LG PF1500 Projector Review
May 14, 2015,
Last year LG set a benchmark by putting out a first of its kind 1080p LED projector at a reasonable price with the full backing of a major manufacturer. The reviews were strong on that model, but LG was just getting started as they now introduce the revolutionary new PF1500. LG has leveraged their long standing research with televisions and brought that technology to front projection.
Coming in at $999, the PF1500 delivers like no other LED driven projector before it. A manual 1.1 zoom range, a rating of 1,400 lumens, 30,000 estimated LED lamp life, Wi-Fi, internal tuner, Smart apps, USB playback, and full 1920x1080 output resolution. Oh, and unlike almost any other home theater model out there, this one is a good deal smaller than your typical loaf of bread.
If you've owned a projector before, you will know right away that this is something different. The LG PF1500 powers on within just a few seconds. The LED light engine puts out a bright image almost immediately. About ten seconds after hitting the power button, the PF1500 went through a number of basic setup steps including a brief introduction to the remote control which acts similar to a wireless computer mouse. Similar to a TV, it asks if the projector is at home or in a store, the time and time zone, then gets the projector on the network. From there, it's right into the Home screen which features a multitude of options, applications, and a video preview window. Any of these different options can be selected using the on-screen cursor from the Magic Remote control.
Being excited to see what this projector could do, my first viewing was not in a controlled space, but just on a wall using the internal speaker. Since LG designed the PF1500 to be extremely portable, it almost makes sense to start things off this way. A WDTV was connected via HDMI and the projector proudly brought up the menu for the media player. Unfortunately, the USB drive with some recent camera footage could not be played back by the WDTV unit. So, the drive was moved to the PF1500's side USB input, which immediately recognized the video files on the drive and playback was started. About a 100" diagonal image was presented on a white wall and the image was excellent. The high definition camera footage, shot skiing on a Gopro camera, had all the high-definition goodness one could hope for. Colors appeared a bit off, but out of the box, with no calibration, the projector was certainly watchable, and it's a great way to show your home movies to friends and relatives.
The projector was put through a basic calibration using the Disney 'WOW!' Blu-ray disc and an image of 108" diagonal was projected onto a 1.3 gain white screen. It took a little bit of work to dial through the different settings of the LG, and the Magic remote took some getting used to, but eventually the LG presented an image with very good color, free of false contouring, with good brightness, and smooth motion. As a DLP projector, it has comparable black levels and shadow detail to other entry level DLP models.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on Blu-ray is an excellent test disc for black levels and shadow detail on a projector. At the screen size in use, the projector really needed to be in high power to deliver a solid punch from the whites, but there was never a point where it felt that shadow details were being lost. The PF1500 delivered a solid image which felt smooth, and put forth sufficient contrast to immerse a viewer in the movie experience. The single chip DLP light engine produces an acceptably sharp image. A better lens might deliver a sharper image, but the small lens on the PF1500 produced no softness from normal viewing distances.
Viewing hockey and other high-motion films was a great experience. The LG PF1500 puts up an accurate image. Sometimes fast motion content is blurry, and the larger the image the more apparent that becomes, but that is true of all large screen projection. But, at over 100" diagonal it was quite the experience to sit down and watch that action. Turning on creative frame interpolation (CFI), which LG calls TruMotion, helps some with fast action, but worked best with slow pans. LG didn't push too much with their implementation of CFI so the image didn't fall apart on fast paced scenes like some other displays are prone to do. It also didn't clean up the motion as much as some are capable of either. This kept CFI from showing too much of the digital video look which CFI often presents, and selecting a level of 2 or 3 for TruMotion yielded very watchable results.
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