Posted on November 14, 2020 By Phil Jones
Hisense 100L5F Laser TV Review – Performance: 4K SDR, 4K HDR, Game Lag, Sound Quality, Audible Noise.
The fact is most TV shows and live broadcasts will continue to be produced in HD for several more years so good 4K upscaling will continue to be important. The projector’s upscaling is excellent. Whether I was watching 720P sports from ESPN or 1080p Blu-ray content, it all looked very good. Most 4K movies do not have enough fine detail to make the difference between watching 4K SDR and HD noticeable.
The 100L5F utilizes a version of Hisense’s motion compensation system. There are four factory presets (SMOOTH, STANDARD, CLEAR and FILM) and you also have CUSTOM mode where you can make manual adjustments.
The FILM mode was designed especially for a movie shot in 24P and it eliminates 3:2 Pulldown for more cinematic motion. When viewing 30P or 60P material, the 100L5F was set to CLEAR mode and I did not notice too many motion artifacts.
While most Blu-ray UHD content is available in HDR10, a lot of 4K streaming material is still only 4K SDR. The 100L5F had no problems delivering sharp detailed 4K imagery.
Since a 4K DLP chip does not actually have 8.3 million mirrors, the 100L5F utilizes pixel (mirror) shifting to deliver the perceived sharpness of 4K resolution. This approach works very well. It is very difficult to see a difference in sharpness when comparing a 4K DLP projector like the 100L5F to a native 4K LCD/LCoS model from a normal viewing distance.
Out of the box, the 4K picture was good and after calibration, I thought the picture was even better.
4K HDR content can deliver expanded color space with better highlight and shadow detail, but even the brightest HDR projectors can struggle to faithfully reproduce HDR. In most situations, the 100L5F did a good job balancing the need to deliver respectable full screen brightness while still producing bright highlight detail.
It was only when I played content mastered above 1000nits that I felt the average frame brightness was too low. Increasing the Contrast raised the overall picture brightness, but it resulted in clipped highlights. This is a common issue with most projectors when playing HDR due to their limited brightness, so I did not expect anything different from the 100L5F. Therefore I still prefer watching many movies in SDR instead of HDR on most projectors.
The 100L5F can reproduce about 83% of the DCI-P3 color space while this less than previous Hisense Laser TVs like the 100L10E, HDR colors still appeared rich and vibrant. After calibration, skin tones were good but brighter reds were undersaturated. This was probably due to the single laser light source.
HLG is the HDR standard developed for live broadcast. Hisense added HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) to the 100L5F which wasn’t available on previous Laser TV models.
I tested 100L5F with my Bodnar Lag Tester. The lag in GAME mode for a 1080/60P source was 33.3ms. This is good for a 4K projector because it has to upscale the HD to 4K before it is displayed. Games in 4K60P will have even lower lag since no upscaling is required.
Acceptable lag times range from 16ms to 50ms so the 100L5F lag of 33ms is totally fine for everyone but the most hardcore, high-speed gamers. It translates to just over one frame behind on a 30fps game, and 2 frames on a 60fps game.
While on most Flat Panel TVs sound quality is an afterthought, Hisense worked hard to provide good sound performance. The front of the 100L5F cabinet holds a dual driver array powered by a total of 30 watts.
In addition, the 100L5F also has dbx-tv® sound processing which includes three audio features: Total Sonics processing improves vocals, improves bass, and widens the soundstage; Total Surround does a good job simulating a surround-sound experience using the 100L5F integrated speakers, and Volume processing prevents unwanted loudness changes.
The Hisense 100L5F Laser TV has one of the best sounding video displays I have ever heard. Yes, you can buy a better 3rd party sound system, but many customers used to the sound provided by most flat panel TVs would be more than satisfied with the 100L5F audio performance.
We do not measure audible noise and Hisense doesn’t list this info in their specifications. However, the 100L5F is a very quiet projector. Even with the projector set to its highest Light level, I could barely hear the unit’s fan from my sitting position during quiet scenes.
Bright HDR colors could have been better, as could the black levels, but the projector performed extremely well for an ultra-short throw projector at this price point.
Whenever I evaluate a projector’s picture, I also try to consider the unit’s likely use case. Even though the projector’s black level could be better, the 100L5F will probably be used in a room with some ambient light so the ability to reproduce ultra-deep blacks is not critical.
SDR content looked very good on my 100” Screen. Overall, I was very pleased with the picture quality of the 100L5F. It produced a bright, vivid picture that really made movies, TV shows, and live sports broadcast pop in my room.
Overall, the Hisense Laser TV provides the type of picture quality that will satisfy most of the folks considering it for their homes.
© 2019 Projector Reviews (V0625)