Eco Mode. Selecting the projector's Eco Light Source setting resulted in a 20% overall light output reduction. The fan noise reduction with Eco selected was minimal, however -- only a few dB at best -- so the Normal Light Source setting can be safely selected for installations where greater picture brightness is preferred.
Zoom Lens Light Loss. Moving the zoom to its telephoto end reduces lumen output by 20%, which is typical of zooms with a range of 1.65x.
Color Brightness. The LS800HD's measured color brightness averaged 36% of its white brightness in all picture modes with BrilliantColor set to the highest level. Maximum color brightness was provided by the Standard color preset, which measured 50% of white brightness. For this reason, it will be a good choice for displaying color graphics in a high ambient light environment. The LS800HD's color brightness is about average for a DLP projector designed for data display. As stated above, adjusting the BrilliantColor feature to a mid-level setting can effectively increase color saturation while also providing sufficient brightness and contrast for video viewing in dim lighting conditions.
Brightness Uniformity. The LS800HD's brightness uniformity measured a very solid 78% with measurements taken at the widest angle setting of its zoom lens. Although brightness variations could be seen when viewing full-field gray test patterns, these were much harder to detect when viewing still images or video with the projector, and I noticed no hotspotting when viewing a 100% white full-field test pattern. Black-and-white images also displayed excellent uniformity, with very little tonal variation or tinting from the center out to the edges of the screen.
Fan Noise. Fan noise was relatively low with the LS800HD's Normal Light Source setting active, and it dropped by approximately 6dB with the projector set to Eco mode. Reducing light output in the Custom Light Source setting (I had it set to 40% for dark room viewing) will even further reduce fan noise, resulting in whisper-quiet operation from the projector.
Input Lag. Input lag on the LS800HD measured 33.1 ms in all color modes.
Lamp Life. The lifespan of the LS800HD's laser light engine is rated for 30,000 hours in Eco Light Source mode, and 20,000 hours in Normal mode. Those numbers are a significant improvement over lamp-based projectors, which typically require a lamp replacement after 2,000 to 5,000 hours.
Warranty. The LS800HD comes with a 3-year warranty.
The LS800HD's 1.65:1 zoom lens and vertical/horizontal lens shift adjustments permit a high level of placement flexibility in a classroom or home setting, while its 360-degree orientation and portrait display mode allow for an even greater range of installation options. The manual zoom adjustment located on the projector's top was difficult to adjust due to its recessed placement -- getting the picture to fill the screen during initial setup took a degree of effort. There are also keystone and corner adjustment settings for tweaking picture geometry, although both are digital controls that reduce picture resolution when used.
At 6.3 x 14.2 x 17.3 inches (HWD) and 24.3 pounds, the LS800HD is too large and heavy for easy bookshelf placement, so you'll likely want to install it using a ceiling mount, or a rack or stand behind the seats built to support it.
When used for video viewing, the LS800HD should be used with a progressive-scan source like a Blu-ray player or video scaler when possible. That's because there are no video processing modes that provide 3:2 pulldown for film-based images on DVD or broadcast TV programs, which may show "jaggy" picture artifacts.
Connection Panel. Three HDMI 1.4a inputs are located on the projector's rear panel along with composite-video and HDBaseT connections, and a VGA port that doubles as a component-video input. There are also Type-A USB and mini USB ports, along with RS-232 and LAN connections for use with control systems including Crestron, AMX, and Control4. Minijack and stereo RCA audio inputs are provided, and there are VGA and minijack audio outputs. Lastly, there's a 3D sync port for connecting an IR emitter when the projector is used with ViewSonic's optional 3D glasses.
Image Size. When used with a 16:9 screen, the LS800HD's image size range extends from 50 inches diagonal to 190 inches diagonal. The projector exhibits a 20% decrease in light output when adjusted from the widest angle setting of its zoom lens to maximum telephoto. Although that amount is a typical amount for a 1.65:1 zoom, you may want to consider installing the projector closer to the screen with the lens set near maximum wide angle to get a brighter image.
Throw Distance. The LS800HD's 1.65:1 zoom lets you position it anywhere from 10 feet to 16.5 feet from a 120-inch screen. That's enough range to allow the projector to be mounted behind the main seating area in a typical medium-size media room. To check throw distance requirements for your desired screen size, see the ViewSonic LS800HD Projection Calculator.
Video looks best in a dark room. Optimal picture adjustments for the LS800HD combined the Movie color mode with mid-range BrilliantColor and the Custom Light Source modes set to 40%. After calibration of both the projector's color temperature and color management settings, it delivered video images with accurate color and good contrast in a dark room. Viewing in higher ambient light settings required both an increase in BrilliantColor and a reset of the Light Source mode to Normal -- changes that resulted in a higher black level and a reduction of both contrast and color saturation.
Audio. The projector's 2 x 5-watt onboard audio system had tinny sound quality and was barely sufficient to convey dialog in a clear manner. Using the LS800HD with an external audio system will be a much better option.
Rainbow artifacts. I'm sensitive to rainbow artifacts and regularly see them when screening video content with DLP projectors, but rainbows didn't prove to be a serious issue with the LS800HD. Note that rainbow artifacts aren't a factor at all when displaying data and still photos with DLP projectors.
In short, the Viewsonic LS800HD is loaded with features for the money:
- Native 1920x1080 resolution
- Laser light engine with 30,000 hour life
- Rated at 5000 lumens
- Vertical and horizontal lens shift
- 360-degree orientation capability
- Portrait mode display option
- HDBaseT input supports 300-meter connections for HD video and data
- Image size up to 300" diagonal
- Supports 3D
The LS800HD is a versatile large venue DLP projector that can perform well in a range of installation environments. The LS800HD's laser light engine can be counted on for maintenance-free 24/7 operation up to 30,000 hours, and it delivers plenty of light output for classroom and conference room use. Spreadsheets, presentations, and still images all looked crisp, punchy, and detailed with its 1920x1080 display, which supports image sizes up to 300" diagonal. Beyond that, the LS800HD's vertical and horizontal lens shift, 360-degree orientation capability, portrait mode, and HDBaseT connectivity provide enhanced installation options that make it a good choice for retail and museum spaces as well.
While designed for data display in high ambient light environments, the LS800HD is also be a good fit for dim and dark room video viewing. Using its custom color temperature and color management system adjustments, the projector can be calibrated for more accurate display of BT.709 color. Picture contrast is also mostly satisfying due to the projector's powerful light output. Ample picture brightness also makes it a good option for 3D display.
As the ViewSonic LS800HD offers a remarkably extensive array of features for $2999, it represents a solid value for a bright, 1920x1080-resolution DLP projector with a laser light engine. Whether used in conference room or a 3D home theater, there's a lot here to like.
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