Samsung SP-H710AE Projector Review - Image Quality
Never previously having the opportunity to view the SP-H710AE in my own environment, I have been a bit skeptical, about the relatively high price of this Samsung projector, considering its online distribution, and the fact that it is typical of lower priced projectors, being 720p resolution, but "powered" by a standard Darkchip2 DLP chip. (Today, 720p projectors with Darkchip2 start at $999, and most (sold online) are under $2000.
This skepticism, despite the "story" of the SP-H710AE - a projector whose performance has been finely tuned by industry legend Joe Kane, to perform as closely as possible to CRT projectors, (which are still considered the ultimate, in terms of image quality).
So, finally getting the Samsung in for review, I was very interested in what I would find. Let me start off here by saying, that when it comes to watching movies the Samsung/Kane team has really produced a projector that exceeds the experience of other Darkchip2 projectors.
Before I get into the images, let me tell you how my initial experience checked out. First of all, I figured, based on the SP-H710AE's reputation, the projector would not require the usual basic calibration of grayscale, contrast and brightness, that I normally do. Turns out, I was right, in that regard.
My first experience watching, was in my theater on my 128" Firehawk. I popped in Phantom of the Opera HD-DVD, and kicked back.
Almost immediately I discovered something I wasn't happy with. In the letter box areas, the blacks were definitely not very black, rather typical of Darkchip2 DLP projectors. I'm used to the blacker blacks of my own Darkchip3 BenQ.
But, the more I watched, the more impressed I became. Even without doing a side-by-side with another projector, I felt that the overall image was less contrasty - more natural. And to my surprise - despite warnings to that effect, I was also immediately aware of a level of shadow detail that I wasn't used to, nor expected.
After a while, I switched over to my BenQ PE-8720, just to confirm. Sure enough, the blacks on the BenQ were blacker in the letterbox area, and in the dark scenes. The shadow detail, however definitely exceeded my PE-8720's. Later I did some side by sides with the new Mitsubishi HC5000BL a brand new 1080p LCD projector with a claimed 10,000:1 contrast ratio, (like the BenQ) and again, the Samsung SP-H710AE reviewed more details in the shadows.