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LG ProBeam BF50RG Laser WUXGA Business Projector Review

Posted on June 29, 2024 by Philip Boyle
The LG BF50RG is the entry-level model in the company's ProBeam digital signage line of projectors.

The LG ProBeam BF50RG is a business-class Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector with WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) resolution, 5000 ANSI lumens of brightness, and a range of easy installation features like a 1.6X optical zoom, lens shift, warping, and edge blending, all for an MSRP of $2,399.

The BF50RG is designed for professional applications such as simulator markets, office meeting rooms, classrooms, and digital signage projectors. It is a jack-of-all-trades projector that is bright enough to produce quality images even in environments with large amounts of uncontrolled ambient lighting. In other words, it's a bright projector. 

This standard-throw projector offers a full range of connectivity options, including an RJ45 wired network connection supporting HDBaseT, wireless network connectivity, RS232, USB, and two HDMI 2.0 connections. From a very high level, webOS 6.0 for Signage is LG's software solution used in the company's line of digital signage flat-panel displays, and the BF50RG is one of the few LG ProBeam projectors with it. LG has made the platform available to many LG partners specializing in content management and distribution solutions.

I have reviewed other LG ProBeam models, such as the BU60PST and, more recently, the BU70QGA, and was very impressed by these projectors' picture qualities and feature sets. Check out my review by clicking the model number link above.

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LG BF50RG Specs
Price$2,399 MSRP
TechnologyDLP
Displayed ResolutionWUXGA (1,920 x 1,200)
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim5000 ANSI Lumens
Light SourceBlue Laser Phosphor
Contrast3,000,000:1 (Dynamic)
Zoom Lens Ratio1.6X
Sound System10 watt x2
Dimensions14.6 x 11.4 x 6.1 inches (370 x 290 x 156 mm)
Weight20.3 lbs.

 

Overview

Lg Bf50Rg Laser Projector Featured Image - Projector Reviews - Image
The LG BF50RG features a blue laser diode light source that delivers an impressive 5000 ANSI lumens of brightness.

The BF50RG ProBeam projector is designed for a range of business and education professionals, making large-scale projection more accessible and appealing for pro users. Even though LG is a leading manufacturer of flat panel displays, they understand that there is a real demand for a more immersive viewing experience that surpasses the capabilities of even the largest OLED or LCD TV. 

The ProBeam BF50RG's light engine is driven by a combination of a Texas Instruments DLP imager and a high-performance LG laser that, together with a range of light source components, are sealed to prevent dust particles from settling inside the projector's laser-projected light path and obstructing the projected image.

exas-Instruments-DLP4k-UHD-DMD-Chip-Pixel-Shifting-1
The Hisense PL1 uses a 0.47-inch Texas Instruments DMD to create a 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) pixel on screen image.

The LG BF50RG features a blue laser diode light source that delivers an impressive 5000 ANSI lumens of brightness. This brightness level allows the projector to be effectively used in various professional settings, including large halls, museums, and display environments with substantial ambient light. The high-output laser diode is rated for up to 20,000 hours of near-maintenance-free operation, which translates to playing videos seven days a week, eight hours a day for seven years. This diode eliminates the need for routine lamp replacements and maintenance, making the ProBeam BF50RG ideal for hard-to-reach locations such as creative museum displays or high-ceiling installations.

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If you play videos on this projector 8 hours a day, then the laser light source could last up to 7 years.

The ProBeam BF50RG projector is designed with remarkable flexibility and advanced features. It boasts a generous 1.6x optical zoom lens and horizontal & vertical lens shift (Horizontal ±20% | Vertical ±50%). These specifications are crucial for projectors being used in challenging venues or installations. Instead of digital adjustments, the optical adjustment range allows the projector to be mounted on existing projection mounts, enabling precise image fitting without compromising quality.

Equipped with a fully automatic and electronic focusing system, the BF50RG can be adjusted via a remote or software-based control system from a PC, phone, or tablet. LG provides 4, 9, 15, and 25-point warping functions to address image distortion and ensure precise alignment, which is especially useful for unusual projection surfaces or multi-projector setups.

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The projector also supports image rotation, enabling content to be displayed horizontally or vertically without changing the projector's physical orientation. There are no vertical or horizontal installation angle limitations.

This projector features built-in preset modes, including seven video and six audio presets, optimizing performance in various settings. Two built-in speakers and an HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) enhance the immersive experience by connecting to soundbars and supporting Dolby Digital passthrough and Dolby Atmos in-home theater setups. Bluetooth connectivity allows easy pairing with external Bluetooth speakers or sound systems.

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While the ProBeam BF50RG lacks some smart features found in LG's CineBeam products, it is powered by the LG webOS 6.0 Signage Platform, enhancing connectivity and productivity in business and education applications. The projector can connect with LG ConnectedCare, a cloud-based device management solution, and supports software development through the customizable webOS 6.0. This platform allows partners to add projection capabilities to their offerings and manage various content and custom software solutions.

The BF50RG offers network monitoring and control, compatible with third-party solutions from Crestron, Control4, Savant, and RS232C. It also supports dynamic HDR tone mapping for HDR10 content, automatically adjusting tone mapping curves according to the scene for optimal HDR performance.

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The ProBeam BF50RG projector is fully compatible with LG's optional One: Quick Share USB transmitter and software, enabling seamless wireless screen sharing. This feature enhances its versatility and ease of use in various professional settings.

With its impressive specs, including 5000 ANSI lumens of brightness and low maintenance requirements, the BF50RG stands out as a compelling solution for professionals. Its ability to function independently or as part of a network of up to nine projectors makes it suitable for diverse venues such as retail spaces, museums, and medium to large halls for tradeshows and conventions. Its advanced capabilities facilitate networked content distribution and streaming, simplifying complex setups.

LG offers three different BF series WXUGA laser projectors. The models offer similar features and cosmetics except for brightness and lens assemblies. 

LG 2024 ProBeam BF Series WUXGA Business Projectors
Model BF60RG BF50RG BF53RG
Price $2999 $2399 TBD
Brightness 6000 Lumens 5000 Lumens 5000 Lumens
Light Source Blue Laser Phosphor Blue Laser Phosphor Blue Laser Phosphor
Operating System Web OS 6.0 Web OS 6.0 Web OS 6.0
Contrast 3,000,000:1 Dynamic 3,000,000:1 Dynamic 3,000,000:1 Dynamic
Len Assembly 1.6x Standard Throw 1.6x Standard Throw Short Throw
Sound System 10 watt x 2 10 watt x 2 10 watt x 2

HIGHLIGHTS

  • WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) Displayed Resolution
  • DLP (0.47-inch DMD) with XPR imaging
  • 5000 ANSI Lumens
  • Laser Light Engine with up to 20,000 hours lifespan (NORMAL mode)
  • 3,000,000:1 (Dynamic Contrast Ratio)
  • 1.6x Optical Zoom Ratio
  • Lens Shift (Horiz ±20% | Vert ±50%)
  • HDR10 with Dynamic Tone Mapping
  • Integrated Wi-Fi & RJ45 for network connection
  • webOS Smart Signage 6.0
  • Supports LG's optional QuickShare USB devices
  • HDBaseT compatibility
  • Supports Crestron command and control software
  • Wireless screen share via Miracast
  • Wireless content shared via the TV Plus app (Android, iOS) or DLNA device
  • Dual 10-watt speaker system with Bluetooth

HARDWARE

CHASSIS

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The LG ProBeam BF50RG is relatively compact compared to many competitive professional projectors. It measures 14.6 x 11.4 x 6.1 inches (370 x 290 x 156 mm) and weighs 20.3 lbs (9.2 kg). Due to its size and weight, it is advisable to have assistance when lifting and positioning the unit, especially for those unfamiliar with handling larger projectors.

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When placed on a tabletop, the projector's lens is on the right side of the front panel, and it has air intakes and an IR receiver on the front left side. The projector's manual focus and zoom controls are wheels at the front of the lens assembly.

When looking from the front, the horizontal and vertical lens shift controls and an air intake vent are on the right side of the projector.

All inputs and connections are situated on the rear of the chassis. The cooling exhaust vent, combined power button/joystick, and control panel are also located on the back panel, allowing for full menu operation from this position. The left and right stereo speakers are firing backward in the projector's rear.

Refer to the chart below for a complete inventory of controls and connections.

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The ProBeam BF50RG's traditional remote control provides users an extensive range of controls for all projector operation aspects. Users can swiftly adjust projector settings for different source materials and lighting conditions. With a single button press, switching from making a presentation in a fully bright room to watching sports or TV after dark becomes effortless.

Most projector controls can be accessed and operated via LG command and control software, such as LG Control Manager. Be aware that this remote is designed to be used with a wide range of projector models and features some buttons, like the lens focus and shift buttons, that do not work on this projector.

Reaction time using the remote or the control panel seems sluggish.

THE LENS

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The ProBeam BF50RG has a zoom range of 1.6x, allowing for placement at throw ratios of 1.30 ‐ 2.08. Throw distance can be quickly calculated using the screen width: Throw Ratio = Throw Distance/Image Width.

The ProBeam BF50RG has manual lens shift controls for horizontal and vertical shifts located on the projector's right side when looking from the front. Users can manually adjust the projector's lens shift settings by rotating the control wheels on the side of the projector. Like all projectors with H/V shifts, moving the image in one direction will limit the amount of shift available in the opposite direction. Lens Shift: (Horiz ±20% & Vert ±50%).

LG created an online Projection Calculator to help users determine if LG projectors will work in their rooms. The app will provide throw distances and other installation-related information if you input the LG projector model, screen size, and aspect ratio. 

MENUS

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The LG ProBeam BF50RG features an intuitive and user-friendly menu system, which is especially impressive for a professional display with many features. The visual operation guides for making specific adjustments are particularly helpful.

The BF50RG is part of LG's digital signage lineup. It incorporates a built-in webOS System on Chip (SoC) that allows communication with an external server and playing media content without needing an external player or display control device.

LG webOS is a web-centric platform that offers powerful tools for developing rich web applications. The developer-friendly webOS menus make it easy to navigate and utilize the projector's extensive features, including content playback and access to a wide range of solutions and services.

PERFORMANCE

COLOR REPRODUCTION

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The color performance of the BF50RG is excellent and consistent with the other LG professional projectors I have reviewed. I'm used to professional projectors with a blue or greenish cast, regardless of your preset picture mode. Still, the BF50RG displays colors similar to many more color-tuned home blue laser phosphor projectors I have used. Because the BF50RG is a DLP projector, the overall displayed colors from preset to preset mode can run the gamut from neutral to the typical over-saturation tuning often found on DLP projectors. The brighter modes on this projector appear more blueish because these modes are designed for environments with large amounts of uncontrolled ambient light, such as when used to display content at tradeshows, business, and event showcases where there will be many bright lights.

I've included content created for use in digital signage and presentations, which the BF50RG is primarily designed to display. As you can see, colors sometimes pop, appearing to have saturated depth, which customers want from a projector whose content needs to be eye-catching at various distances and angles.

LG provides a wide range of manual controls that allow the picture to be tuned to meet your needs; however, the image still displays a noticeable red hue. Below are my impressions regarding the projector's out-of-the-box preset picture modes.

MALL/QSR: This is the brightest but least accurate picture mode. It is most appropriate for displaying presentation materials where color accuracy takes a back seat to make the content visible to almost anyone in the venue.

TRANSPORTATION: This is the best mode to select when the projector is in a location with a large amount of uncontrolled ambient light. One of the benefits of the oversaturated colors I talked about above is that color remains decent even at the projector's highest light setting.

EDUCATION: This mode allows viewing movies in a darkened room. It has good contrast and color accuracy. Users would select EDUCATION mode to view photos and collaborate in presentations and educational environments. These environments give presenters good overall control of the venue's light sources.

SCREEN/GAME: This mode is designed to be used when watching GAME content providing users an experience that is best used for high speed content.

GOV/CORP: This mode provides a realistic picture, even when the source image's gradation level is high. It allows viewing videos or movies in a room with ambient light. It is one of the more accurate picture modes.

GENERAL: This mode strikes a balance between brightness and accuracy and succeeds for the most part. It lets you enjoy a dynamic, clear image by correcting the light and dark areas of the display.

EXPERT: This mode usually provides users with the many benefits of the FILMMAKER mode found on modern home theater projectors. However, BF50RG's EXPERT mode is more like the CINEMA mode, traditionally designed for home theater projectors that account for large amounts of ambient light. This mode will provide a decent amount of dark and light area detail and a very neutral color.

CALIBRATION: This mode is designed for use by an expert, image calibrator, or anyone who loves picture quality. It is one of the better choices if you manually tune the projector settings to achieve the best picture quality.

HOSPITAL: This mode is similar to what is sometimes called DICOM-SIM mode. It is designed to display medical imaging results, such as X-rays, MRI, and CAT results.

BRIGHTNESS

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  • LG BF50RG Projector Brightness - Projector Reviews - Image
  • LG BF50RG Projector Brightness - Projector Reviews - Image
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Even though it displays 5000 ANSI lumens of brightness, the ProBeam BF50RG is LG's lowest brightness projector in this specific line of ProBeam projectors. The highest brightness reading on the projector's out-of-the-box modes is the MALL/QSR preset mode. I took measurements at different positions around the lens, about 15-20% out from the center.

The ProBeam BF50RG measured 5264 ANSI lumens, 264 ANSI lumens brighter than LG's brightness claim. To verify the accuracy of my findings, I meticulously inspected my equipment, replaced the batteries in my meter, and repeated the measurement process twice, consistently obtaining nearly identical results, with only slight variations in lumens. Additionally, I extended my analysis to include the other preset picture modes. Please refer to the accompanying chart for a comprehensive overview of my measurements.

 

 LG ProBeam BF50RG Preset Mode's Brightness

Picture ModesBrightness Measured (ANSI Lumens)
MALL/QSR5264 ANSI Lumens
GENERAL5172 ANSI Lumens
TRANSPORTATION3465 ANSI Lumens
SCREEN/GAME3150 ANSI Lumens
GOV/CORP3070 ANSI Lumens
EXPERT2120ANSI Lumens
CALIBRATION3368 ANSI Lumens
HOSPITAL516 ANSI Lumens

 

BLACK LEVEL AND SHADOW DETAIL

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  • LG BF50RG Projector Blacks and Shadows - Projector Reviews - Image

Like almost all high-brightness pro projectors, the BF50RG's Achilles heel is its brightness rating, which, even with features like Dynamic Contrast engaged, the projector produces very poor black-level performance. Poor black levels will not be an issue, considering how and where this projector is intended to be used. Digital signage environments, trade shows, and meeting rooms with lights-on viewing require high brightness while maintaining decent color saturation, which this projector is designed to provide.

The blacks on the BF50RG are closer to dark gray. Details are visible within the darker and brighter areas of the projected image, even with the room lights on. The ProBeam BF50RG is an excellent choice for venues with uncontrolled ambient light sources.

The ProBeam BF50RG continues LG's trend of creating a range of professional projectors that support High Dynamic Range formats, including HDR10 and HLG. It can dynamically tone map HDR10 content while maintaining good highlight detail.

The BF50RG offers Dynamic Tone mapping, a feature that fits very well with this high-brightness projector. When watching entertainment-based content, I preferred how it made my HDR movies look. Dynamic tone mapping will not come into play for all the other content I displayed (presentations, advertisements, and documents). Even though the BF50RG offers 5000 ANSI lumens of brightness, tone mapping will knock that down, so use it only when the situation calls for it. It's nice to have features like HDR, dynamic tone-mapping, and dynamic contrast, which could very well be more common at some point in the content being produced to display on this type of projector.

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TEXT AND PRESENTATION

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  • LG BF50RG Projector Text and Presentation - Projector Reviews - Image

The LG ProBeam BF50RG produces images with great detail without being overly sharp. Users will find this trait advantageous when projecting text, especially small fonts. This projector's WUXGA resolution does a very competent job displaying text from the screen, even from 15 feet on a 100-inch screen. Even 8-point fonts can be readable at this same distance and don't distort around the edges. This applies to PowerPoint presentations and typical websites, although small text-heavy websites may have problems with anything smaller than 8-point fonts.

Colors on presentations also look quite good on-screen, especially high-contrast ones.

SOUND QUALITY

The LG ProBeam BF50RG has two 5-watt speakers built in that fire from the projector's rear. Volume is above average on this projector, and I had no issue hearing dialog at the back of the room. The BF50RG's sound system should be audible in a classroom, boardroom, or small to medium event space. Still, I'm not sure the projector could be heard in a larger space, especially with lots of people and environmental noise.

The BF50RG's speakers do not distort at higher volume levels, which is good because this is likely where the projector's volume will be set when needed to play audio along with video content. Event professionals should be satisfied with the projector's speaker quality in most small-to-medium and larger spaces where environmental noise is not an issue.

The ProBeam BF50RG's 29 dB to 33 dB-rated fan noise is lower than I expected for a high-brightness professional projector. It is a little louder than a large home projector, but it will be fine for this projector's targeted customer and use case. Fan noise is not typically heard in retail and boardroom environments.

SUMMARY

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The LG ProBeam BF50RG is a versatile and powerful WUXGA professional projector meticulously designed to cater to the diverse needs of businesses, educators, retailers, and event organizers. This cutting-edge projector represents a significant expansion of LG's digital signage portfolio, moving beyond traditional flat panels and offering a dynamic, engaging alternative for captivating audiences in various settings.

At the heart of the BF50RG lies the innovative webOS 6.0 platform, which revolutionizes content delivery by eliminating the reliance on external media devices. This integrated solution streamlines the setup process, reducing costs and minimizing potential points of failure while enhancing communication and control capabilities when paired with compatible CMS solutions like Woven Media. Furthermore, webOS 6.0 empowers LG partners with unparalleled customization options and granular device-level control, surpassing the capabilities of conventional third-party solutions.

LG BF50RG Projector Text and Presentation - Projector Reviews - Image

The projector's visual prowess is undeniable. It has an impressive WUXGA resolution and a robust blue laser phosphor light engine, guaranteeing 20,000 hours of uninterrupted operation without requiring maintenance. Its edge blending capabilities further elevate its versatility, enabling the creation of expansive, immersive displays with unique shapes and configurations ideal for large venues and creative installations.

Not tailored for home theater enthusiasts seeking absolute darkness, the BF50RG truly shines in environments with high ambient light. Though not perfectly inky, its gray blacks do not detract from the projector's exceptional ability to reveal subtle details across the entire spectrum of the projected image, ensuring clarity and visibility even in challenging lighting conditions.

Setting up the BF50RG is a seamless experience, thanks to its 1.6x optical zoom, convenient manual lens shift, and precise focus adjustments. Its inclusion of wired and wireless networking options allows users to effortlessly access content directly from their network—a feature not commonly found in professional projectors.

The projector's out-of-the-box color accuracy is commendable, delivering vibrant and lifelike visuals right from the start. However, for those who demand an even more personalized and finely-tuned viewing experience, the BF50RG offers built-in professional calibration adjustments. These adjustments enable users to optimize color reproduction to their preferences and specific content requirements.

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The LG ProBeam BF50RG is an exceptional value, particularly for digital signage, education, and business professionals. Its remarkable performance and features make it an ideal choice for various applications, from illuminating classrooms and boardrooms to enhancing the visual experience in houses of worship.

For those seeking an ultra-bright business projector, the BF50RG is a standout contender. It offers a compelling combination of brightness, image quality, and versatility that is hard to match. Its robust construction and long-lasting laser light source ensure years of reliable service, making it a wise investment for any organization.

With an MSRP of $2,399, the BF50RG represents a compelling value proposition, especially considering its extensive capabilities and potential applications. This projector should be a great addition to your inventory, poised to deliver exceptional results and elevated visual communication.

COMPETITION

Sony VPL-PHZ51 $2.699 MSRP

The Sony VPL-PHZ51 is a projector designed to work well in almost any education or business space, like a medium to a large meeting room. This projector is also an excellent simulation projector. The speaker is loud enough for a classroom and even a meeting room, but using it in an auditorium or lecture hall may require connecting it to an external audio source. The Sony is rated at 5899 ANSI lumens, 800 lumens higher than the LG's 5000 ANSI lumens. This difference may not be dramatic at very high brightness levels, though.

The VPL-PHZ51 is not a digital signage projector that can be mounted at any angle. Sony warns not to use the projector if it is tilted more than 15 degrees, and while this projector comes with a very generous Sony warranty, it is not designed to be run 24/7. Based on Sony's clearly stated use cases, I think the flexibility offered by the LG BF50RG gives it a serious advantage over Sony.

The Sony VPL-PHZ51 is a WUXGA (1920 x 1200p) laser projector identical to the LG. Like the LG, the VPL-PHZ51 is so bright that it can easily be used in environments with little control over artificial light sources, such as retail shops or museums.

Sony Reality Creation technology presents visual content like presentations beautifully, and Reality Text makes fine edges and text pop without introducing additional noise into the image. Sony's reality creation technology provides some of the industry's best-displayed edge and text detail. Still, LG also does a very good job rendering detailed edges and text.

It may seem unfair to compare these two projectors since Sony says that the VPL-PHZ51 is meant for something other than digital signage. Still, both projectors are sold in the business and education markets and offer similar features while selling for roughly the same price. It's impossible not to see them as direct competitors. The LG can be used in more professional environments than the Sony, so I have to give the LG an overall advantage.

PROS

  • 5000 ANSI Lumens means that even in the worst light-saturated environments, you'll have enough brightness to show your content.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi in a category where this is usually an additional purchase.
  • Laser phosphor illumination rated at 20,000 hours is far better than a lamp-based projector.
  • WUXGA (1920 x 1200) display resolution provides high-resolution video and detailed presentations.
  • Good Color Reproduction.
  • Excellent HDR picture quality compared to other business projectors.
  • The BF50RG includes features such as dynamic tone mapping and contrast.
  • It is small for its performance and class, making installation safer and potentially faster.
  • Digital image rotation allows both portrait and landscape displays without turning the projector.
  • The projector offers 360-degree mounting flexibility for space-challenged environments.
  • It features both horizontal and vertical lens shifting and up to 25-point warping for fast alignment with screens and projecting on uneven surfaces.
  • 3-year parts and labor warranty.

CONS

  • The response times of the remote-activated features can be slow.
  • The black floor on this projector is higher than average, making blacks appear medium gray.
  • The remote control is not backlit and features some buttons that are not supported on this projector like remote lens focus.
  • The built-in speaker's sound quality could be more dynamic, and in large areas with high ambient noise, an external sound source may be required.

LG BF50RG – SPECIFICATIONS

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LG BF50RG Full Specifications
Projector ModelBF50RG
Price$2,399 MSRP
Imager TypeDLP (0.47" DMD)
Displayed Resolution WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200)
Native Resolution1,920 x 1,200
Brightness5000 ANSI Lumens
Light Source TypeBlue Laser Phosphor
Light Source Life20,000+ hours (Normal)
Contrast Ratio2,000,000:1 (Dynamic)
Zoom Lens Ratio1.6x
Power Zoom/FocusNo
Lens ShiftYes
Interchangeable LensNo
Ultra-Short ThrowNo
Native Aspect Ratio16:10
Built-in Rechargeable BatteryNo
DVI or HDMIHDMI
3DNo
Blu-Ray 3DNo
Sound System10 watt x2
Noise Level (-dB) 
Low Lag GamingNo
Smart FunctionalityYes, for Digital Signage
BusinessYes
ClassroomYes
PortableYes
Special Features5000 ANSI lumens, Web OS 6.0
NetworkingWi-Fi
Dimensions (HxWxD)14.6 x 11.4 x 6.1 inches
Weight20.3 lbs.
Warranty3-year parts and labor warranty.

 

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