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LG Minibeam PW800 Projector Review - Special Features

Posted on July 26, 2015 by Art Feierman
LG Minibeam PW800 Projector - Special Features:  LED Light Source - Media Player - MHL Support - Antenna/DTV Tuner - Wireless Screen Share - 3D

LED Light Source

LG rates their LED engine at up to 30,000 hours (in Eco power mode, I would assume). If you use your PW800 for 40 hours a week, you’re talking 15 years and even with a shorter life in a higher power mode (e.g., perhaps 10 years), you are still talking about many years of service. As a second benefit, although LED light sources do lose brightness over time, they do so far, far, slower than traditional lamps. One unusual aspect of LED light engines and many hybrid ones is that they are at their brightest the first few seconds after power up.  We wait at least 15 or 20 minutes before doing measurements, because the projectors will dim a bit.   Perhaps manufacturers do their measurements the first instant after power up, because no matter the brand, we just don’t see many LED projectors measuring more than 75% of claim, and 30% or more below the claimed values seems the norm.  This LG model had a greater than typical difference between the manufacturer's specified lumens value and the measured value.  See our Performance page for this LG’s brightness measurements.

Media Player

The PW800 has a USB connector on the rear panel that allows you to make multimedia business presentations directly form files stored on a USB flash memory drive (i.e., with no need to have a connected computer) and it can also service as a media player for home entertainment use.   Photos (in jpg format), videos (in h.264/AVC, WMV, MKV, DIVX, VOB, etc. file formats), and audio files (in mp3, AAC, MPEG, LPCM, etc. file formats) are supported.  Also MS Office files (Office 97 thru Office 2007) in both the older formats (i.e., DOC, XLS, PPT) as well as the newer file formats (i.e., DOCX, XLSX and PPTX) are supported along with pdf and txt files. The projector’s remote includes the controls to select and navigate thru slide shows, videos, presentations, etc.   The PW800 offers a highly portable all-in-one alternative by integrating a media player directly into the projector, thus providing the A/V source plus video display and audio speaker into a very small package.

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MHL Support

MHL is essentially mobile HDMI.  The LG PW800 supports MHL devices on its HDMI port.   This allows you to plug in MHL compatible devices such as a Roku stick (however, not tested for this review).   MHL is relatively recent, so it may see a lot more capabilities down the road.  To be effective, since MHL supports video, audio, and command and control, a projector really should have its own sound system and the PW800 does have these capabilities. MHL allows many people to “cut the cord”.  Please note, though, that the image quality of Blu-ray is much better than those boxes or MHL, which are much more highly compressed. Some phones and tablets, as well as all kinds of other smart devices are being designed with MHL.  The more the merrier, as they essentially all become new sources for this projector.

Antenna/DTV Tuner

LG likes to describe the PW800 as supporting "Live TV Anywhere".  If you are in a location where over-the-air digital TV broadcasts can be received via an antenna, then this pocket projector may be just what you are looking for.  I did not test this feature of the PW800, but if you live in a metro area where digital TV stations can be received by a simple (i.e., small) antenna that could easily be attached to the PW800, then this could be a nice feature for a highly portable home entertainment application.

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Wireless Screen Share

wireless-screen-share

The above illustration from LG shows the idea behind what they call "Wireless Screen Share".  This works with Android (4.2 or later) and Windows 8.1 (or later) mobile/portable devices using the "Miracast" wireless feature supported by these operating systems.  With a compatible mobile device (i.e., smart phone, tablet, laptop) available, the PW800 projector can be configured to allow it to display what is shown on the compatible mobile device's screen. This feature could be useful for business and education applications.

3D

The PW800 is able to display 3D with the addition of DLP-LINK active 3D glasses.  However, it does not support the 3D signals from Blu-ray disc players and instead only works with compatible computers as the source of the 3D video (i.e., outputting alternating right-left images at 120 Hz.).

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