LG MiniBeam PF1000UProjector Review — Hardware Tour

LG PF 1000U PROJECTOR REVIEW – HARDWARE TOUR: Overview, Air Flow and Fan Noise, Image Size, Control Panel and Connectors, Remote Control, Lens and Image Adjustments

At 4.5- by 5.2- by 12.1-inches, the PF 1000U is smaller than most ultra-short throw projectors and a lot narrower than Epson’s BrightView family. It weighs in at 4.9-pounds, making it perfect for carrying from room to room during the day or to the living room at night for a movie. Too bad, it doesn’t come with a case – like the LG PH 550 – so that the fragile output mirror doesn’t get damaged in transit.

Overview

It’s easy to install with one person. Like other short throw models, however, the PF 1000U can be tricky to get it level and square with the screen to avoid displaying a variety of keystoning distortions. The projector includes the needed power adapter and AC cord, adapters for Composite (with audio) and Component video as well as a basic printed 27-page Owner’s Manual, although you’ll want to download the real 115-page Owner’s manual from LG’s site.

It also comes with one of the most innovative remote controls around. Called the Magic Remote Control, it’s shaped like a Star Trek phaser. The oval shape fits well in the hand and goes its own way on a minimum of buttons. Unfortunately, it’s not backlit.

Long and narrow, the all-black PF 1000U has an exposed convex output mirror that sits far from the screen. It lacks a glass mirror cover, making it one of the most vulnerable parts of the projector, particularly if it’s going to be carried around. There’s a focus wheel and a simple joy stick control that can turn the projector on or off and perform some basic operations.

Underneath, the PF 1000U has four adjustable feet and three attachment points for wall or ceiling mounting. LG doesn’t sell mounting hardware, but the PF 1000U worked well with a generic ceiling mount kit. Because it is LED powered, the PF 1000U can be set at any angle and requires about 15-inches of clearance on all sides for cooling.

Air Flow and Fan Noise

The projector generally runs cool and brings fresh air in from grates on the sides and exhausts warm air in the front. Happily, there’s no filter to replace or clean. Even when it’s working hard, the PF 1000U keeps its cool, never getting hotter than 110-degrees Fahrenheit.

The fan runs continuously and can be annoyingly loud. At 36-inches, its whining sound rated 40.1dBA of noise, versus the projector’s specification of 39dBA. This might be OK for a projector that’s stashed in a nook or is mounted on a ceiling far away from viewers, but the beauty of short throw technology is that the projector is generally near its audience.PF1000U_6 sm

Long and narrow, the MiniBeam PF 1000U can be set up at any angle.

Quick at power-up, the PF 1000U takes 3.0-seconds to put up an image and only a few more seconds to get to full brightness. It takes 4.5-seconds for it to shut down and turn its fan off. Unlike lamp-based projectors, the LED-based PF 1000U can be turned on and off in succession without a waiting period.

Control Panel and Connectors

With just a joy stick, the PF 1000U can’t be said to have a control panel in the traditional sense, although it can be just as powerful. It does work well for turning it on and off (flick it forward), adjusting the volume (right, left) and changing the channels of the TV tuner.

control panel button
A single button joystick/control panel is all you need

If you press it down once and then flick it to the left, the joy stick reveals a back door into the projector’s Menus. Flick it right to change the projector’s source and down to close the menus.

The ports are distributed around the periphery of the projector with nothing that could be considered a connection panel. In the front, you’ll find an HDMI input that can work with an MHL phone or tablet with the right adapter. There’s also a power port and a coaxial connector for the TV tuner’s 75-ohm antenna; it’s not included. In addition to a second HDMI port, the PF 1000U has Component and Composite video connections on the left side, but you’ll need to use the included adapters. There are also outputs for wired and optical audio as well as an RJ-45 Ethernet networking port; the projector has WiFi built in as well.

connectors
The LG PF 1000U has the bare minimum of ports.

There’s a pair of USB 2.0 ports on the left side as well. They worked well for displaying images, playing video or listening to audio lifted from a thumb drive.

Over a month of daily use, the PF 1000U worked well with a variety of source material, from broadcast and cable TV to Blu-ray video, tablets, Macs and PCs. I also used a Geffen 8X8 HD switcher and a StarTech HDMI Pattern Generator to project sample images.

Remote Control

The PF 1000U’s remote control is like no other that I’ve seen. Shaped like an oval, it’s called the Magic Remote Control and lives up to its name. An exercise in minimalism, the 1.5- by 1.9- by 6.0-inch device feels comfortable in the hand. It uses a pair of AA batteries and had a range of 32 feet.

It takes a little getting used to, but the LG remote control offers a new way of controlling a projector. The top has keys for power, home and go back – all shown by icons rather than words. Below is a four-way control as well as ones for turning on the TV and using the projector’s voice recognition feature. Next down are four colored buttons that form shortcuts in some of the menus. Finally, there are keys for volume (and muting the sound), input, 3-D and channel.

It comes into its own when you press the home button in the upper right corner. The main screen is exceptionally well thought out, colorful and well balanced. It always shows projector’s current input in the upper left corner so that in many cases you can adjust something while watching the result.

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Lens and Image Adjustments

While the PF 1000U can correct for an upward or downward tilt with an automatic vertical keystone correction, it lacks a horizontal keystone correction. On the other hand, it has a great 4-corner Edge Adjustment tool that lets you pull out or push in any of the image’s corners to create a rectangular image in about 30 seconds.

It shoots its image up 125 percent so the image appears well above the top of the projector. In fact, it is 7-inches above the projector for a 53-inch image. The projector can’t shift its image either via a motor or a joy stick.

The ultra-short throw projector lives up to its name by creating a large image with the PF 1000U close to the screen. With its front against the screen, the PF 1000U can deliver a 53-inch image. That rises to a 60-inch image, 4.1-inches from the screen. It tops out at a maximum image size of 100-inches 14.9-inches from the screen.

On the downside, the PF 1000U does without an optical zoom lens for fine tuning the image’s size. Like just about every other short throw projector, the only way you can increase or decrease the image’s size is by moving the projector towards or away from the screen.

Image Size

The ultra-short throw projector lives up to its name by creating a large image with the PF 1000U close to the screen. With its front against the screen, the PF 1000U can deliver a 53-inch image. That rises to a 60-inch image, 4.1-inches from the screen. It tops out at a maximum image size of 100-inches 14.9-inches from the screen.

On the downside, the PF 1000U does without an optical zoom lens for fine tuning the image’s size. Like just about every other short throw projector, the only way you can increase or decrease the image’s size is by moving the projector towards or away from the screen.

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