Projector Reviews

1080p Projector Comparison Report-5

Viewsonic Pro8200 projector

The Pro8200 projector from Viewsonic sees a price reduction down to about $799 this year, and that makes it a particularly good value.  It’s lack of  dynamic iris leaves it with pretty basic black level performance, not quite up to the much more expensive Mitsubishi HC4000, but should be dandy for the right consumers.   And those would be folks with brighter rooms – family rooms, etc. We measured about 1650 lumens at brightest, and over 1400 calibrated.  In those brighter rooms that can’t be fully darkened, the black level advantage of some competitors will be lost, further cementing the value of this Viewsonic Pro8200.

This Viewsonic has some cross-over in its pedigree, and that includes a decent speaker.  Great if you want to take the Pro8200 out back for a movie night with the kids.  And better still, there’s an audio out, so you could feed a separate audio system, or, perhaps better for that outdoor movie night, a small powered subwoofer, to add some respectable bass to the overall sound.

The color wheel happens to be faster than a couple of the DLP competitors, I believe only the less bright Optoma HD20 has a faster wheel.  (Others not as fast: the BenQ and Vivitek).

The Pro8200 offers a 1.5:1 zoom for better placement flexibility than the usual under $1000 DLP home projectors.

Add to that,what is the best warranty I’m aware of, of any under $1000 home projector – three years parts and labor.

We were impressed last year.  At the new lower price, it’s more impressive.  Since we really didn’t find any all new under $1000 DLP projectors to do battle, it remains a strong value.

Vivitek H1080FD projector

The Vivitek is another of the sub-$1000, entry level single chip DLP projectors to come back again.  So far (3/12) pricing hasn’t changed much since we updated the review last February (2011) to reflect a drop in price. Today it still seems to be selling in the $899 to $999 range, probably the lower prices from non-authorized dealers, and the higher end, from those authorized, but you can never tell.   Adjusting teh color on this projector is very different from other projectors.  Your choice is basically the CMS (color management system) for the individual colors, but not a greyscale adjust.  None the less, the end results were not much different from other projectors, when it comes to color.

This Vivitek is 2D only (of course, considering it goes back to 12/2009), extremely bright – claiming 1800 lumens (and getting within a couple dozen lumens of that claim when Mike measured it.  Calibrated in Best mode, it offers an impressive 800+ lumens.  The 1800 lumens aren’t too pretty, but color gets rather good in modes that still produce 1200 lumens or so.  We liked this when we first reviewed it, but, now in its third year of shipping, it’s lack of any meaningful change in price in the last 14 months, tends to make it not the value it once was.

$2000 - $3500 1080p Home Theater Projectors

BenQ W7000 projector

The BenQ W7000 is one of my favorite new projectors for this year.  Built on the W6000 platform, this 3D and 2D projector is one of the brightest out there, it has ultra-high-contrast blacks, and that DLP look and feel.  Being a bit rainbow sensitive, I have previously owned to BenQ DLPs, and while the once in a while rainbows aren’t a big thing for me, I have to admit, that were it not for the rainbows, this is a projector I would be considering right now, as I look to choose a mid-priced projector for my great room, which never gets even vaguely dark during the daytime, and I plan to watch both sports and HDTV on it, though most viewing will stay in my theater.

The W7000 has those “ultra-high-contrast” blacks, that the W6000 had, a really sharp looking image, and good, not great brightness for 3D.  That is, it could be a bit brighter, not a match for say, the Panasonic or Epson  competition in 3D, but brighter than just about everything else in the price range.  Lens shift and a good zoom offer placement flexibility

Built from scratch (the W6000 that is) for brightness, the W7000 is about as bright as you will get for a DLP with 3D capabilities short of spending for some super-expensive 3 chip DLPs.

Mitsubishi HC7800D projector

Mitsubishi’s 3LCD designed HC7800D is new for this year.  Once again, Mitsubishi has churned out a really nice home theater projector – that really is designed strictly for the Home Theater or “cave”.   Mitsubishi has done a great job over the years with various excellent home projectors, but, overall, Mitsubishi’s 3 current home theater projectors are all best at “smaller screens” relative to the competition.  Even forgetting 3D, this HC7800D should be at its best with screens 110″ diagonal or less (think 100″ or less), when paired with typical white screens with low gain (1.0 – 1.4).  3D looks very good, but even at 100″ diagonal, things are getting a bit dim.

If you are not the big screen type, consider this Mitsubishi HC7800D to be a pretty classy projector with very repectable black level performance, really good color right out of the box without calibration.  Overall, the Mitsubishi offers excellent color with especially accurate and “believable” skin tones.

For those not going for the bigger screen sizes, the HC7800D makes a first class choice, definitely if you want that DLP look and feel.