720p DLP Home Video Projector Review
October 8, 2013
Light output. Dynamic mode is the W770ST's brightest pre-calibrated setting, producing 2479 lumens on our test sample. Dynamic mode has a strong green cast due to the Lamp Native color temperature preset. As a result, color saturation is lower than in other modes and colors are not as accurate. But when you need to put the maximum amount of light on the screen, Dynamic mode will do that.
The projector's next factory preset is Standard mode, which at 1800 lumens has superior balance, color saturation, color accuracy, and contrast when compared to Dynamic mode. Standard mode tends towards blue, and our test sample measured about 7600K. That's not a bad thing when there's ambient light to contend with, and for these reasons Standard mode is a good choice for living room use with strong ambient light.
Cinema mode produced the same 1800 lumens as Standard mode, but color temperature was closer to the 6500K standard and color saturation was increased somewhat. In Eco mode, Cinema produced 1379 lumens, or 76% of its full power output. At this setting, it is ideal for completely darkened theater spaces.
SmartEco, the projector's intelligent lamp power system, still produces Cinema mode's full 1800 lumens on a white test pattern. Since SmartEco reduces power consumption and improves contrast without affecting maximum light output, it is our recommended setting for rooms with mild ambient light.
Contrast. The W770ST is a bright projector tailored for home video use, so black level is not its chief concern. Despite this, the projector produces a respectable black with the lamp at full power and an even better black when using SmartEco mode. The W770ST's dynamic range is very good, and shadow detail is preserved even in difficult scenes.
Color. Cinema mode features the W770ST's best color saturation and accuracy in a pre-calibrated mode, and our test sample measured about 7200K average color temperature across the grayscale. That is "close enough" for home video use, so most folks probably won't feel the need to adjust white balance. The W770ST also has a full color management system, which can be used to adjust color gamut, though we did not find any major gamut errors during our testing.
The W770ST produces much more white light than colored light. Color light output is only 35% of white light output in Cinema mode, in fact, using the default settings. This can cause color to appear undersaturated, especially when areas of color are bordered by highlights. Reducing BrilliantColor to its minimum setting upped color light output to 79% of white light output, at which point highlights no longer had an undue negative effect on perceived color saturation. However, this also cuts white light output by 56%.
Sharpness and clarity. Since the W770ST is a 720p projector, it must compress 1080p content before displaying it. Our test unit did not show any evidence of serious compression artifacts or loss of detail; in fact, most Blu-ray content looks almost as sharp on the W770ST as it does on a full 1080p projector. The key word is "almost" -- if you go looking for smudged-out detail and sit too close to the screen, you will find it. The W770ST is not a 1080p projector, but it is a very sharp 720p projector.
Input lag. Gamers looking for an inexpensive, fast projector for gaming are in luck. The W770ST measured 25ms of input lag, about 1.5 frames on a 60 frame per second signal. That's fast enough for most gamers, even those playing the kind of games where reaction speed matters.