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LG PF85U LED Projector Review - Performance

Posted on August 28, 2014 by Art Feierman
PF85U PROJECTOR - PERFORMANCE:  Brightness, Affect of Eco and Peak Modes, Sharpness and Super Resolution, Smooth Motion (TruMotion)

LG PF85U Projector Brightness

LG PF85U Brightness in Lumens - By Mode, Power
Color Mode Peak Minimum Eco Medium Eco Maximum Eco
Vivid* 686 502  405  281
Standard 503  406  281
Cinema 436  352  244
Game 502  405  281
Expert 1 428  345  239

I measured the four default modes.  Note that all can be modified, although you cannot save those modifications into a Saved area.  They will be there the next time, but if you change them again, those earlier settings are lost.  So, if you like to play around, keep track of your settings.

I also measured Expert 1, after using the wizard.

The table here shows the brightness for Vivid, Standard, Cinema, Game, and also Expert 1 based on the Expert wizard.  Since we did not fully calibrate this projector we don't have a brightness number for post calibration, but I would expect it will be in the general range of the Cinema numbers.

Sadly, like almost all of the compact LED projectors we've reviewed in the past 4 years - pico projectors, pocket projectors or larger compact projectors like this one, the PF85U does not come close to meeting its claimed brightness (but there have been a couple of exceptions)

The PF85U claims 1000 lumens.  The brightest, though, that I was able to measure, was Vivid mode with the Peak boost turned on.  Even that clocked in at only 686 lumens.  Since Peak is only available to Vivid - the LG's brightest mode, none of the other modes measured more than 503 lumens.

The table above shows the measured brightness for each of the modes, with all available eco and regular modes.

Vivid, and the other modes offer Minimum, Medium, and Maximum settings, but pay attention!   Minimum means "minimum eco efficiency" so it is the brightest of the three, only exceeded by a Peak boost, and only in Vivid.    Maximum means the least bright image and the most power savings.  That's a bit confusing, but it becomes clear pretty quickly when playing around.

Sharpness and Super-Resolution

For a compact LED projector the first thing to note is that the LG85U is a true 1080p projector, and that makes it rare among the compact, "pocket" projectors.  A few manufacturers (Viewsonic, Optoma) have launched home projectors with LED or Hybrid light engines, in more traditional home projector designs, but those typically cost more, have zoom lenses, etc.

Overall sharpness was reasonably good, although there are many controls, and the defaults seem to provide a little too much edge sharpening but that can be turned off.  Expert modes allow access to more advanced sharpening tools - with separate controls for Horizontal and Vertical sharpening.

Most of the related tools for sharpening are pretty subtle.  For example the Super-Resolution control has Off and 3 settings, but the difference between High and Off is barely noticeable.

All considered, sharpness is very good, although the tendency is to over sharpen, or over contrast the edges a bit.

One thing for sure, the LG PF85U sure provides much more detail and perceived sharpness than any of the 720p and WXGA projectors it is competing directly against.

That said, compared to the typical under $2000 "home entertainment" projectors, using lamps, I'd say that most of them appear to be a bit sharper.  Still those differences are subtle compared to 720p vs 1080p.

LG's PF85U TruMotion - Frame Interpolation

TruMotion is LG's name for their Frame Interpolation.  To my eyes, there there's little or no difference between the settings for TruMotion, which are Off, Smooth (Dejudder of 3), Clear (de-Judder of 7), and User, which allows any setting between 0 and 10, when viewing HDTV sources.

The documentation notes only what I have written above, in fact TruMotion the word, only appears in the manual twice - on a spec page, and on a matching footnote.  Seems that 60 hz content may not benefit from the various modes.   That footnote specifically mentions 60fps which is typical of HDTV.

My understanding from past experience is that TruMotion would in that case be Frame Interpolation, but not "creative."  That is, it's inserting a frame between every two frames.  Whether that's a black frame or a duplicate of the frame before it, I cannot tell, but my guess would be a duplicate frame, or I'd expect a very slight drop in perceived brightness.

Switching to Blu-ray disc, the Creative Frame interpolation is definitely visible.  By the time you are up to the Clear setting (de-judder of 7), the soap opera effect is very visible.

Consider Smooth motion then to be suitable for movies - if you like "smooth motion", but, that soap opera affect changes "the director's intent."   For sports viewing, where I would normally use CFI, the benefit seems almost nonexistent as there doesn't seem to be any 'creative" happening.  I did not experiment with it on gaming, as I'm just not a real gamer.  I can say, though, when I measured input lag, times were much worse with TruMotion turned on, as would be expected.


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