As we try to analyze this Viewsonic projector in both commercial and home worlds, know that while the controls provided for adjusting color are comparable to most other lower cost business / education projectors, they are not as comprehensive as one would find on a serious home theater projector. We consider this Viewsonic projector to be an entry level 1080p projector for home entertainment, and do not demand from it the high level of color accuracy we would hope for with more expensive home projectors.
For those looking to use this projector for serious purpose - not home entertainment, don't be concerned about calibration issues. Normally we don't calibrate most under $1000 projectors for home (we don't calibrate business projectors, only measure them). No one normally calibrates an under $2000 "business" projector. We will explore the image quality for business and education use, on the image quality page.
By working with the color management system we can improve the image, but normally you need full access to both types of adjustments (color temp/grayscale, and individual color management) to get really exceptional color results. We had to settle a bit, sorry, no color perfection, but certainly fine for most applications.
As a portable projector the Viewsonic PJD7820 HD has a lot going for it, of course starting with its native 1080p resolution, a full step up from most of the competition's WXGA resolution. Translated - this Viewsonic offers 1920x1080 resolution rather than 128x800. Let's just say it's resolution is twice as high as most of the competition, and approaching three times the resolution of a standard XGA projector.
The feature set as a portable projector is pretty strong, again, for the price, as you will note when taking our tour of the hardware, this Viewsonic is well endowed with inputs and connectors.
Below you will find some highlights, and the basic specs. You can also link to more specs and the data sheet. Further down, we'll look at some of the special features of this Viewsonic PJD7820 projector.
Viewsonic PJD7820 HD Special Features
This Viewsonic projector is not without a couple or three "frills" as a portable business projector. As a home projector, it would be considered a little more basic (lacking CFI for smooth motion - a rarity on under $1500 projectors - or a dynamic iris, neither considered features needed outside the home).
PJD7820HD Remote Mousing Functionality
Using the provided USB port, connecting to your computer the Viewsonic's remote can take on basic remote mousing functions with the arrow keys. There's also Page Up and Page down buttons, as well as left mouse, right mouse buttons on the remote.
For those that could use this basic interactivity, consider having it a nice touch. If you need a lot more, of course there are full interactive projectors (way more money). Since you navigate with arrow keys (common), know that there are 3rd party remote mice out there that use more easily controlled disk pads, joysticks and touch pads, all a little more direct. Still, having the standard remote mousing and page up/down functions sure beats not having them.
PJD7820HD Long Lamp Life
As a portable, or even installed projector for business or education usage, it's quite likely that the lamp will never need replacing during the projectors life span. Most portable projectors get only a few hours, maybe a dozen hours a week use. At 10 hours a week, this projector's lamp - in eco-mode should last 12 years! (But only 8 years at full power). So, even in a mounted setup in a classroom or training room, we should be talking several years of heavy use!
But, for home use, I figure anyone purchasing an under $1000 projector should consider the cost of replacing the lamp. Unless of course the lamp life is stellar. The good news is Viewsonic offers a great lamp life specification. Viewsonic claims 4000 hours at full power and up to 6000 hours in its smart eco-mode. Per Viewsonic, savings of up to 70% energy occur if you have selected their DynamicEco mode, and you are in standby.
One thing we like to comment on, and that's whether you can change out the lamp on a projector when it is ceiling mounted. It can be a real pain to unmount the projector, and then have to remount and align it again. As expected, the Viewsonic lamp is behind a lamp cover accessible from the top of the projector, so no problem.
Also of note, as a typical portable DLP projector there's no filter to change out.
PJD7820HD Projector - Respectable 3D
For business, the PJD7820HD offers some pretty bright 3D. It supports the major 3D formats including the ability to run packed 3D which is used by the Blu-ray 3D format. In part that's thanks to having an HDMI 1.4 capability. Many low cost business projectors with 3D lack HDMI 1.4 (cost), and therefore lack the Blu-ray 3D capability.
I can't speak about Viewsonic's DLP-Link glasses, none came with the projector. Fortunately I have several pair of DLP-Link glasses here, so used a pair of BenQ glasses, and some 3rd party ones. They worked just fine as expected. DLP-Link glasses are oft called "universal" glasses as they will work on any DLP-Link projector.
Overall 3D was particularly bright - no surprise considering we measured about 3500 lumens maximum!
For home use, the 3D easily is bright enough for a 110" diagonal screen. The image looks cross-over free (unless the source material has it's own cross-over issues). 3D is impressive for the price.
Viewsonic PJD7820 HD 1.8x Digital zoom
This Viewsonic does offer digital zoom capability from the button on the remote control. Once selecting it, you can press it repeatedly to get from no zoom (1.0x) to 1.8x in eight steps. That gives you the ability to zoom in on any one area of the screen. Once you start zooming in, the remote"s arrows let you move around to center the part of the screen you want magnified.
Digital zoom can come in handy when you need the audience to see smaller type and objects. For example, with the full 1.8:1 digital zoom, that would make 12 point type seem about the size of 20 point type!
This Viewsonic PJD7820HD interestingly offers complete individual color controls for the primary and secondary colors. For grayscale balancing, however it offers four presets (T1 through T4), but does not offer adjustable controls. More on that in the image quality page.
There are also 8 different gamma settings for adjusting the dynamics between bright, middle and low brightness areas. Some settings can be used in a business projector environment for more pop, if there's a lot of ambient light.
PJD7820HD Gaming Abilities
Need a break from business presentations, how about some serious gaming. The PJD7820HD projector is no slouch, with really minimal lag times. Using our usual file testing, we measured lag times as quick as 17ms or slightly slower. That not all measurements are consistent likely means at least one dynamic feature is having some effect.
17 ms is excellent. That's two to three times shorter lags than the typical LCD projector competition, but more to the point, it's not considered to be an issue at all among serious gamers playing high speed games. By comparison, anything over 50 ms is considered to bre at the point where lagging could affect play slightly. Score the Viewsonic PJD7820HD as excellent when it comes to gaming lag times!
Viewsonic PJD7820HD Green Features
There are two timers - one is content based the other is a sleep timer. In addition there are power saving modes for the VGA monitor output port and audio out, if not needed. And of course, the lamp is very long life!
CEC an HDMI feature should allow this projector to be controlled from other devices that are CEC equipped. The remote of the PJD7820HD does not have any obvious control buttons for other devices, but CEC can be turned on from the menus.
PJD7820HD Security Features
As with virtually all projectors there's a Kensington lock slot. The projector also offers software security in the form of being able to lock the control panel on the top of the projector, via a password input from the remote control. This renders the Viewsonic useless to vandals or a thief, if the remote control is securely protected.