Projector Reviews

ViewSonic LS620X Short Throw Laser Projector Review – Picture and Audio Quality

ViewSonic LS620X Short Throw Laser Projector Review – Picture and Audio Quality: Color Modes, Video Image Quality, Text and Presentation Quality, Audio Quality

Color Modes

I am a fan of 3LCD projectors for the fact that they offer great color accuracy and you don’t have to sacrifice brightness to find really good color – DLP’s typically offer poor color until you cut advertised brightness in half.  When I first heard of ViewSonic’s claim this DLP business and education projector had “SuperColor,” I was skeptical it was anything more than marketing.  “SuperColor” is ViewSonic’s name for their proprietary 6-segment RYGCBW color wheel and dynamic lamp control.  I was pleasantly surprised at the out-of-the-box color this projector has to offer.

A word about the DLP Rainbow Effect:  I am among the 5% or so of the population that finds themselves “rainbow sensitive.”  I, thankfully, have it far less-worse than someone like Art, and only see rainbows when I am walking by the screen, or if I move my eyes from one area of the screen to another.  Most of the time, it isn’t an issue for me.  Others see rainbows in every image and find it difficult to use a DLP projector.  This is one of the reasons I tend to favor 3LCD units – the technology is completely different and there is no rainbow effect.

I’m used to seeing DLP business projectors turn what is intended to be a vivid red into a maroon-ish “wine” color, and a bright sunny yellow into French’s Mustard.  I am happy to report that did not happen with the LS620X – in any color mode!  This is all without me fiddling with the CMS, which offers additional options to tweak color to your heart’s desire.  Photos of the CMS are available back on the Hardware 1 page.  Obviously, this projector isn’t going to come close to a home theater projector, but that isn’t what its designed for, so no worries there.

The ViewSonic LS620X offers five color modes: Brightest, Dynamic, Standard, sRGB, and Movie, plus the ability to run Eco mode off any of those five.  We tested Eco mode in “Brightest.”  We’ll start here with the first mode at the top of the color-mode list – Brightest.  Brightest is that nasty yellow-green “bright” mode that should only be used in cases of emergency – which is why we refer to it as the “In Case of Emergency Break Glass” mode, because it’s just offensive – but that’s typical of most projectors in the business and education market!  Brightest in Eco mode offers the same icky color, but at a lower brightness.

I wasn’t a fan of Dynamic, and felt it was still a bit green – not even the “too cool/blue” we’re used to seeing as the manufacturer preferred mode for presentations.  The colors pop a little more, but still, it wouldn’t be among my first choices.  Skipping ahead to sRGB and Movie mode, we find both offer some nice color for a $1200 DLP, but seemed a little too warm – a little too much to the pinks and reds, especially noticeable in the skin tones seen above, but also seen in the white background itself.

Standard mode falls between Dynamic and sRGB, and offers some really nice color for the price point, and is the mode I used for all the Video Image Quality, and Text and Presentation Quality images seen below.  Skin tones look fairly accurate, and the colors are bright and vivid.  In Standard Mode, I found the color to be more than satisfactory and can’t really find anything to knock the LS620X on!

Video Image Quality

As mentioned above, these photos were taken in Standard Mode.  Before we get caught up in the fact the resolution is less-than stellar, which makes causes sharpness to suffer in a big way – this is an XGA (1024×768) projector.  These images are from a 1080p source, but are downgraded into a 1080p data mode, offering an image only 1024 wide instead of 1920 – that’s a significant reduction in quality.  An WXGA model would give a bit more resolution, at 1280 pixels in width, but as we are looking at an XGA, that was probably what draw you to this projector in-particular – the need to replace an older, obsolete unit without replacing all the other existing hardware.

Journey To Space ViewSonic LS620X
The instrumentation of the Orion Spacecraft, as seen projected by the ViewSonic LS620X.

Being a low-resolution model, the text seen in the above scene from Journey to Space illustrates the effects on sharpness of text contained in 1080p video – not crystal clear, but “good enough” maybe for some usage situations.

As I said in the above section on color modes, I found color to be more than satisfactory – bright and vivid colors made video enjoyable to watch despite the low resolution.  Skin tones look fairly accurate, reds were red and yellows weren’t the type of yellow you’d see on a hotdog.  I guess there’s something to ViewSonic’s “SuperColor” 6-segment color wheel!

Text and Presentation Quality

Many of the images we use here for Text and Presentation Quality are 1920×1080, which were noticeably distorted on this XGA projector.  It is included for reference.  I reproduced the Text Readability Chart on my desktop and took a screenshot, displaying it as a projected image at the resolution a connected computer would actually use for this type of projector.

Yes, I still use Windows XP.  No, I don’t have any desire to upgrade.  It runs as well as it did the day I built it – almost.

From 12 feet back, 12pt sized text was questionable, and completely unusable at 20 feet from the screen.  16 pt text is what I would consider to be the smallest acceptable size for this projector.  An on-screen presentation would likely use 24 pt text for most content to ensure readability throughout the entire room.

Website text was hit and miss – some websites it was crystal clear, other’s it was unreadable.  It greatly depends on the text and background colors, and the font being used.  Some of SpaceX’s website content was very clear, and others were distorted bunches of pixels – barely discernable as text.  This appears to be, mostly, a resolution issue.

Audio Quality

ViewSonic LS620X Speakers

The ViewSonic LS620X features two 10.0 Watt speakers, located on the bottom of the projector.  There are some extreme differences in audio levels compared to speaker power among the different business and education projector manufactures.  For instance, you would expect a 16 Watt speaker to be louder than a 10 Watt speaker in just about every imaginable instance.  But that’s not always the case.

And it certainly wasn’t the case here.  The speakers built into the LS620X are loud.  Let me put it this way – This projector has a volume scale of 0 through 10: 0 is muted; 1 is loud, 2-10 is “Great Googly Moogly! Turn it down!”  Even in a large classroom with some noise outside, I would be surprised to hear about anybody having trouble hearing audio emitted from the onboard speakers.

The quality of the audio is about what can be expected from internal speakers – it’s a projector, not a stereo.  There is no bass what-so-ever, and the higher volume settings (8-10) are noticeably tinny.  They’re not unusable by any means, but and will definitely be adequate for the classroom or conference room environment.

If you’re hoping to connect this projector to external audio equipment, well, there’s a jack for that!  A 3.5mm Audio Out MiniJack can be found on the inputs and connectors panel at the rear of the projector.