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LG PF85U LED Projector Review - Special Features

Posted on August 28, 2014 by Art Feierman
PF85U LED PROJECTOR - SPECIAL FEATURES 1:  SMART Remote Control, MHL, LED light source, Speakers

SMART Remote Control

The Smart remote control is most interesting.  It uses a type of motion technology similar (or the same) as has been around for 15 years.  Whether it's the same exact tech as the company Gyration offered (I was a big fan), it sure seems similar.  Essentially the pointer reacts to your hand's momentum.  Hard to describe and it takes a little getting used to, but I always favored this type over traditional joystick types of remotes, for "remote mousing."

The thing about this remote is that its primarily for navigating sources, although you can get to the projector menus as well.  In a fully "configured" case, you will see your sources, whether traditional, MHL,   If you configure it to take control of your blu-ray player, cable box, satellite box, even antenna based TV, you have a single fast remote control, so no need for a third party "universal remote."    The other remote is more traditional, with lots of buttons for lots of direct functionality.   That is better for adjusting most settings, but if you want to pause or change chapters of the movie you are watching, this remote works great.  It took only a couple of minutes to configure it to successfully control of one of my Blu-ray players (a Panasonic), and for my DirecTV.  (it can't do my PS3, because that is RF not infra-red).

The Smart remote itself seems to be RF, I should note, while the traditional remote is IR.

MHL on the PF85U

MHL is essentially mobile HDMI.  The LG supports MHL devices on one of its HDMI ports.   This allows you to plug in MHL compatible devices such as my Roku stick.   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.

MHL allows many people to "cut the cord" in the same way that many folks no longer have a home phone line, with devices like my Roku and others, I could get my movies and a lot of TV type content over Wifi, so I don't need a satellite box, cable box, or Blu-ray player. 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.

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PF85U LED light source

20,000 hours, 30,000 hours - doesn't really matter much, as any LED light source that lasts close to as long as the manufacturer claims, will far outlast the rest of the technology.  Officially though, LG rates their LED engine at 30,000 hours. If you use your LG85U for 40 hours a week, you're talking 15 years.  In the world of technology, a 15 years ago HDTV didn't even exist and Blu-ray was still 5 or 6 years ago.   Even a decade from now, who knows what will be around (8K resolution projectors are expected in 6 years.)

As a second benefit,  although LED light sources like lamps, do lose brightness over time, they do so far, far, slower, a good thing.

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 30-35% below claim seems the norm.  See our Performance page for the LG's brightness measurements, but I can tell you that they are right around 30% off claim.   Of course conventional lamp projectors are inherently, drastically brighter.  The LG's 1000 lumen claim represents very reasonable brightness for viewing a large image in a dark room, but lamp based projectors costing the same or less typically boast 2500 to 3500 lumens.

LG PF85U Audio Quality

The LG has two five watt speakers!  That's definitely got to be the most sound I can recall seeing stuffed into a projector this small.

Look, the built in sound isn't going to replace a decent surround sound system, or HTIB (home theater in a box), but it does get the job done.  Naturally, there's no serious bass at all, but I was impressed that I could listen to some good music while I was first setting up the LG.  I fed it some Adele, Florence and the Machine, Tom Petty, and One Republic.  Not bad. Not tinny, despite the lack of bass.

I found impressive that I could have respectable volume without the projector case rattling and vibrating, as often happens with small projectors, and that's something I find very annoying.

LG was very thoughtful.  There's even a Digital Audio Out - the usual fibre-optic connector.  With that you can take the sound coming in from, perhaps an MHL device, or, for that matter any device carrying Audio as is typical of regular HDMI as well.

From that connector you can feed the sound to a serious home audio system - a typical surround sound receiver, etc.  And, of course, just because the LG has only 2 speakers, doesn't prevent you from feeding full surround sound from the source, to your external audio system.


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