Projector Reviews

LG PF85U LED Projector Review – Summary 2

PF85U LED PROJECTOR – SUMMARY PAGE 2:  Brightness, The Bottom Line

PF85U Projector - Brightness

Brightness is a relative weakness, at least if a lot of brightness is what you need.  In fairness, the LG is about as bright as any compact LED projector currently shipping.  Still, at it’s brightest, this projector musters up only about 700 lumens, which is no match for low cost lamp based projectors.  That is, to some extent, the price you pay for a very small LED light source projector.

A lamp based projector of the same weight and similar price will likely have 2500 to 3000 lumens, so 5 times as bright, and therefore can handle much larger rooms or, more to the point, far more ambient light. Those projectors though will also typically be a size larger, but many weigh no more, or even less.

And few have as many smarts as this LG, which is especially well endowed.

Some of the things you should be considering (relative to brightness)  is where you are going to set up the projector, and your ability to control the lighting.  Also, I always recommend using a screen instead of a white, or off white wall.  The right screen can help with some of that ambient light.

Figure out what size image you plan to project, and also, where will you be sitting.   Most likely the LG projector will be 6-10 feet back if you are running from about a 60″ to 100″ diagonal screen size.  I mention because if you need the LG’s maximum brightness, it can get noisy.  I guess if you are gaming Call Of Duty, you won’t hear the fan over the explosions, but not all games are loud, not to mention movies, comedies on TV, or surfing the web with your LG.

LG PF85U LED Projector - The Bottom Line!

I really like the idea of compact LED projectors.  I don’t understand why the smallest one’s are called pico projectors because they are about a million times larger than a  picometer.  I also don’t understand why the larger ones, which might include this LG, are often called pocket projectors.   a projector with over a 100 square inch footprint isn’t fitting into anyone’s pocket.

One of the things I like most about such projectors is that they are the ones pushing some of the envelopes.   I think MHL (mobile HDMI) is a very good thing that brings the kind of smarts we see on the more upscale LCDTVs to projectors.

LG goes even further.  Not only does the PF85U support MHL, so my Roku stick works, but it ties into (via wifi/internet) a whole lot of content, as you can see in the first image in this player.

 

 

LG’s own Smart store provides apps and access to: Netflix, Vudu, You Tube, Vtuner, Amazon, MLB, Spotify, Googlemap, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa and more!  Just pick up that Smart remote and enjoy (and pay in some cases, of course).  And the LG85U supports Miracast/Wifi Direct.

I could wish for more lumens (always), and faster lag times would be great for those into serious gaming, but overall, the PF85U is one impressive projector.  And I say that despite it measuring up as a 700 lumen projector, not the 1000 lumens claimed.  I’m almost amazed by the zillions of menus.  You can watch things the easy way (presets) the medium way (using the picture wizards) or you can, if so inclined, manually calibrate this projector the same way you might calibrate a $5000 one.  It’s got all the needed controls.

The Smart remote is awesome.  As mentioned it seems to be based on the old Gyration momentum oriented operation.   It works just great with the PF85U for navigating the menus, or the content, but it’s even better perhaps if you are running a formal business presentation.  The point being you just won’t find a faster, more responsive “remote mouse.”  And there’s that regular remote control as well.

If I need a couple of things to complain about, first would have to be the fan noise.  It’s not that it screams (well, it does screa when Peak boost is on Vivid), but rather that it is also high pitched, not just loud.  Fortunately it’s reasonably acceptable when Peak is not used.  Still, most LED projectors and conventional lamp projectors around this price point will be quieter, or at least seem so by being lower pitched.  It’s an issue, but not really a deal breaker unless you intend this LG for serious home theater, and that’s not exactly what it’s designed for.

I would have liked to see an SD card slot, although you could use a USB adapter, but that’s just not as convenient.

In fact, what it’s designed for is serious Home Entertainment.  The PF85U projector is small enough to move around, or setup on a minute’s notice.  It’s built for the home but doubles as a respectable class lightweight portable business projector, (with better sound than most), as long as you don’t need far more brightness.  At the minimum this LG projector will be comfortable doing a typical 60″ screen in a typical conference room with lights partially on.

It’s the 1080p!

When all is considered, what really separates the PF85U projector from most of the competition (of LED projectors), is the 1080p resolution.  We’re just starting to see full HD resolution reach these small projectors.  The LG isn’t the only one, but so far, of the ones I am aware of, its certainly the most feature laden, and its almost certainly the easiest to use.

Given that there are lamp based projectors out there, that are much brighter, and some are around the same weight, the LG shines as a projector that is versatile, and portable, and easy to use.

The picture quality (considering I did not do a calibration on it) turned out rather impressive.  The wizard worked well, resulting in a better picture than the Cinema mode, and took but a minute or two to configure.

With all the controls available, I imagine that if fully calibrated, the LG PF85U should rival the color accuracy of almost any calibrated lamp based projector near its price.  I think you’ll agree, that despite the lack of a calibration, the photos in this review do confirm that the picture is really good.

Also of significance, credit LG with providing a 2 year warranty on the projector, when the competition is mostly serving up only a single year.

So, why does the LG PF85U earn one of our Hot Product Awards?  Glad you asked.  For an LED projector, designed primarily for home, it seems to be the complete package.  That’ it’s a capable compact projector that can also be used for business, is a bonus for many.

Still, first of all, it’s true 1080p resolution!  If you are watching movies, etc. at 70 or 100 or even larger, you really don’t want 720p.   And most of the LED competition is 720p, or even lower.

Then it’s easy to use, especially after you realize that while the LG offers almost an infinite number of menus and settings, that you really don’t need to mess with most of them, unless you are the enthusiast type, who lives to “play” with their projectors.  And if you are one of those, the LG’s got all the goodies you want.

And it has as good or better sound quality than any other projector its size.  It won’t replace a surround sound system for watching Star Wars or Divergent, but it will get the job done.

And it’s Smart – it’s got more smarts than any other projector I can think of. LG’s network reminds me of similar capabilities I can access through my PS3 in terms of content, like Netflix, but the beauty is, unless you want to have a Blu-ray player, you don’t need one, two watch those movies.  The LG, in other words, allows you to cut the cord – no Blu-ray, no satellite, no cable, just a wifi connection (and maybe a game console, or computer), just as many of us no longer have land lines, just rely on our “smart” phones.

 

When all is considered, LG managed to really create a rather complete package, it’s very capable, and about as good as one could hope for in an LED based projector at this time!  Congratulations LG!