Posted on March 28, 2018 By Art Feierman
Viewsonic PX727-4K Affordable 4K UHD Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Affect of Zoom Lens on Brightness, Difference In Brightness and Behavior of Light Modes, Image Noise, Sharpness
The Viewsonic came in just 10% short of claim, which is better than most projectors, although, be aware, some beat (even easily beat) their claims. The PX727-4K measured about 5% brighter than the BenQ HT2550 “sibling.” Most come in between claim, and 20% down. We’re less interested in whether a projector meets claims then how bright it is in a practical way.
Bright mode provides the max lumens, but you really don’t want to use that unless no other mode can handle the amount of ambient light you are dealing with. Standard, which Eric set up as our “brightest” mode, offers some very nice color, and picture while just topping 1500 lumens at mid-zoom. It worked great for sports and most TV, although not quite as accurate (and slightly cooler than our calibrated “best” mode, which Eric calibrated in User 1 mode which he later renamed Dark Room. He also calibrated User 2 specifically for 4K content with HDR.
Interestingly, both this projector and the BenQ HT2550 measure significantly differently in the better modes, with the Viewsonic producing about 1250 lumens. The BenQ clocked in under 950 calibrated. I believe them to have the same color wheel lens and the same lamp. Perhaps not? The lamps are both 240 watt, the maximum power draw of the projectors is very close, even the lamp life claims are the same. Go figure?
With only a 1.2:1 zoom, there’s minimal brightness variation as you zoom from wide angle (closest placement to your screen), to the furthest (tele zoom). This amount of difference is barely visible, just about 6% across the whole range, so of little concern to anyone. Since we measured all three positions with the BenQ, and found only a 6% max difference, I told Eric to just set the lens to the middle of the zoom range and just take the one measurement for each mode. So, basically, the Viewsonic at full wide angle probably measures 3% more than these published numbers above.
We generally find that today’s projectors are very good overall. The only wild wild west we are dealing with is HDR, and the wider color space. This projector and the other lamp based 4K UHD DLPs can’t achieve the wider color space, mostly they just get close to the “old” REC709 standard, coming up about 30% short of P3. Now for some reason, I’ve been noticing reduced mosquito noise, which is a background noise, on these little pixel shifters. I’m wondering if the pixel shifting helps with that?
Meantime, normally I say that 3LCD and LCoS have an advantage on the mosquito noise, but this projector’s comparable. Motion noise, at least on my favorite slow panning scenes, found the PX727-4K to do a pretty good job. Here’s a case of a $1499 projector doing a better job on certain scenes where the amount of judder on an $8K, or even $25K Sony is far worse. This, btw only happens with a certain slow panning speed, so it’s rare to encounter one. But the early neighborhood scene in the movie Red is the one I use for a test. It trips up a lot of projectors more than this one.
I do run certain scenes to consider how well projectors handle slow panning. In this regard, on scenes with slow panning like the neighborhood scene near the beginning of the movie Red (Bruce Willis). The HT2550 performed “typically”, which is a fair amount of judder – shaking – of objects. Typically, though is very good, because otherwise its usually worse. I’m pleased to report that the HT2550 had less judder than a $15K Sony I reviewed last year (and some other Sonys).
Sharp! I’ve been viewing enough of the higher res DLP chip, with the 2716x1528x2 pixel shifting design, including the Dell S718QL (a commercial 4K UHD), the Optoma UHD65 and UHD60, the Vivitek 2288, and the Acer VL7860 laser, and BenQ HT8050 and HT9050, all of which use that bigger more expensive 4K UHD chip. There’s very little visible difference if any at normal seating differences between projectors with the two chips, all else being equal. Those others, from a practical standpoint are sharper natively, but with only slight improvement with 4K content, it’s more about how all the image processing is set, and each projector is different.
I like to use the example of the Epson 5040UB which I’m still using this year as my mid-priced reference. It has an impressive suite of detail and sharpness enhancement capabilities. It can look sharper than other 4K capable projectors – even the higher res DLP chip, if they don’t apply as much sharpening when they are processing images. The more the processing the more artifacts, but the Epson can do a lot of sharpening with the only visible expense being a slight hardness, showing on closeups of faces.
In that regard, I have made the Epson look sharper than this Viewsonic for some comparisons, but if I play with the Viewsonic in the same fashion, utilizing more than standard amounts of sharpness and other related controls, I can almost certainly make you believe it is sharper than the $5K true 4K Sony, which in turn will not be hard looking, and be more natural. – Once again, there are always trade-offs. (And you can crank up the controls on the Sony…)
In the image player above, there are a number of photos of 4K images, and then closeups of one small section (so you can really see “sharpness”). In addition, we have provided the same close-up image from some other 4K capable projectors for quick comparison. The close-up of credits from Ghostbusters (the lab image), and the close-up of the Bigalow space station from Journey to space, make for some interesting viewing. With other projectors from the non 4K UHD Epson 5040UB up to shots from true 4K Sonys, you get to appreciate the slight differences.
For these two sets (Space – Bigalow, and Ghostbusters 2016 Lab credits) there’s an interesting mix. Following the Viewsonic enlarged image, for the Bigalow space station, is the Epson 5040UB, then the Acer VL7860 (higher res 4K UHD panels – and a laser engine), and the $7999 Sony VW385ES pure 4K projector, for your consideration. The same sequence follow in order for the Lab credits from Ghostbusters, with the addition of two more images. The second last in the sequence is the higher end BenQ HT9050 – a 4K UHD projector (larger DLP chips), and superior optics. you can see the difference a serious lens makes. Finally, is the HT2550 at the end, virtually indistinguishable from the Viewsonic!
Bottom line on the PX727-4K Projector’s Sharpness: It’s as sharp as one would expect. On true 4K content it easily looks sharper than any normal 1080p projector working with 1080p content. That is the goal after all. You get step up sharpness and detail performance compared to 1080p non-pixel shifters. Spend more and you can have the same tech, or have higher native resolution, with better, and more expensive optics, than the PX727-4K projector, and you will, upon inspection see even sharper images.
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