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Viewsonic PLED-W800 Portable LED Projector - Performance

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Art Feierman
PLED-W800 PROJECTOR REVIEW - PERFORMANCE:  Brightness of the color modes, Sharpness, Audible noise speakers and sound, Image noise    

PLED-W800 Brightness

PLED-W800 Brightness
Color Mode Brightness (Lumens)
Movie 481
Dynamic 651
ViewMatch 489
Brightest 678
PC 547

Like most of the pocket LED projectors we've reviewed, this Viewsonic did not measure as many lumens as the manufacturer claims.  Since that's common, let's instead focus on what it does have.  Dynamic, at 651 lumens, I recommend as the one to use, thanks to having better color.  Brightest mode, by comparison seems very yellow (and green).

As you can see in the table, the two brightest modes are very close in brightness.  It should be noted that both modes have Brilliant Color set to maximum (9).  PC mode comes next dropping down to 547.  Then come Movie and ViewMatch with almost identical measurements at 481 and 488. These two modes have no Brilliant Color control.

There were very few measurements to do for this projector, for there is no eco mode.  If the projector had a zoom lens, then we would have measured the difference between the different settings.

Relative to the W800's physical size, it's brighter, I believe that most of the competition we've reviewed, but these projectors get brighter every year as new models come out.  Two to three years ago we were lucky to measure 250 lumens (at their brightest)  from projectors this size.


PLED-W800 Sharpness

For a WXGA (1280x800) projector, it looks pretty sharp.  The lens is a little difficult to get to the best focus.  The optics are reasonable, but there is some difference in focus between the center and the corners - which is not surprising. Best to focus about 1/3rd of the way out from the center, for the best overall appearance.

In all the modes, the Sharpness setting defaults to 9, the second highest number.  The control does sharpen things up, although at that setting there's a slight graininess if you look closely.

From the practical side of things, 10 point type, typical of spreadsheets, is very easily readable, while 8 point is getting soft.  But 8 point is very small and rarely used.  Powerpoint type presentations primarily use 18 to 60 point type, which looks great in our test image.  The projector didn't lose much in clarity when looking at colored text on colored background, or white text on black.

If you are spending a little more for a lamp based, probably five to eight pound DLP projector, you will get a sharper image, because the same $700 will give you a choice from a handful of low cost 1080p or WUXGA projectors.

A little later on in this review, I'll do a short comparison of sorts pitting this W800 against Viewsonic's PJD-7820HD (the first under $1000 1080p projector - and now sells for under $700).  This comparison should help you decide if you want a real nice little "pocket" projector, or opt for a larger projector with more performance, but a bit less portability.

Audible Noise, Speakers and Sound

First things first.  Fan noise on the Viewsonic is very reasonable.  Let me rephrase that.  It's really impressive.  When in Movie or ViewMatch mode, it's quieter than a lot of home theater projectors!!!   It's really mostly the sound of the air you mostly hear, rather than the fan itself.  Even in the brighter mode

The PLED-W800 projector has two small (OK, very small), rear facing speakers.  While they can provide reasonable volume, you can't expect sound quality to be a whole lot better than a typical laptop.  At least this Viewsonic provides some audio controls.  Basically they offer three audio modes:

Standard, which would probably be best for a presentation that has different types of audio.

Speech mode:  Mutes the highs a bit to bring out the range of vocals.

Entertainment:  It's very bright sounding (more highs), but is probably your choice for watching TV or a loud movie.  I find it a too bright (a bit tinny) for serious music listening, but then I would never really listen to music on something like this, I'd output the sound to something a whole lot better, even if just a decent boom box, or small powered speakers.

PLED-W800_menu_setting_auto_mode_entertainment  The projector does have a stereo audio output jack.  It would have been nice if the PLED-W800 supported Bluetooth, so it could wirelessly work with some very impressive, yet very small speakers that are available, and which many of us already own.

Like every other projector I've reviewed, Viewsonic's PLED-W800 "flunks" one design feature.  Yes there's a stereo audio out, but when you plug in external speakers, or output to a stereo or home theater sound system, the speakers cut out.

It's a shame.  if you had the option of outputting the sound, and leaving the speakers on, that would allow you to add a small powered sub-woofer, which would balance the sound, and give you something actually rather respectable for watching an action flick like Casino Royale, or Transformers, and even give you that room shaking low end that is completely missing on every projector with internal speakers.

Finally, if you crank the internal speakers all the way up, (10), if the content audio is particularly loud, you will get a bit of distortion though still certainly usable.


Image Noise

The W800 does rather well.  For the most part typical mosquito noise is well under control, with less background noise (on large bright areas such as light walls, sky, etc.) being less than the typical DLP projector we review.  (DLP's in general seem to be noisier than other technologies, although not by a huge amount.

Motion artifacts are not a problem, although the media player on video may be serving up a slightly smaller color palette than you would have feeding a source in from a Blu-ray player or cable/satellite box.

I watched some Space Jam, as animation is a good way to spot noise.  All considered no issues there of any significance, however, I did, on some standard def TV, and also in the DirectTV's small content window showing the current channel while looking for programming, notice some tearing at the top of the image, that is - visible noise.  Fortunately that's really why the PLED-W800 (and other projectors) have Overscan, which works very nicely on standard TV when that noise is visible.  It doesn't help with the DirecTV because the noise isn't along the top edge of the image.  The modest noise on DirecTV when searching content, is hardly going to bother anyone.

Score this Viewsonic projector as overall, pretty good, with no significant issue to report.

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