HOME > Road Test: Hitachi LP-WU3500
February 28, 2017,
ANSI Lumens: 3500 Resolution: 1920x1200
It is ideal for:
It is also good for:
Physical attributes. With the projector right side up, all but three ports are on the left side panel as viewed from behind. The Kensington lock slot is just below the connectors, near the back, with security bars at the bottom of both the left and right sides. The power connector is also near the bottom of the left side, but towards the front. The remaining three ports--HDMI out, HDBaseT, and a second HDMI in, which is the only one with MHL--are mounted on the underside of a lip projecting over a recessed area on the back panel, with the ports facing down. Focus, zoom, and lens shift controls are all on the top of the projector, near the front. The speaker is on the left side of the rear as viewed from behind, with intake vents covering most of the rest of the back. The exhaust vents are on the front.
Our Lab Tests: What the Meters Say
Brightness. With the 1.7x lens at its full wide angle setting, the measurements for ANSI lumens were as follows:
Low Lamp Mode. Low mode is about 39% as bright as High mode. Mid mode is about 51% as bright as High mode.
Presentation Optimized Lumens. For documents and graphic images, Dynamic mode without any changes delivers vibrant color overall, making it the Presentation Optimized mode. At the default Mid setting, its 1946 lumens is bright enough for a 120-inch image in moderate ambient light. Use the High setting, at 3793 lumens, and it's bright enough for a 170-inch image. Dynamic mode also does an acceptable job with most photorealistic images. For presentations that are heavy on photos, however, you'll probably want to use Cinema mode for best color fidelity and essentially the same brightness at the High setting as Dynamic mode at the Mid setting.
Video Optimized Lumens. For video, Cinema mode set to High brightness delivers the best balance of color fidelity and brightness at a bit over 1900 lumens.
Zoom Lens Effect on Brightness. The 1.7x zoom lens curtails light by a remarkably low 2% compared with the full wide angle setting--practically speaking, no light loss at all due to zoom lens effects.
Brightness Uniformity. The brightness uniformity is a solid 86%. If you are viewing a solid white IRE test pattern there is a slightly dimmer vertical swath on the left quarter of the image compared with the middle and right side. However, it's not enough to notice with any text, graphics, of photo that breaks up the field of view.
Input Lag. The input lag is 60 ms in all predefined color modes.
On-board audio. The 16-watt speaker offers more than acceptable sound quality, but only enough volume for a smallish mid-size room.
Fan Noise. The LP-WU3500's noise level is astoundingly low for this bright a projector. Rated at 21 dB in Low mode, the LP-WU3500's fan is almost inaudible sitting right next to the projector, and isn't much louder with the Mid setting. Even the High mode is quieter than the Eco mode for many projectors. High altitude mode is also significantly quieter than typical for the brightness, making the noise level low enough to be a non-issue in the vast majority of cases. Hitachi recommends leaving the Altitude setting at Auto, although you can also switch to High Altitude manually for 5250 feet and above.
Setting it up
Throw distance. Thanks to the 1.7x zoom lens, the LP-WU3500 offers significant flexibility for throw distance. Since there is practically no light loss due to zoom lens effects you can install this projector anywhere in the zoom range with no concern for impact on light output, which is highly unusual for a 1.7x lens.
The throw range for a 120" diagonal 16:10 image is roughly 11.5 to 19.5 feet. The Projection Calculator will give you the throw-distance range for the image size you want. The Calculator will default to a 16:10 image for this projector, so if you are setting it up for 16:9, make sure to select 16:9 to get the most accurate throw distance estimates.
Mounting and lens shift. You can mount the WU3500 at any angle over 360 degrees in any axis, along with the portrait mode, 1.7x zoom, lens shift, and the geometric correction app opens the door to setting up the projector in all sorts of spaces, in creative ways, and at any orientation you need to, including the traditional positions of a table or upside down in a ceiling mount.
Another unusual feature of the WU3500 is that the lens shift range trade-off takes the shape of a rectangle, with the same horizontal shift at any point in the vertical shift range. With the projector on a table in front of the screen and set to the bottom extreme of its vertical shift, roughly 50% of the 16:10 image is above the centerline of the lens, and 50% is below. At the top of the range, the bottom edge of the image is roughly 10% of the image height above the centerline of the lens. This represents a total shift as measured of closer to 60% rather than the 50% as indicated in the specs. The measured horizontal shift is roughly 7% of the image width left or right of the middle position, which again is a bit more latitude than the published spec of +/- 4.4%.
If the lens shift isn't large enough to eliminate the need to tilt or swivel the projector, you can manually adjust for up to +/- 30 degrees for both vertical and horizontal keystone distortion. You can also adjust each corner separately, adjust pin cushioning, or take advantage of the geometric correction app, which will let you correct for distortion even for curved screens, spherical objects, and corner walls.
At $4,599, the 1920x1200 Hitachi LP-WU3500 DLP LED projector offers extreme installation versatility, a very quiet cooling system, maintenance-free operation for 20,000 hours, and precise 1920x1200 high res image quality --that is a lot for the price. It is designed for higher-ed classroom or conference-room use as well as display and signage applications. Thanks to the dust-resistant, sealed optical engine and 20,000 hour LED life, the LP-WU3500 offers 24/7, maintenance-free operation, making it a prime choice for heavy duty use. And it's backed by a 5-year 20,000 hour warranty--one of the best in the industry.
Using its brightest mode--and Presentation Optimized setting-- measured a bit higher than its 3,500-lumen rating, the LP-WU3500 is bright enough for up to a 170" image in moderate ambient light. Even with its Video Optimized setting, it's bright enough for a 120" image.
Most 1.7x zoom lenses lose a noticeable amount of light output at the telephoto end. Not so with the WU3500 -- you can position it at any distance from the screen for the image size you want with essentially no loss of brightness.
The LP-WU3500 also delivers all the flexibility you need for displays and signage, with Portrait mode, edge blending, support for 360-degree orientation on any axis, and geometric correction that runs from the basics of vertical and horizontal keystone correction, to four-corner and pincushion controls, to software that lets you display on corner walls, curved screens, and spherical objects.
Quite simply, the Hitachi LP-WU3500's combination of image quality, quiet operation, brightness, reliability, and setup flexibility adds up to a solid value and an impressive choice for a variety of applications. We are happy to give it our Road Test Certified award and logo.
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