Posted on January 4, 2021 By Diane and Phil Jones
LG GRU510N Laser Projector Review – Hardware: Control Panel, Remote Control, Inputs and Connectors, Lens, Menus
The GRU510N has a smart, compact design. When facing the unit on a tabletop, the projector’s lens is located on the right side of the front panel. Adjacent to the lens on the right side of the cabinet are the power cord connection and lens shift adjustments. Cooling air intakes are also located on this side and on the front of the unit.
The back panel is dominated by the cooling exhaust as well as the combination power button/joystick for operation of all functions and the connection panel which provides all wired connectivity for Video In, Audio Out, USB, Network, and Control.
Dimensions are about: 14.6 ” wide x 6.1″ high x 11.4″ deep (cabinet only) with the lens protruding an extra 1.4″ (12.8″ total depth plus connectors). The installation weight is 21.4 pounds which allows for the use of small brackets for installation.
The rear of the projector includes a cooling exhaust, a second IR receiver complementing the one next to the lens, and all of the connections other than power. You may find the connection panel rather sparse compared to older projector design that included analog video inputs. The ProBeam doesn’t waste any space on those older connection types, your choice is limited to one of two HDMI inputs or an HDBaseT input for the same signals. VGA, Composite video, Component video, RGB or S-Video are generally unnecessary connections in today’s environments with nearly every device today offering some form of Digital Video output. Regardless of the version found on your source – DVI, HDMI or Display Port, you can use the HDMI inputs appropriately.
However, video is not the only way to input an image on the GRU510N since it provides two USB connections with functionality to control content. There is an HID interface for mouse/keyboard operation to easily utilize the WebOS interface and content. Insert a USB drive into one of the ports and you can use the WebOS to navigate the folders and play picture or video content as well as a variety of standard file formats.
Lastly, in addition to the RJ45 for HDBaseT, there is a dedicated Ethernet port as a robust alternative to integrated Wi-Fi. Having the audio decoded at the projector often allows for a simplified system design with the projector acting as volume control and audio extractor and can greatly simplify cabling runs in some designs.
The remote control for the ProBeam GRU510N is white with rectangular-shaped buttons. Although it may be easy to find a white remote control in a darkened room, it’s still tough to use if you can’t clearly read the button labels. The design has a generic button layout with a few notable inclusions, particularly the direct access to picture modes and energy saving (laser power) settings. These buttons make quick adjustments for source material and lighting conditions a snap. With the press of a single button, you can switch from watching sports in a fully bright room to watching TV after dark.
The ProBeam GRU510N has a manual lens with focus and zoom on outer rings. With a zoom range of 1.6x it allows for placement at throw ratios of between ~ 1.3 -2.1:1. This can quickly be calculated using the width of the screen as follows:
Throw Ratio = Throw Distance /Image Width
For example on a 100″ wide image the throw distance would be between 130″ and 210″.
Since screen sizes are often listed as diagonal and algebra is not most folk’s favorite thing, we have provided this chart for your reference.
Throw Distance for a 16:9 Screen
Unusual in this category is a provision for both horizontal and vertical shift. This allows placement of the projector at the top or bottom edge of the screen or up to 20% of the width off center. Of course, like all projectors with H&V shift, moving the image in one direction will limit the amount of shift available in the opposite direction. Maximum shift in one direction comes when the other is centered, for example, to place the projector at the top of the image it would be ideal to center the unit on the width of the screen.
Lens Shift (Hortizontal +/- 20%, Vertical +/- 50%)
The horizontal and vertical lens position adjustments are made using two concentric dials on the right side of the cabinet. As you turn the wheel it moves the image accordingly until you reach the limits of adjustment. Turning the dial further will result in a noise that indicates the dial is slipping and should not be turned further. This generally helps avoid the damage which could occur from turning a lens adjustment too far.
While this ability to move the image location via optical lens shift provides the best image quality compared to digital geometry adjustments, the BU50NST includes a 12-point warping feature which goes beyond the abilities of horizontal and vertical keystone or 4 corner adjustments.
The LG ProBeam GRU510N has two different on-screen GUIs. One screen allows for set up and adjustments, and the other screen manages content and online access via WebOS. The photo below shows the icons for the Settings menu on the left as well as some of the available options.
Operation of the WebOS features are simple and straight forward without all of the apps available on a typical LG TV.
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