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Panasonic PT-AR100U Review


First off, let me say for $1,000... I LOVE this projector!  The color, sharpness, and brightness of this projector are fantastic.  Not to mention there is virtually ZERO lag time while gaming.  I played some Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Battlefield: Bad Company, Left 4 Dead, and The Sims 3 on the PC.  On the PS3 I played Brutal Legend and Fight Night Champion.  Everything looked great, the only knock I can give this projector is the black level isn't going to knock your socks off, but it is VERY acceptable.  Keep in mind I am coming from an Epson 8700UB, which is over twice the price of the Panasonic PT-AR100U. I found the color was what I would like to call more "real world".  The Epson gives a dramatic "pop" to the color, which is a little over the top.  I also watched about 20 minutes of Gamer, Knowing, Star Wars, and Return of the Jedi on Blu-ray.  I wanted to experience all aspects of how this projector would perform in a non-theater environment.  While watching Star Wars, and Return of the Jedi I found the color was more believable, and realistic.  I did miss the black levels of my Epson 8700UB though.  I have beige walls, and ceiling.  I also deal with ambient light, which this projector had no issues handling. I would buy this projector in a second, especially with the street price of $999.99.  I haven't seen anything in this price range that has impressed me as much as the PT-AR100U.  It is one of the best bargains out there, I was even debating on buying one as a secondary projector...not that I need one.  LOL.   If you are looking for a gaming projector, and/or to use in a living room/family room environment, then you found it.  It has everything you would ever want, at a super low price.  Well, let's get to the meat of things:

The Good:

Virtually no lag for gaming (see lag tests here) Very good, natural color Very bright (link to lumen output here) Street price of $999.99 (AMAZING!!!) Great remote - brightly lit buttons and not too large Very good build quality, very solid Great placement flexibility, horizontal and vertical lens shift

The Bad:

Black levels aren't bad, but could be better No 3D, if that's your thing One year warranty, but this is a budget projector Lamp life

The Ugly:

A bit on the noisy side, but that's what surround sound at loud volume is for...right? As Art stated in his review under the light leakage section here, there was a dust blob visible on black screen.  I thought it was the black out cloth I was using for a screen, but alas it was a dust blob.  It may have just been an issue with this particular unit, it wasn't noticeable once I was watching a movie, or gaming. If you are a gamer on a budget, this is the projector for you.  If you are the dad (or mom) on a budget that wants to impress his (or her) kids with a huge screen for family night movies, then this projector is for you.  A sports fan who likes to have a lot of friends over with the lights on to watch the game, this one's for you. I will suggest an extended warranty, as this only has a one year warranty.  If you are really on a budget, at least get a third party lamp warranty.  Most of them cover two lamp replacements, and are available for about $80-$100 which covers a three year period.  Just make sure you buy through a reputable retailer. I am giving this projector an award, because I am amazed at what you get in this projector for $999.99.  I am as cheap as they come, and I think this projector is worth every damn penny!  I bestow upon the PT-AR100U, my More Bang For Your Buck award!

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