Projector Reviews

ViewSonic PX706HD Gaming Projector Review – Picture Quality 2

ViewSonic PX706HD Gaming Projector Review – Picture Quality 2: Black Level Performance and Dark Shadow Detail, Bottom Line on Picture Quality

Black Level Performance and Dark Shadow Detail

Good black level performance isn’t something we expect of home entertainment projectors, especially those priced under $1,000. That bragging right is usually reserved for projectors designed for the home theater – that is, a dedicated home theater or cave that can be fully darkened.

Home entertainment projectors are geared more toward living rooms, family rooms and living rooms that have less control over ambient light – and if you’re expecting ambient light to be present, something like black levels becomes less necessary, as ambient light washes out those dark colors before any others.

Generally speaking, DLPs perform better in terms of black levels (how dark the blacks are in any given scene) than 3LCD projectors, but I didn’t really expect anything good, as that’s just not the norm for home entertainment projectors. Though blacks were more of a dark grey than true blacks, it performed much better than I had thought it would! Still totally entry level, as to be expected, but blacks were a tad darker than I expected them to be. You’ll see some comparison photos of how the projector compares to others around the same price point.

A scene from The Hunger Games as projected by the ViewSonic PX706HD

I’m sure you could even improve on contrast a bit by utilizing some of the controls from the Image Menu, with settings like Brightness, Contrast, and Gamma. With home entertainment and home theater projectors, sometimes, a little tweaking can go a long way as far as color and black levels are concerned.

The flip side to a projector having less-than-stellar black level performance is that they generally have pretty decent dark shadow detail. That is, as it sounds, that you can see more details in the dark shadow areas of a scene than, perhaps, a projector with deeper blacks. This projector’s dark shadow detail is merely okay. We take our photos to show this in black and white and overexpose them, so as to show more detail. If you look into the woods in the Bond train scene, you’ll see that the trees that run along the track have varying degrees of visibility, with some being obvious and others being downright invisible.

Bottom Line on Picture Quality

The Bottom Line: Pretty good for an entry level projector! The image is quite sharp, as it should be for 1080p. I found the two best modes on the projector, Movie and Standard, to have great color. Skin tones look natural, especially the pinks of lips that can tend to be “too pink.” Reds and yellows don’t really have much of the stereotypical DLP look – that is, wine reds and mustard yellows. I quite enjoyed viewing movies like The Hunger Games, and especially Ready Player One, as that is a truly visually stunning movie, and my current favorite.

TV shows like The Blacklist and Stranger Things looked great as well. Stranger Things is a pretty dark show (both in terms of color and in story), and I took photos in the lower-lumen Movie Mode, so watching that with ambient light isn’t quite as enjoyable as it is in a room that has been fully (or at least, mostly darkened). That’s typical. Switching to Standard, you’ll still get good color, and a whole lot more brightness to help compensate for room conditions.

Next up is the Performance Page, where I will discuss how the projector performed in terms of brightness and meeting its claim. I’ll also talk about the effects of the zoom lens and ECO Mode on brightness, input lag, image and audible noise. After that, we’ll hop over to the final page of the review, where I sum up my findings on the ViewSonic PX706HD and provide a list of pros and cons so that you can determine whether this projector is right for your particular needs.