Projector Reviews

LG GRU510N Laser Projector Review – Performance

LG GRU510N Projector Review – Picture Quality: Color Modes, Video Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Sound Quality

COLOR MODES

LG provides a number of color modes that can be selected and customized by the user. The following modes can be selected from either the Settings menu or by simply pushing the Picture Mode button on the remote repeatedly until your desired selection displays. The following is a comparison of the various modes after factory reset. No adjustments were made other than Picture Mode.

The images show the difference in color and skin tones, for the different preset picture modes. There are seven factory color presets. The following observations were generally made with the projector using its factory default picture settings.

  • PRESENTATION: This is the brightest but least accurate picture mode. This mode would be most appropriate for displaying presentation materials where color accuracy was not of great concern, and the room has a large amount of ambient light.
  • STANDARD: This mode provides a balance between brightness and accuracy with nominal video settings.
  • CINEMA: This setting is designed for viewing movies in a darkened room. One of the most accurate picture modes but brightness is greatly reduced.
  • DICOM: This setting is for displaying images used in medical imaging such as x-rays. The DICOM standard is an extensive set of performance requirements for accurate diagnosis of medical imaging, not likely to be used by a home theater user.
  • GAME: This mode optimizes the settings for gameplay.
  • HDR EFFECT: Creates a more dynamic-looking picture by enhancing the light and dark areas of the image.
  • EXPERT (BRIGHT ROOM): This preset disables all video enhancements. It is designed for viewing content in a brighter room.
  • EXPERT (DARK ROOM): This preset disables all video enhancements. It is designed for viewing content in a darker environment. The most accurate picture mode, but brightness is limited.

The most accurate modes for viewing video/movies in a darker environment are CINEMA and EXPERT (DARK) ROOM. Both picture modes deliver very good white balance out-of-the-box but at the expense of more than 50% of the brightness. In a brighter room, STANDARD and EXPERT (BRIGHT) Modes would be good options

The screenshots below were taken in EXPERT (DARK ROOM) mode and they are intended to give only a rough idea of each picture mode’s color accuracy. When viewed in person, the color accuracy will generally look somewhat better than shown in these photos.

VIDEO QUALITY

The ProBeam GRU510N offers a wide range of Picture modes, each appropriate for different situations. In some use cases, a bright image with pop is more important than an image with perfect colors or enhanced details in shadow and bright areas. Conversely, sometimes color accuracy may be one of the most important factors. One of the great things about DLP-based systems is that they can deliver both high brightness/high color accuracy and contrast from the same design – particularly with laser-phosphor illumination.

I spend lots of time viewing various types of content during different times of the day. When watching film content in the dark, the blacks could have been better, but when the GRU510N was set to a proper dark room picture mode, the results were still pleasing to the eye. Add in a bit of ambient light, and things get perceptually better.

I preferred the TV-like experience obtained by viewing in STANDARD mode under typical room lighting when some lighting control is used to minimize the light shining directing on the screen. PRESENTATION mode is useful in the brightest rooms as long as color accuracy is not critical.

EXPERT (DARK) mode produced the most accurate picture in a dark room, but the projector’s brightness was greatly reduced and still craved better blacks. Since the projector is not designed for a theater per se, several of the available picture modes provided both an accurate picture when needed and the maximum impact.

It is also well-suited for use as a TV replacement, particularly in spaces other than dedicated home theaters. While a projector with a deeper black levels would be a preferable option in a darker environment, the advantage of higher output typically overshadows that of better blacks in a room with lots of ambient light.

I cannot emphasize the advantages of ambient light rejecting (ALR) screens enough. Using a grey or ALR screen combined with GRU510N high light output can deliver a remarkable image in situations where you might not have considered projection just a few years ago. Before, you may have had to simply accept the limited performance of lamps dimming and washed out images on unity gain screens in rooms with windows since these may have been the only options available.
Overall, the video picture quality was quite good for this range of the projector. Out-of-the-box, the projector produced relatively accurate color, with a set of controls for full calibration (should that be required). Combined with the capacity to make a very bright (albeit less “perfect”) picture when desired, the GRU510N delivers a versatile solution for a wide range of applications.

Today, flat panels are certainly an option or even a preferred choice in sizes up to about 85.” Still, if the image needs to be larger, a projector is typically the best choice unless there is the budget reserve for a direct emission LED wall.

HDR REPRODUCTION

The GRU510N can dynamically tone map HDR10 content, and this feature did a good job maintaining highlight detail. However, tone mapping (whether it is dynamic or not) requires the projector to compromise something (highlights, brightness, contrast, color, or black level).

The GRU510N chose to sacrifice some brightness when Dynamic Tone mapping is engaged. Since the GRU510N was a brighter projector, overall, I still preferred viewing HDR with the setting switched ON. The images below show the difference when Dynamic Tone Mapping is switched ON and OFF.

The GRU510N could only reproduce 70% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, so the colors weren’t as saturated as other HDR-compatible Home Theater projectors, but due to its high brightness, the content still looked good.

Also as I mentioned, the GRU510N struggles at reproducing deep blacks, which impacts real world contrast. This issue is painfully evident in a dark room but much less of a factor in a room with ambient light.