Viewsonic Pro9000 review
Home cinema projectors usually come in two varieties – DLP and LCD. Viewsonic’s latest is neither – the Pro9000 uses a hybrid LED system that eliminates the need for a traditional lamp, which could make it the ideal compact projector for a small living room or home cinema.
Although it still uses a DLP chip to produce images, they’re coloured and projected using a combination of lasers and red, blue and green LEDs. This means the projector doesn’t require a colour wheel, the main cause of rainbow effects in entry-level and mid-range DLP models. It certainly made an impression in our testing, showing no signs of the colour banding that we normally experience with DLP projectors.
Eliminating the lamp significantly reduces the amount of heat generated by the projector, making it much more bearable to sit near when watching a film. If you don’t plan on installing a ceiling mount, the Pro9000 will sit comfortably on a coffee table without becoming a miniature radiator. It’s also quieter because the fan doesn’t have to cool the unit quite so aggressively. Viewsonic claims it produces 28dBs in normal mode and 22 in eco mode; both values are significantly less than those of traditional DLP projectors. We certainly noticed the difference in everyday use, even when sat a few feet from it. Finally, it uses less power to produce an image, and it should last longer too. It’s rated for 20,000 hours of use, which works out to be around three hours a day for over 150 years.
We were worried the hybrid projection would have an impact on brightness, but its 1,600 lumens proved more than adequate for our dark test room. It also coped well in a brightly lit room at shorter throw distances, although darker images were noticeably less defined and colours weren’t quite as vibrant. As with most projectors, you really need to turn out the lights to get the best from the Pro9000.
Image quality was impressive for a mid-range projector. The LED projection produced vibrant colours that really brought animated films such as Ice Age 2 to life. Darker, moodier films such as Casino Royale benefit from its auto iris system, which dynamically adjusts the brightness to improve black levels, but we didn’t think it was significantly better than any other mid-range DLP projector. Skin tones were mostly even, but colour accuracy still left a little to be desired.
We noticed quite a lot of judder, and with no options for image smoothing on the projector you’ll need to enable the feature on your Blu-ray player. Without it, motion was visibly jerky, particularly during action scenes. If you haven’t got a Blu-ray player capable of this, it’ll certainly limit the Pro9000’s appeal.
Although it doesn’t have the best looking onscreen interface around, the Pro9000 is at least functional. It’s simple enough to navigate between menus, changing picture and audio settings using the (helpfully backlit) remote control. Beyond the small collection of image pre-sets, there are two user modes that let you alter brightness, contrast, colour mode, gamma and saturation, as well as an option to enable noise reduction.
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