Posted on January 12, 2021 By Phil Jones
LG HU85LS 4K UST Smart Business Projector Review – Hardware: Inputs and Connectors, Lens, Control Panel, Remote Control, Menus
The HU85LS is a compact 4K UHD Ultra Short Throw projector. True, most of the lower cost 4K UHD DLP projectors are physically smaller – some less than half the size and bulk, but those are not ultra-short throw projectors. For a home theater style UST projector this LG is on the small side. Also its white, sleek, minimalistic design helps give that impression. White is a good color choice for people planning to place the LG in living rooms, family rooms, etc.
Since the HU85LS is a UST projector, the front, is the side facing the audience. The back of the LG is the side closest to the screen. Unlike traditional normal throw projectors we measure “distance to the screen” for UST projectors, primarily measuring from the physical front of the projector to the screen, rather than the front of the lens, which is the standard for “regular” projectors. This is because the lens usually is not at the front, but on top, usually about half way back.
As is typical, there is no optical zoom. But in front of the recess for the lens, is a focus ring hidden behind a small spring-loaded door.
All of LG’s inputs and other connectors are found on the back. Venting is located on the sides.
The dual 5-watt speakers are hidden behind the front grill cloth, which as mentioned is “designer” but there is no indication on their brochures, that there are alternative cloths available.
There are screw thread adjustable feet on the bottom, which are very, very helpful in getting a perfect alignment to the screen without using the digital correction system. The projector needs to be perpendicular to the screen. In my temp setup, for example, the screen has a slight tilt forward at the top. I was able to use the adjustable feet to keep the projector perpendicular.
The inputs and connections are all located on the rear of the HU85LS. There are two HDMI inputs on the HU85LS. Both HDMI inputs support up to 18Gbps which allows playback of 4K HDR content at up to 60FPS. To support the 18Gpbs of bandwidth, the HDMI 2.0 FORMAT setting in the menu needs to be set to “Enhanced Format”.
HDMI#1 also supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) to send multi-channel audio from the HU85LS to a compatible sound system. The HU85LS is also able to control connected devices like an A/V receiver via CEC. This means you can use your TV remote instead of having to reach for a different remote to control each connected device.
Other available inputs include two USB ports, gigabit Ethernet, optical-digital and Land an RF antenna input for the unit’s built-in ATSC 1.0 tuner.
The lens is located in a small window recessed in the top of the projector about halfway back.
The optical systems of an ultra-short throw projector like the HU85LS is different from a traditional projector. Normally an UST optical system uses a complex series of mirrors to project images at steep extreme angle.
The challenge for UST projectors is that by their nature, they spread out light from the lens, (when used on a tabletop). At the far lower left and right, the light is traveling at only a few degrees above horizontal. But light is also exiting the lens at pretty much every angle from just above horizontal to full vertical. That means light is projecting over an almost 180-degree arc. Even with the projector is placed only a few inches away, the HU85LS did a good job spreading light evenly across the screen.
This is important to note, because the LG and similarly designed UST projectors are most often destined for a “bright room” environment. To best accomplish that, there are light rejecting screens (ALR), to help deal with ambient light.
Keep in mind that the HU85LS projector sits below the screen, as well as being inches out from it. For our smallest sized screen the LG supports – the 90″, the top of the projector should be placed 7.1 inches below the bottom of the screen surface. For the largest official size the LG supports – 120″ diagonal, that distance down from the screen increases to 10.1 inches. That’s not a whole lot of difference.
You have a little bit of flexibility if you use the LG’s alignment process to fill the screen fully, but I still recommend spending the few extra minutes to get the alignment perfect by adjusting the position of the projector and not using digital correction which does degrade the picture slightly
The LG HU85LS doesn’t have a control panel on the chassis. There is just a tiny joystick located on the bottom of the projector in the front right corner. The joystick will control power, TV channels, and volume. All setting adjustments need to be made using a remote control.
LG’s been utilizing versions of a Magic Remote on their TV’s and FPJ models for years and the LG remote is a gyro type device. While the HU85LS has a remote that is packed with buttons, most adjustments are done with just the flick of your wrist utilizing the gyro mouse technology. The internal gyro creates a faster, more precise remote-control system than traditional remotes that rely on arrow keys or a joystick for navigation.
The LG Magic remote can control your set top box, or blu-ray player, etc, including powering it on, and off. While you may still need to grab the set top box or video player factory remote to access a 3rd party unit’s setup menu, the Magic Remote has all the buttons needed for day-to-day operation including power, channel, and playback control.
While I am not going to cover each button on the remote in detail, I do want to point out a few notable ones. First, in the middle of the remote is a Microphone button for voice control of the projector or compatible 3rd Internet of Things (IoT) device via LG ThinQ and/or Google Assistant.
In between the four navigation buttons is a scrolling wheel which allows quicker up/down navigation of the menu. To make a selection, it also acts as the Enter button when pressed. Another convenient button is the Streaming Service button which takes you directly to the HU85LS library of streaming services.
The HU85LS is a Smart projector so it has a complex menu system, but it is well organized and easy to navigate. There are two different menus – one is for making picture adjustments and the other is for accessing content, apps, and services.
The button that looks like a gear is the Quick Setting button which takes you directly to the HU85LS’s basic settings menu. Pressing and holding the button will take you directly to the projector’s advanced picture settings.
To access apps and other entertaining services, you need to press the HOME button which literally looks like a house. Once in the projector app menu, you can select a specific input, a streaming app, the web browser, media player, or explore the LG Content Store.
Since the HU85LS is a Smart projector, there are dozens and dozens of menu/entertainment options. The images of the menu shown in this section represent only a small number of all the sub-menus available. I tried to show a couple more notable sections found in the most used sub-menus (app store, image adjustments, networking, etc.).
© 2019 Projector Reviews (V0625)