Posted on September 3, 2019 By Art Feierman and Nikki Kahl
Ultra-short throw laser projectors are hitting people’s living rooms, family rooms and bedrooms. So far, LG’s HU85LA is the standout projector, short of going really high end. If price is no consequence, you could go with this $5,999 list price LG, or you could drop $24,999 on Sony’s native 4K. As we say, there are always trade-offs, even at that price – the Sony is better when it comes to picture, but, it is also dumb as a rock.
The LG HU85LA is not just a most-impressive projector in terms of picture, but it is almost certainly the smartest and most well thought out serious home entertainment/home theater projector on the planet! That’s high praise, coming from us. The LG is one of the first of a new generation of projectors designed to bring a large screen experience into the common rooms of your home. It is part of a growing trend, and in the coming months, you’ll see a number of new ultra short throw projectors hitting the market that are similar to the LG in several ways.
Let’s explore the LG further: The LG HU85LA is a 2,700 lumen, 4K UHD projector using DLP technology and a dual laser light engine. I should point out that some of the other ultra short throw laser projectors will be priced lower because they are using single laser engines. From our experience with a significant number of laser projectors on the commercial side, and on the home theater side, dual lasers done right makes a real difference, and that is an advantage of the HU85LA.
Prior to this model, LG had already been making smart projectors for years – and we have reviewed a few. This HU85LA offers almost identical smart features to LG’s premium OLED TVs. What are the differences, then, being different types of displays? I love the smarts, but it is the picture and the size that sell projectors.
Not only is the HU85LA loaded with apps, and has access to LG’s well respected App Store, but you can control it with Google assistant. The remote control even has a microphone button to control the projector or ask questions of the Google Assistant. From a practical example, I walk into my living room where the LG is set up, I take out my phone, turn on airplay, and as soon as I do that, the Apple TV coming alive causes the LG to turn on, switch to the correct input, and change to the appropriate Picture Mode.
I did not have to do anything special beyond, of course, getting the projector onto my local Wi-Fi, and already having my Apple TV working. Basically, my devices were all talking to each other, and with the smarts they have, things like this happen without any programming on my part. Sweet!
Ultimately, though, it is the picture of that counts. This is a bright room projector that wasn’t designed for the dedicated home theater, although it will be perfectly at home in one. The presumption is that you have all those lumens because you’re in room that is not perfectly dark, or even close – and perhaps you even like to watch sporting events with friends with the light on in the room.
Eric calibrated this projector and the color came out rather good. Color was just about right on. In 4K, it could not get to P3, but overall, color looks rather good in the best modes this projector. The LG HU85LA has several modes pumped up for cutting through ambient light – in its brightest mode, it even beat its claim. Black levels are decent and suitable for a bright room projector in a room that’s not pitch black. The projector automatically switches to HDR when using 4K, but it only supports HDR10 – not HGL for broadcast.
A scene from Ghostbusters, projected by the LG HU85LA.
A scene from Passengers, projected by the LG HU85LA.
A scene from The Hunger Games, projected by the LG HU85LA.
An HDTV football game, projected by the LG HU85LA in ambient light, using a UST ALR screen.
Overall, the LG HU85LA is a fine projector for the common rooms of your home. Nicely bright – enough so to cut through the ambient light coming from your windows or your overhead lights – so you’ll be able to watch your favorite TV shows, sports and movies any time of day, no problem. That it is ultra short throw makes it particularly fitting for a living room type environment, as the projector will sit just inches from the screen, on a low table or credenza, keeping it as out of the way as a TV would be.
Speaking of ultra short throw, this is a desirable trait in a projectors for gamers. With an ultra short throw, you’ll never run the risk of your spouse or child walking in front of the projection mid-shot while playing Call of Duty or Battlefield 5 online. By the way – the input lag of this projector measured at mid-50’s, which is considered right on the edge of “okay” for gaming. Casual gamers should be fine with this LG, but it will be less-than-satisfactory for those hardcore competitive gamers.
I am considering an ultra short throw projector for my living room in Florida, when we move at the end of this month. This LG, along with a couple of others, is one I am looking at. I haven’t made any decisions yet, but when I do, you will be the first to know about it! That’s about it – for more details on the LG HU85LA, visit my full review of the projector.
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LG HU85LA Review
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