Highly Recommended Award
Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.
- Calman-Verified art projector
- Considerable out of box color accuracy
- Extremely bright LED light source
- Reaches specified gamut
- Wireless mirroring via included Wi-Fi dongle
- Accepts 4K signals up to 60 Hz
- 3D Support
- No support for HDR or DCI-P3 gamut
- Limited ability to calibrate for greater accuracy
- No vertical lens shift
The ASUS ProArt A1 brings Calman-Verified accuracy and ease of use into studio, galleries, and exhibit environments at a compelling price point.
The ASUS ProArt A1 is a traditional long throw projector with a smaller throw ratio utilizing a very bright LED light source and DLP imaging chip. The native 1080p projector also boasts being the world's first Calman-Verified projector, with an impressive claim of <2 dE average in color accuracy while covering 98% of the sRGB and Rec.709 color spaces. The ASUS ProArt A1 is the only projector in the company's ProArt line of products, which is targeted towards creative professionals. While this projector is not geared towards home theater, that doesn't mean you cannot enjoy a movie or two on it, though it is really meant for creative work and education. Currently priced at $1,499, with an interesting set of features that would lend a fair amount of versatility to an educational environment, it may very well find its way into many classrooms.
As mentioned, the ProArt A1 is the first entry in the ASUS projector lineup that falls within their ProArt family of professional products geared towards content creators. These also include laptop and desktop computers, motherboards, standalone display monitors, and various software solutions.
The ProArt A1, utilizing an RGB LED light source in combination with a Texas Instruments 0.65-inch DLP chip, is rated to deliver an impressive 3,000 ANSI lumens of light output per ASUS's published specifications. This proved a bit optimistic based on our measurements, which came in at 2,416 ANSI lumens, which is 584 ANSI lumens or about 19.5% off their published spec (though it's within the 20% allowable tolerance of the ISO21118 specification). That said, due to its use of a RGB LED light source, the A1 is capable of providing high color luminance, and there is general acceptance that an LED source will appear brighter to the eye than its ANSI lumen measurement suggests.
The ProArt A1 provides a light source life of 30,000 hours max, which will of course be dependent on the Light Mode used. Thanks to its LED engine it has no color wheel, but as a single-chip DLP projector in which color must be presented sequentially to the imager, it still has to potential to exhibit rainbow effect artifacts. I did unfortunately see these during my time with the A1, so keep this in mind if you are sensitive to this effect. An additional note in regards to the A1 is it has fairly low contrast, which is listed as 800:1, and it is noticeable as I observed pretty low contrast in all the content I viewed during my time with the unit.
The ProArt A1 has a native resolution of 1080p (1920x1080), though it is capable of accepting a resolution input of up to 3840x2160 at 24Hz as well as 60Hz up to 10bit 4:2:2 chroma or 8 bit 4:4:4 chroma or RGB via HDMI. Luckily with the A1's lens the image is rather sharp and resolves detail very well.
As mentioned earlier the ProArt A1 is a long (or standard) throw projector, though with a rather tight throw ratio of 1.3:1 to 1.56:1 that allows it to project an image size of 40 to 200 inches diagonal depending on the projector's distance from screen. With its optical 1.2x zoom, this distance can range from 5.6 to 6.7 feet upwards to 14.1 to 16.9 feet for larger screen sizes. Based off ASUS's distance chart I found this to be accurate, as it placed the A1 at approximately 9.4 feet to achieve a 100-inch diagonal image, where in my installation I measured from unit to screen approximately 9.7 feet using minimal zoom.
Once the ProArt A1 is positioned the image can be dialed in with ease using its very fine manual focus and manual zoom. The A1 does have a small offset that positions the bottom of the image lower than the height of the projector's feet, so this should be taken into account when positioning or permanently installing the unit. If the A1 is used in table top configuration, two adjustable front feet are available to control the height and tilt of the projector. However, for less-than-ideal placement a digital ±40 degree Horizontal and Vertical Keystone is available in addition to Four Corner warping to adjust the corners of the projection image. Please keep in mind that using digital image warping like this does impact the integrity of the image, however, these features are available to you if you need them in a quick temporary installation. To aid in installation and help determine throw distance for your preferred screen size you can utilize the ProjectorCentral ASUS ProArt A1 projection calculator.
The ProArt A1 allows for the standard projection options of front- and rear-projection placements with either table top or ceiling mounting using the four ceiling mount holes on the bottom of the unit. The projector is fairly light, coming in at just 12.5 lbs with dimensions of 15.9 x 3.8 x 11.1 inches (WHD). This does allows the A1 to be somewhat portable and carried around in the included carrying case.
The ProArt A1 is engineered for accurate color within specific supported color spaces, primarily in its sRGB and Rec.709 picture modes, and per ASUS's published specification it is listed to achieve 98% gamut coverage in both of these color spaces. This was borne out in my nearly on-target measurements, in which it achieved 96.7% coverage in both Rec.709 and sRGB. The A1 does have a slightly larger color space coverage wherein the primaries red, green, and blue, and the secondary colors yellow and magenta sit outside of the Rec.709 color space. The A1 unfortunately does not support the wider DCI-P3 color space, so everything viewed on the unit will be in the Rec.709/sRGB color space.
The ProArt A1 does not have Wi-Fi built in but it allows for wireless projection from a mobile device or laptop through the use of the included wireless dongle. Once the dongle is attached and Wireless Projection is selected as the input signal, users will see a dedicated SSID network name and password for it. The screen where this is displayed will also have QR codes for iOS users to scan that will have you automatically join the secured network. Once this is done, all that remains is for screen mirroring to be enabled on your device so it will project directly to the ProArt A1. While testing this I luckily did not experience any delay or lip sync issues, so this could easily be used in a classroom scenario with a device such as an iPad.
The ProArt A1 provides plenty of inputs on its back panel. There are two HDMI 2.0 inputs, one VGA input, two USB Type A inputs (one for the included USB Wi-Fi dongle and the other for supplying 5V/1.5A of power for an external streaming stick such as a Chromecast or Fire TV), one RS232 to send serial commands, and lastly two 3.5 mm analog audio ports for Audio In and Audio Out.
The A1 includes a mono 10-watt utility speaker, which does the job and plays fairly loud. However it is very thin sounding and I personally wasn't able to listen to it for long durations of time as it was somewhat harsh. Unfortunately, there were no sound profiles or other audio adjustments to smooth out the sound, so it is highly recommended to use an external speaker solution such as a soundbar or other powered speaker system. The built-in speaker will work in a pinch, though finding an external solution should be a fairly high priority.
One nice surprise was that the A1 does in fact support 3D via DLP-Link glasses. Once a 3D signal is received by the A1, simply turning on the 3D-Link glasses will pair them, and the 3D is rather good. It was bright, and had minimal to no crosstalk in my testing.
Finally, included with the A1 is a very simple remote with buttons for power, input, and a navigation ring with an OK/Mode button that will confirm selections. If no menu is present that button will send the user directly to the ProArt Preset picture mode selection which is a nice feature. There is also a back button and buttons for keystone, menu, and volume. The projector, small dongle, remote and power cord are all easily stored in the included carrying case.
Color Modes. The ASUS ProArt A1 has eight picture modes referred to as ProArt Presets. These modes are Standard, sRGB, Rec.709, Theater, Scenery, Game, Dynamic, and User, with Standard being the default out-of-the-box (OOTB) picture mode and sRGB being the Calman-Verified mode. Most preset picture modes, with exception to Rec.709 and sRGB, had an overly cool tone to them, with an additional exception going to Dynamic which was overly green biased. Viewing sRGB and Rec.709 showed them to be slightly too warm, though they looked the most natural and most correct.
That said, none of the default picture modes were particularly accurate in regards to the grayscale. This was due to the default color temperature selected for each, which was especially odd for the sRGB and Rec.709 modes for which I expected higher accuracy. One would probably assume the Warm color temp used for these two modes to be most accurate as is often the case with other projectors, but simply changing the color temperature from Warm to Middle balanced the grayscale much better and removed an overly red push.
The ProArt A1 picture settings reside within the menu under the name ProArt Palette. This section allows for control of the standard image settings such as Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, etc., as well as control for the Color Temperature, Gamma, Wall Color (if projecting on a wall) and Color Setting (which is the CMS or Color Management System for dedicated adjustments of the primary and secondary color points). Surprisingly for a projector for which color accuracy is touted as its reason for being, there are no dedicated Gain or Bias controls to fine-tune white balance for any of the ProArt Presets, including User. If you do wish to tune the color further beyond the factory settings, after the basic settings the projector only allows for adjustment of the primary and secondary colors in the CMS, which does have the usual controls for saturation, hue, and brightness/luminance (which is labeled here as Gain, not to be confused with the white balance control for Gain that's usually paired with a Bias setting). You can also select pre-defined gamma targets and color temperature. One important note is that Saturation and Tint are not available for adjustment if the color format signal is RGB.
The ProArt A1's gamma settings measured fairly close to the menu setting though not quite exact. The 2.4 gamma setting measured in at 2.35, for example. Luckily the gamma did measure relatively flat for whatever was selected, with very minor under-tracking on the lower end upwards to 40% stimulus (40% gray). The available Gamma options are 1.8, 2.0, 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, Theater, Scenery, and Game. Theater, Scenery, and Game have an S curve gamma where it results in the darker areas to appear darker, and the brighter areas to be overly bright.
As mentioned earlier the color temperature was one of the things wrong with the initial image for the sRGB and Rec.709 picture modes that used Warm as their default setting; it was just too warm and had a slight red push that was easily seen in skin tones and also clearly evident in measurements. Fortunately, this was easily rectified by simply changing the color temp from Warm to Middle. Some slight issues with Hue in red and yellow were also noticed. After making this initial adjustment of the color temp I started to review some content such as photos, using it as a PC monitor, etc. The ideal picture modes to use for viewing any content were easily either sRGB or Rec.709 as they were the most accurate. As noted, the sRGB mode is the projector's Calman-Verified mode, though Rec.709 mirrors this mode as well in terms of performance.
Therefore, users who don't plan to calibrate the projector will want to use either the sRGB or Rec.709 modes, along with changing color temperature to Middle, and adjusting Gamma to preference (though I found 2.0, 2.2, and 2.4 to be most acceptable). For the Light Mode setting, I would suggest Dynamic Black or Normal.
I began calibration of the ProArt A1 using Calman Ultimate calibration software from Portrait Displays, a Colorimetry Research CR-250 Spectroradiometer, a Colorimetry Research CR-100 Colorimeter, and a Murideo 8K Seven Generator. The ProArt A1 was calibrated to 100-inch diagonal on a 1.3 gain Stewart Filmscreen, at approximately 9 feet-7 inches in distance. Prior to beginning calibration, I ran various measurements to confirm what I saw in OOTB viewing.
The ProArt A1 is fairly interesting because it has a pre-calibration at the factory and a report for what the Average and Max dE errors are for the unit in its sRGB mode. Per the included report with this sample, the results were listed as having a 0.938 Avg dE with a 2.337 dE Max. DeltaE is the metric used to determine visible errors; it has been determined that anything over a dE of 3 is visible, anything over 2.3 is a just noticeable difference for trained eyes and anything below 2.3 should ideally not be seen to the eye.
It's important to point out that the Calman-Verified reports are measured using a small number of color patches, 32 to be exact. So, getting a low average and low max error isn't too difficult if the unit has been pre-calibrated. The result changes if a very large set of patches are measured, such as the 150+ that I measured to get a better view of the overall accuracy. This will of course raise the overall average and max error considerably, which is to be expected.
One additional take away from the pre-calibration report included with the unit is a note listed at the bottom that specifically calls out the following; "Test results vary under different test procedures, equipment, and patterns." This is an entirely true statement and should be taken into consideration going forward.
The out-of-box measurements of sRGB, with only changes to Color Temperature and Gamma, resulted in an average of 3.4 dE, and a max of 8.4 dE. When the patch set is reduced to roughly same the same number used for the pre-cal report, the A1 came in at 2.7 dE average and 5 dE max. Now, this unfortunately isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, as I would need to know and use the same exact patches that were used to validate the accuracy claim. However, I can see it being possible to hit the specified numbers if they are looking for something specific with those patches. Ultimately, the overall results aren't bad, and to have a projector with OOTB performance at this level is fairly impressive when you factor in the low price point.
As stated earlier, there is no control for Gain or Bias grayscale tuning, so adjustments were made primarily in the Color Settings CMS after selecting my preferred Gamma and Color Temperature. Calibration was attempted on the RGBCMY primaries and secondary colors with the sRGB ProArt Preset.
Post calibration DeltaE errors were not what I expected, mainly due to the picture adjustments not working as well as I would have hoped. The controls were far too aggressive in how much change they effected and needed to be more granular. I found they worked better in the less preferred picture modes that don't track Rec.709, such as User or Standard, however you cannot get those modes as accurate as sRGB or Rec.709 because the CMS controls are still very coarse and, of course, there are no Gain or Bias controls to adjust the grayscale. So after attempting further calibration in Rec.709 or sRGB modes, I ended up getting a slightly lower max dE error of 6.48dE in a large color checker, and roughly the same average dE. So, the results are pretty much the same as pre-calibration, and in most cases a user will actually be better off making standard adjustments to the desired Middle color temperature and gamma in the sRGB or Rec.709 Preset and calling it day. Now, with that being said you can get some projectors in this price range more accurate with much lower average and max errors, but they do require calibration. Whereas the ProArt A1 can go either way and can be ready to use OOTB with two to three simple changes.
The main issue with calibration was primarily seen in the hue, which was slightly off for red, yellow, and cyan, and in some slight oversaturation in red and magenta. Unfortunately, due to the coarse controls if one attempted to correct these issues, specifically the saturation, it will desaturate far too aggressively and result in a duller looking picture.
The devices I used for reviewing content post-calibration were an Apple TV 4K, Oppo UDP-203 Blu-ray player, and a Windows 11 desktop PC.
1080p/SDR Viewing. Post calibration I started watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on Blu-ray via the Oppo 203. Overall, the image quality wasn't bad and skin tones looked good for Willie and Indiana. The subtle differences in the color and shade of the clothing worn by the villagers were reproduced well, though their skin tone and complexion were slightly off, exhibiting a little more saturation than what should be seen. The main thing that stood out though was the evident low contrast of some of the scenes, such as when the child escapes and later falls into Indiana's arms, and when Indiana received the image of Shiva. Once the scene transitioned to where Indiana was outside of the village speaking with Short Round, the background wasn't presented due to the low contrast of the projector. It was heavily crushed and missing detail.
4K/SDR Viewing. Transformers: Age of Extinction on Apple TV 4K was my next pick for 4K/SDR viewing. This was presented well. The colors were accurate for most scenes and looked rich and vibrant. One good example is when Cade, Lucas and his daughter were rescued by her boyfriend and they were attempting to escape through the corn fields. The green of the fields was rich and accurate to other displays I have viewed this on. At one point they drive into a backyard and there's a scene where a lot of dust is seen from a view from inside the car. On a good display it has something like the appearance of film grain, and thankfully it was present while viewing this on the A1 as well. This scene ultimately transitions into where they are running to Optimus Prime to escape Lockdown dropping napalm with massive explosions. The firey napalm looked slightly oversaturated compared to other times I have seen this scene on well calibrated displays, but it still looked good—you might not notice it was slightly off unless you were comparing it to a reference. Overall, the A1 did well with this movie.
PC Workstation. Going onto less exciting content I used the A1 as a monitor from a Windows 11 PC equipped with a 3090ti GPU connected via HDMI. I used this for standard productivity and web browsing, spending some time in Excel and looking at PDFs, YouTube clips, various calibration software, etc.
The image was good. It was sharp, and I didn't notice see any color fringing or chromatic aberration on text. I did feel some latency that was noticeable with mouse clicks as well as typing (depending on how fast one types), though for productivity work it wouldn't likely be too much of an issue. I don't think I would use this for a daily display device for productivity work, but it is very sufficient for presentations if needed.
Photos/Art Viewing. Wrapping up content review on the A1 I looked at personal photos that I'm familiar with that I screen-shared to the A1 via my iPhone through the wireless mirroring. Overall, everything looked good. The hue was slightly off on some of the photos but all were presented well with natural skin tones and clean whites. I then decided to switch over to looking at some art from Jackson Pollock via HDMI from my PC, such as The Water Bull and Autumn Rhythm. Again, everything was presented well with a slight bit of oversaturation in red and some slight hue issues in cyan and red. Overall, the images looked good and close to what I would expect to see.
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The ASUS ProArt A1 is a very capable projector in its reproduction of accurate images, particularly at its price. It's very simple and does not support any type of smart features outside of wireless mirroring, which is a handy tool that should serve the A1 well in its primary function as an inexpensive art projector. It offers legacy connection with its inclusion of VGA and it does get bright for an LED projector, though at the expense of some accuracy. The biggest draw it offers is by far the Calman-Verified certification. This makes the unit effectively plug and play without the need to allocate additional funds to have it calibrated and gives its target audience a functional and reasonably color accurate projector out of the box.
The deal breaker for some will likely be the lack of HDR and DCI-P3 support, since so much content is now available in HDR. In an education setting that likely wouldn't be too much of an issue, though if a user wanted to use this primarily for home theater or cinema they would be better served looking at a more feature-rich unit that allows a higher degree of calibration and presumably better out-of-box contrast. The one thing I would like to see in future iterations would be integration with Calman, or the ability to upload a 1D and or 3D LUT directly to the projector, which are features now found in some ProArt monitor displays.
That aside, let's not forget this is a $1,499 projector targeted at less serious endeavors. Classrooms, conference rooms, and exhibits will find much to like about this unit as it's simple to use, maintenance free and will get you pretty close to the ideal image with its pre calibrated modes. Factor in the current street price and it makes for a compelling option.
Brightness. The ASUS ProArt A1 is rated for 3,000 ANSI lumens. The brightest picture mode is Dynamic, which like the brightest mode in many projectors had a green bias and wasn't really suitable for viewing. This picture mode measured 2,416 ANSI lumens or about 19.5% lower than ASUS's specification.
Selecting Eco for the Light Mode measured a 19.62% light decrease vs. the Normal or Dynamic Black.
ASUS ProArt A1 ANSI Lumens
Zoom Lens Light Loss. The ASUS ProArt A1's light loss when shifting from the widest zoom position to its longest telephoto position was 13.54%.
Brightness Uniformity. The ASUS ProArt A1 projecting a 100-inch diagonal image resulted in measured brightness uniformity of 74% while in wide angle zoom, and 74% in telephoto zoom. The brightest portion of the screen was the Middle Bottom sector, and the dimmest the Left Top sector. The difference in brightness on a full white and solid color screens was not noticeable on a full white screen or in actual moving content.
Fan Noise. ASUS reports the ProArt A1's fan noise at 32dBA in Standard mode and 28dBA in Eco Mode using the industry standard averaged measurement from multiple sides of the unit in a soundproof chamber. My casual measurements were taken with Room EQ Wizard software and a Umik-1 microphone placed approximately 3 feet from the Top, Left, Right, Rear, and Front of the projector, with my theater room ambient noise floor reading 33.3 dBA. Under these conditions, the noise ranged between 36.3 dBA and 39.1 dBA in the Normal or Dynamic Black Light Modes depending on the mic position, and between 35.3 dBA and 36.1 dBA in Eco mode.
Input Lag. Input lag measurements were done using the Game ProArt Preset. The following supported resolutions and framerates were tested: 1080p/60Hz = 51ms, 1080p/120Hz = 46ms, 2160p/30Hz = 66ms, 2160p/60Hz = 51ms.
- HDMI 2.0b (x2; HDCP 2.2)
- USB 2.0 Type A (USB Wi-Fi Dongle)
- USB 2.0 Type A (5V/1.5A power delivery)
- Analog audio out (3.5mm)
- Analog audio in (3.5mm)
Calibrated image settings from any third-party do not account for the significant potential for sample-to-sample variation, nor the different screen sizes and materials, lighting, lamp usage, or other environmental factors that can affect image quality. Projectors should always be calibrated in the user's own space and tuned for the expected viewing conditions. However, the settings provided here may be a helpful starting point for some. Always record your current settings before making adjustments so you can return to them as desired. Refer to the Performance section for some context for each calibration.
As stated in the review, it is recommended to use the sRGB or Rec.709 Presets with only making changes to the Color Temperature and Gamma settings. It was found during testing that setting Contrast to 42 will reduce clipping within the dynamic range of the projector. Adjust Brightness as needed.
Light Mode: ECO or Dynamic Black (content dependent)
Color Temperature: Middle
Wall Color: White
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our ASUS ProArt A1 projector page.
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