Dell S718QL 4K UHD Laser Projector Review – Performance

Dell S718QL 4K UHD Laser Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise

Brightness

This Dell laser projector is bright!  Not only is it spec’d very nicely bright at 5000 lumens, but our measurements found it to easily beat that in its brightest mode (named Bright), which measured 6662 lumens.  The S718QL’s “best” mode (best picture quality), by comparison was slightly less than half as bright.  In between are Presentation and Movie modes, similar in brightness (both about 20% less bright than Bright mode.

Editor’s note: We find measuring the brightness any ultra short throw projector – including this Dell S718QL, to be a real challenge due to the severe angles involved.  For that reason, consider our published lumen numbers to be less accurate than with traditional, longer throw projectors. In this case, I’m assuming we are accurate to about +/- 10%, but the margin of error might be a little greater than that. -art

These measurements were taken with the laser light engine at full power on its laser light engine.  Custom seems to start with measurements that indicate (within the margin of error) that it’s the same as Presentation mode.

Color Mode Lumens Color Temp of White
Bright 6662 7194K
Presentation 5330 8984K
Movie 5102 6389K
sRGB 2970 6649K
Custom 5330 9067K

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE Custom Mode (mid zoom & eco lamp)

3579 @ 8823K – This equates to a 33% drop off in lumen output vs high bulb.

(5330 high vs 3579 low)

Contrast

Overall, the contrast and resulting affect on images (primarily) but also everything else (text, presentation materials, etc.), is typical for a good business/education projector.  Contrast specs are all over the place, and I mentioned contrast previously in terms of black levels.  Having a laser light engine offers some ways to improve the picture in terms of contrast but this Dell doesn’t take advantage.  A laser engine can do black frames – that is, if the image is supposed to be black – all pixels at value 0, the laser engine can turn itself off, because it can turn off and on extremely quickly.  This saves some energy,

An even better solution is to have the laser engine constantly brightening or dimming as needed in the same fashion that a dynamic iris opens and closes, which is a great way to overall lower black levels. Sure, these improvements are more beneficial to home theater use, than the average business or education application, but there are lots of specialty applications where darker richer “blacks” are desired, so having these abilities built into this Dell would have been a significant plus for some users.

Still, for normal use, no complaints.

IN the image below, the Dell is hitting the 100″ Screen Innovations UST, light rejecting screen while lights are on, and plenty of light coming in from the large window.  In such situations, ambient light washes out the bulk of the difference between projectors with great vs. typical real world contrast.

The Dell S718QL has no problem handling this very bright room, on a 100" UST type screen

Audible Noise

I have previously commented on the audible noise levels.  I’ll repeat and expand here.

This Dell is reasonably quiet.  it’s 36 db claim at full power is on the low end of noise claimed by most business projectors. (Really big commercial projectors do get a lot louder – 45 db not uncommon – but are in much larger rooms.)  For perspective, almost all home theater and home entertainment projectors – at full lamp/laser power, tend to be between 28 and 34 db.

This Dell, being ultra short throw, and sitting right under or above the screen, has the additional benefit of being further away from the audience than a projector on a conference room table.

Bottom line; Reasonably quiet, and in typical settings, quieter than most traditional business and education projectors.  AKA – I’m pleased with the limited audible noise.

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