1080p Home Theater Projector
April 18, 2012
Light output. With a rated maximum light output of 2100 lumens, the H6500 is a powerful little projector. The brightest image mode is appropriately named Bright, and on our test sample it measured 2163 lumens with the lamp at full power and BrilliantColor engaged. The image has a slight green cast in this mode, because Bright mode prioritizes brightness at the expense of contrast and color. Still, at 2163 lumens, you can run the H6500 more or less in full ambient light on a 60" - 80" screen without batting an eye. It's perfect for sports and games.
Low lamp mode, labeled "Eco," reduces brightness by 21% in all image modes. On our test unit, it brings Bright mode from 2163 to 1721 lumens. That's still a huge amount of light, and many folks in partially darkened rooms will be able to use Eco mode instead of full brightness without any adverse effects.
If you have a darkened room to work with, you want Movie or Dark Cinema mode. Movie mode clocks in at 1340 lumens with the lamp at full power, while Dark Cinema comes in around 1290 lumens. Both emphasize contrast and color as opposed to brightness, but they're still plenty bright. At 1340 lumens, you can power a 140" 1.0 gain screen at a whopping 23 foot Lamberts. People with good light control in their viewing rooms may find the H6500 too bright, in fact. If you have a small screen in a dark room, consider adding a neutral density filter.
Contrast. The H6500 boasts 10,000:1 on/off contrast while other, similarly-priced 1080p DLP projectors are specced around 5,000:1 contrast. This is due to the H6500's addition of a lamp modulation system, called Dynamic black. Dynamic black, once enabled, changes lamp power in sync with the picture on the screen. Brighter scenes cause the lamp to get brighter, while darker scenes cause a reduction in light output.
The good news is, it works. While the Dynamic black system is slower than a good automatic iris, it performs as advertised in reducing black levels in dark scenes. It sometimes takes a moment or two to adjust, which can be visible if you're looking hard enough. If you are the sort of person who is distracted by the action of an auto-iris, this system probably isn't for you.
On the other hand, dynamic range on the H6500 is what we've come to expect from a DLP projector. Highlights are bright and sparkling, and shadow detail is excellent. The only thing that suffers is maximum black, but that is typical for DLP projectors of any price, let alone the cheap ones. The H6500 performs to expectations.
Color. A sub-$1000 1080p projector is not going to have perfect color out of the box. It's impressive that the H6500 looks as good as it does. Color clocks in around 6800K in Movie mode, though there's variation from the highlights (colder) to the shadows (warmer) and a few weird spikes in-between -- at least on our test sample. The H6500 does not have the comprehensive color controls needed to really work over the color temperature and gamut, so you run with what you have, which in this case isn't bad. Color is, at least, well-saturated, and without a reference projector it can be hard to tell that the projector is off by a few hundred degrees, anyway.
Sharpness and clarity. Finding focus on the H6500 can be a little hard due to the projector's light focus ring, but once you have it dialed in there's nothing to complain about. Detail in Blu-ray movies is crisp and clear, and there's no sign of softness towards the corners of the image.
Input lag. Gamers rejoice! Our H6500 measured a scant one frame, or 16.67 ms, of input lag -- about as good as it gets, in other words. This means the time it takes for content to get from your game console to the actual screen in front of you is as short as it can be, which is critically important for certain types of video games like fighting and rhythm games. If you need a cheap gaming projector but don't want to compromise on resolution, the H6500 has what you need.