Projector Reviews

LG HU85LA AI CineBeam Projector – Picture Quality

LG HU85LA AI CineBeam Projector Out of the Box, Skin tones

“Right out of the box”

Of course there are many modes – both for Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) and HDR. Most of these modes do a pretty good job without any adjustment. No, none are especially close to calibration accuracy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good looking picture up on the screen. No surprise, that three of the non-HDR modes – Vivid, Sports, and Game, are a bit over the top.

room lighting
Room used for all images but Black Panther. This is late afternoon, but this room is never remotely dark in daytime, when most images taken

More specifically Vivid is the most intense, and way over the top. It’s not a mode you want to use with the lights out, but did a respectable job in afternoon viewing, with sunlight coming in from the sliding glass doors behind. Standard dials it down a bit, so won’t cut through too much ambient light nearly as well. When lighting is under control, Cinema Home is the goto mode. It looks downright mellow compared to the other two bright modes, yet even it is a little vivid looking.

Oversaturated a bit, etc., but then those three modes are the brightest, all measuring – get this – a tad more than the LG projector claims. That doesn’t happen often. With most brands, you get one mode that gets close to, or beats claim, but that one is usually pretty ugly and mostly green.

These modes do not suffer from being mostly green, in fact, look pretty good when you have a good bit of ambient light present, as those 2700 lumens can deal with a decent amount of ambient light (see my room photos).

back of room
Daytime ambient light in the room for all the football and menu shoots. Always moderately bright. (Screen is hiding behind the plants.)

Even better news might be that this projector’s best SDR modes all come in just a touch below 2000 lumens! In the old days we would call a home projector this bright – “a light canon,” but more on brightness elsewhere.

But, all the LG’s modes (except HDR) – before any adjustment, offer very cool whites – that is too blu-ish, not enough red. Those three brightest modes mostly measure over 8000K which is definitely very cool. (not bad for sports, though). The really good news – they calibrate really nicely getting the color balance right down where it should be around 6500K! And don’t forget, we provide our calibration settings for you to try out. You’ll definitely want to!

Note for those interested in color temp, and color balance: Color temp itself does not determine if you have a good looking picture. It can tell you if the picture is cool, or warm, or on the money, from a color temp standpoint, but you can have a 6500K (the target color temp) and have a hideous picture. More important than the color temp, is the balance between red, green and blue, in the whites. You can have a 6500K color temp and still have a massively green picture.

If you haven’t tried our settings, and you have decent lighting control, I would recommend starting with Cinema mode with its 2000 lumens. With more ambient light though Vivid or Standard to cut through, with the ambient light reducing the oversaturation nicely.

HDR – Out of the box

Feeding the projector an HDR source will give you an HDR version of the mode you are in, such as Cinema HDR. It happens that Cinema, and both Expert modes are very similar with HDR. They all are cool, but color temp isn’t nearly as high as the bright room modes like Vivid…

Too cool (blu-ish whites), but again, easy to reduce the color temp, just visit our calibration settings pages.

Honestly I did all my “out of the box” viewing, before I sent the LG off to Eric for calibration. The images you see here, from The Black Panther were all taken in my testing room (before we moved). They show varying ambient light but, despite the “out of the box” these HDR images (Cinema mode) look really good. (And not as blue as my writing might make you think!)

In watching the uncalibrated modes after Eric did his work, even those modes seemed a bit warmer.

The Bottom Line: The HU85LA is Very watchable, both in HDR and SDR, without any adjustments, and with the right mode selected, able to handle a respectable amount of ambient light. That said, plug in our calibration settings and you should definitely enjoy watching a good bit better!

Antares
Here's an LG HDR image that really pops. The star Antares, close up view. Passengers 4K HDR...

Skin Tones

Pre Calibration true, skin tones are a little thin on the red component, but the overall color balance is reasonably good. (Better than many of my friends HDTVs, the way they have been watching them. So, even with 8500K+ average color temp in some pre-calibrated modes skin tones were still not bad at all.

Normally we like to show you the same full-face photo of a Victoria Secret model, each of the modes (pre-calibration) and also the non HDR calibrated photo. But, alas, we sold our house, testing room, theater, and all. We’re renting temporarily before we move to our new digs – with Projector Reviews as part of that. Gone is my DirecTV box with my Vic Secret show on it, all my GameMix 4 games, or 8 games at once, and all of my misc. HDTV images. I will build a new collection once moved in Oct 1.

I’ll be setting up a new theater and testing room. Too bad, though I can’t take your DirecTV satellite box with all my recording on them. No matter I have taken plenty of good photos demonstrating skin tones, as you can see.

In the player above, all the images are either Blu-ray (1080p or 4K UHD), or off of Netflix.

Post calibration, note that overall, skin tones look really good. Oh, not as on the money as a Sony native 4K projector, and perhaps it doesn’t calibrate quite as well as an Epson HC5050UB, but it certainly is in the rather good company of the BenQ HT5550 and several other very good DLP projectors. (The DLP’s even the lasers, just haven’t gotten as close to doing accurate P3 color as many of the 3 panel (chip) LCD and LCoS projectors which include Epson, Sony, and JVC.

In fairness, you won’t find a 4K capable laser projector from any of those companies, (except on the commercial side, with a drastically heavier price tag). You are looking Around $25K for a Sony home theater 4K laser projector. True, Epson still has their 1080p pixel shifting, 4K capable LS10050 laser, around $7000 but it is 3+ years old. JVC’s only native 4K laser is around $30K.

If you are a really hardcore enthusiast, or perfectionist, demanding flawlessly accurate skin tones (and therefore overall color), the LG doesn’t quite get you there. I’m basically saying there’s definitely a bit of room for improvement – most notably on the 4K HDR side of things trying to get to P3 color – even post-calibration, but overall, it’s close enough for me. I’ve logged almost 100 hours, of which probably 80% has been 4K content.

Bottom Line on Skin Tones: Not bad – out of the box in the better modes, and not even terrible in the brightest mode (terrible isn’t unusual from some other manufacturers – you know who you are)!

And even better post calibration. Now skin tones are really very good, I won’t go as far as excellent, but just a bit down from there. I can watch this projector all day long. No problem with the skin tones!