fits the bill:

There’s a built in media player for “pc free” presentations. Hmm, I’m sure Dell hopes you’ll still buy their laptops. The media player includes support for Microsoft Office in addition to the usual video and picture formats!

The_Dell_Advanced_4K_Laser_Projector_contemporary-boardroom_1
The Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector staged in a contemporary (and cool looking) conference room.

 

It’s built with collaboration features, and, therefore, of course, advanced networking. Among the The Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector’s other talents – it can project up to four sources at once from your network – your huddle space will never be the same.

Wireless, of course, even Bluetooth audio out to work with powered Bluetooth speakers, simplifying setup. But even the internal sound should be fine for conference room and classroom, as it consists of a pair of 6 watt speakers. No, there won’t be any serious bass of course. If you need to rock the house, get some Bluetooth speakers that can do that for you.

Comment on the 4K UHD vs true 4K.  For those not familiar, TI’s new DLP chip has a true resolution – the number of discreet pixels that can hit the screen with no overlap, of 2516×1528 pixels. True 4K has pixels 1/2 the area in size, so can definitely resolve finer detail.  That helps explain why the Dell costs so much less than the typical true 4K projectors from the likes of Sony, Panasonic, Barco, Digital Projection and Christie.  True 4K projectors all do the full 3840×2160 pixels without overlap.  Definitely better.  It does bother me that in the “reviewers guide” they sent me it refers to a “true 4K viewing experience.”  I’d be a lot happier if they described it “as the next best thing to true 4K”.  Let’s see how the final brochures treat the issue.

What else can it do? Paired with the right screen this Dell would be a superb solution for Entertainment venues – bars, nightclubs, museums, restaurants, amusement parks, wherever ambient light is a problem for traditional projectors!

And here’s a thought – I had been visualizing it in sports bars, and it occurred to me that there’s a home entertainment application as well. Now I haven’t seen the The Dell S718QL in action yet – I will tomorrow at Infocomm, where it will be first shown.

Now I wouldn’t see this as a projector for a dedicated home theater – its strengths are brightness and paired with the right screen, the ability to handle a lot of ambient light – but rather, in the living room, family room, master bedroom, etc.

To judge that ability I’ll need to see it in action. The contrast specs are fine for a business projector, or for sports and general viewing, but look very low for serious movie viewing in a fully darkened room. Certainly though, my wife would prefer it to the much larger 5200 lumen Epson I have ceiling mounted in our VERY bright living room. Instead, it would just sit on the credenza just in front of where my motorized screen comes down. Yep, she’d definitely prefer that!   And, it should handle ambient light even better. ( would just “trade” my current ALR type screen for an ALR specific to UST projectors!  One last thought – this projector has HDR (High Dynamic Range) support if your content takes advantage of the significantly more pop to HDR projected images.  Not found is the support for the superior color gamut – BT2020, that provides more intense, superior colors.  (Note, that’s not at all surprising.)

OK! That’s enough musing about The Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector in terms of it’s value in the home market.  We will provide more feedback on this, in our review!

The warranty is rather impressive! On everything but the laser engine, it’s two years with a two year replacement program (they call it Advanced Exchange Program). But, the laser engine is warrantied with the same rapid exchange, for the full 20,000 hours.  Very few solid state light engined projectors offer a warranty for the entire claimed life of the laser engine!  Kudos to Dell.

Extended warranties are available for the rest of the projector’s components, allowing the warranty to be extended by 1, 2, or 3 extra years.

Bottom Line:  There will probably be a number of other 4K UHD DLP projectors shown at Infocomm, but the Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector  one should prove to be a pretty good if not downright superior example.  It should be noted, that most of the new ones will not be UST.  If this Dell performs as expected when we review it, it should be a very serious choice if an ultra short throw is needed.  Don’t forget – no lamps to change, so that saves a lot of support time, which, of course is expensive.  -art

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