LG Minibeam PH300 Projector Review - Picture Quality

July 23, 2015
LG Minibeam PH300 Projector:  Out-of-the-Box Picture Quality - Text Readability - Video Quality - Audio Quality

Out-of-the-Box Picture Quality

The PH300 offers 5 default picture modes – Vivid, Standard, Cinema, Sport and Game.   In addition it has two user picture modes that LG calls Expert 1 and Expert 2.   The LG PH300, does have the necessary controls to do a more-or-less real picture calibration if one of the Expert modes is selected.  This sequence of images shows the 5 pre-set picture modes plus the results with the factory settings for Expert 1 mode.

I did not attempt to do a calibration using the available adjustments for the Expert picture modes.

Generally, the brighter picture modes also had the least accurate picture.  The Vivid, Standard and Sports picture modes were the brightest and produced images that were overall cool in their appearance (with a blue or blue-green overall tint).  The Cinema mode produced fairly good colors and while the colors appears a little over saturated, they were certainly better than what I have seen on some other projectors of this class.    Overall in the best available out-of-the-box picture mode I would consider the PH300's picture quality as good.


Text Readability

Low cost Pico and Pocket projectors generally have a some limitations due to the truly tiny size of their DLP display chip and the challenge of producing a high quality lens at a low price point.  As seen in the three gallery photos above, the PH300 does a fairly good job producing legible 8 point text.  However, I have seen sharper images from full size projectors having the same 1280 x 720 native resolution.  To its credit the PH300 showed no obvious color fringing around the text, as I have seen on some other competing pocket projectors.  This indicates a low level of chromatic aberration for the lens that LG is using on this projector.  On the negative side, I found the mechanical focus control on the PH300 to be rather sloppy making fine focus adjustments a little difficult.

Video Quality

The first 3 galley photo above are screen shots from the movie "The Fifth Element" and the final 3 photos are from the movie "Casino Royale".  These were taken with the projector operating in the Cinema picture mode with the factory default settings.  Overall skin tones were good and could probably be further improved by using the projector's "Expert" adjustments.  While LG may rate the contrast ratio at 100,000:1 such rating mean really little when it comes to real world black levels and image contrast.  This is because the dynamic contrast approach being used (dimming the LED light source) is not really well suited to video (i.e., it's much slower than the speed of a dynamic iris used in the better home theater class projectors). In this case the projector's native contrast is more important and like most other low cost DLP projectors, the black levels are only fair.  While its black levels may be better than some low cost business or classroom class 3LCD projectors, the PH300 still produces entry-level performance in this area (i.e., well short of even low cost home theater class projectors).    However, for this class of pocket projector, the PH300 is certainly competitive with models from other manufacturers.

Audio Quality

The PH300 has a pair of very small 1 watt speakers.   The maximum volume is limited and of course there is no bass frequencies reproduced by such small speakers.  External powered speaker(s) could be connected, via the projector's headphone jack, for better audio quality.

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