AWOL Vision LTV-3500 4K DLP Projector
Projector Central Highly Recommended Award

Highly Recommended Award

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Performance
  • 4
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Pros
  • Vivid colors with Rec.2020 gamut
  • Very bright
  • Support for eARC and HDR10+
  • Dolby Vision and 3D support (with firmware update)
  • Relatively low latency for gaming
  • Comes with Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max for streaming
  • Two-year warranty standard
Cons
  • Awkward and confusing menus
  • Visible laser speckle
Our Take

AWOL's LTV-3500 is a feature-packed, well-performing triple-laser 4K UST that offers high 3,500-lumen brightness and good picture quality.

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 front angle

AWOL Vision may be an unfamiliar brand, but its LTV-3500 ($5,499) is a 3,500 lumen-rated, high-performance UST projector that aims to outdo its competition in a key performance parameter: brightness. While AWOL does not specify the brightness measurement technique it uses to rate brightness on its website, the company confirms it's an ANSI lumen spec and our sample measured acceptably close to 3,500 ANSI lumens. The company also offers the LTV-2500 ($3,499) which is a triple-laser design but with a 2,000 lumen rating.

Inside the chassis is a triple-RGB laser light source that offers Rec.2020 color gamut coverage. When the AWOL Vision LTV-35000 was released, I could not help but notice many similarities to the Hisense TriChroma Laser TV projectors, including the L9G which is rated at 3,000 ANSI lumens. But the AWOL is its own distinct projector design with a different menu system and different capabilities, including motorized focusing that the L9G lacks. This UST also comes with an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max for its streaming, which provides a markedly superior user experience as compared to the typically limited capabilities found on competing UST projectors.

AWOL's motorized focusing mechanism lets you use it with any screen or even a blank wall, though the latter is not something we recommend except for a temporary setup. Hisense more recently released its first triple-laser 4K UST with focusing capability, the PX1-PRO, but it's not nearly as bright as the AWOL or their own L9G. The bottom line is the performance of Hisense and AWOL is extremely similar in terms of the raw hardware, but there is deviation due to the different software and calibration capabilities. Therefore, in my opinion, the question for a UST shopper seeking a bright triple-laser solution boils down to whether the LTV-3500 offers a better value for their specific needs, versus a Hisense L9G or PX1-PRO. If you plan to buy your own UST ALR screen, or already have one, and your priority is brightness and performance under ambient lighting, this could indeed be the best choice. Let's dig in.

Features

The LTV-3500 is a premium RGB triple-laser 4K DLP UST projector that can be used in place of a television set in a home. As noted, the brightest setting is rated at 3,500 lumens, and it can reproduce high dynamic range (HDR) video content in HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG formats, with color covering the Rec.2020 color gamut (which exceeds the DCI-P3 gamut currently used for the vast majority of HDR mastering).

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 lifestyle1

Like other DLP-based UST projectors, this model is not native 4K. As with many other DLP-based USTs, the UHD (3840x2160) resolution is achieved by a 1080p (native) 0.47-inch DLP chip using four-phase XPR fast pixel-shifting. While these projectors cannot resolve a 1-pixel checkerboard grid, this approach renders near-4K detail with ease.

The tri-laser (aka Tri-Chroma) light engine does away with the need for the sequential color wheel typically found in single-chip DLP projectors, but not necessarily the associated RBE (rainbow effect). However, rainbows are minimized as compared to the color wheel approach. The 25,000-hour lifespan of the lamp is 5,000 hours longer than most UST laser projectors on the market.

Instead of having built-in streaming apps, the AWOL Vision sports a compartment with a dedicated HDMI input including a USB power port that allows you to attach the provided Fire TV Stick 4K Max. This streaming player delivers a robust user experience and supports 4K, HDR10, and HDR10+ streaming, as well as Dolby Atmos. The Fire Stick has everything you need to get a rich multimedia experience out of this UST, but it requires you to use two remotes during setup, during which time it will prompt you to see if the volume control works. This process activates HDMI-CEC on the stick and lets the AWOL remote control it. Once that is done, you only need the AWOL remote. But, if you want to use voice search you'll still need to keep the Fire TV remote around, or else use an Amazon Echo or similar Alexa-compatible device.

Speaking of the UST remote, the LTV-3500 provides one, and it is fairly typical. It is a plastic candy bar-shaped design that provides direct access to numerous key functions like source selection and navigation, and volume control. It also features dedicated buttons for playing files, changing settings, bringing up and navigating the menu system, and changing the laser brightness. Along with controlling the Fire TV Stick 4K Max via CEC, the remote can also control other CEC-compliant devices, and it worked seamlessly with my Sony UBP X700/M UHD Blu-ray player as well as the Fire Stick once it was configured.

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 front detail

AWOL Vision equipped this UST with three HDMI 2.0b inputs, one of which is dedicated to the streaming stick. If you have an old-school source like a DVD player or VCR, the projector even has a composite analog input to accommodate that. Notably, while the projector does have an RJ45 LAN jack for connecting to a network via Ethernet, that wired connection cannot be used with the Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

The 0.25:1 fixed ratio throw ratio of the LTV-3500's lens is typical for a UST in its class. The lens is said to be a customized premium Ricoh all-glass lens with a large aperture that accommodates motorized focusing on screens from 80 up to 150 inches. It exhibited good edge-to-edge sharpness when focused on my 100-inch screen and similar performance when focused on a 120-inch image (which I tested by moving the projector back to zoom the image out and then shifting its position to check the edges on my smaller screen). The rear of the unit needs to only be 9.8 inches from the front of a 100-inch projection screen. There are a couple of projectors with an even more aggressive throw ratio of 0.19:1 that can be pulled even closer to the screen, such as LG's new HU915QB and older HU85LA, but focus uniformity issues can crop up when the projection angle is that extreme.

Video capabilities include MEMC (motion estimation, motion compensation) technology, which most people know as frame interpolation motion processing. MEMC or FI can be a double-edged sword. Usually, you'd avoid its use with movies because it creates the "soap opera effect" that looks overly smooth and unnatural with 24 frame-per-second content. But MEMC processing can be beneficial when watching pro sports, reality TV, and other video-based programs with fast motion, where you get a noticeably clearer picture. In any event, MEMC is defeatable so you can use it when it suits you.

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 top

The LTV-3500 has high-quality audio options. To begin with, the built-in stereo speaker system performs better than the average competing UST. There are four front-facing speaker drivers and a total of 36 watts of power. I found the audio to be perfectly usable, roughly on par with that of a good all-in-one budget soundbar (i.e. a soundbar with no separate subwoofer). Despite having only two channels it projects a decent virtual soundfield, and has a Dolby Atmos mode to make better use of Atmos soundtracks. But the lack of a subwoofer is noticeable in action scenes because there's no weight to explosions, and unfortunately, the dedicated S/PDIF optical audio connection is a fixed line output that cannot be used to add a subwoofer that tracks with the remote's volume control. Nevertheless, if you wanted to use this projector standalone—for example in a temporary setup—it'll do the trick.

For permanent installations, adding external audio yields huge dividends in terms of fidelity and envelopment, which are the key ingredients for immersive sound. Surround-sound bitstreams can be sent from the projector (and its streaming stick) to AVRs and soundbars via the eARC connection, which accommodates Dolby Atmos signals for an Atmos soundbar or AVR. There is also the option to use the optical connection to send audio to an external system, although with that approach you won't get Dolby Atmos in any form. For lossless soundtracks and Atmos, HDMI eARC is the way to go.

Performance

I tested this projector using a 100-inch, 0.6 gain, lenticular, ambient light rejecting screen, Epson's Silverflex Ultra. This screen uses a commonly available, neutral gray screen material that is not proprietary to Epson. It's worth noting that as the UST category grows and matures, more and more screen options are coming to market, and as with all projectors, the system's performance ultimately depends on both the projector and the screen. Having said that, 0.6 gain lenticular screens are by far the most popular option for ultra-short throw applications.

The LTV-3500 delivers on its promise of high brightness. It is an excellent UST projector, though its picture adjustments and calibration controls are unintuitive and can be downright confusing. At first, I did not think it provided full calibration controls for all the picture modes, due to some settings being grayed out. But after poking around and trying different combinations, I figured out the dependencies and how to unlock 2-point grayscale adjustments for all picture modes.

In addition to grayscale adjustment, the projector offers CMS (color management system) controls. Between that and the 2-point adjustments, you can perform proper calibrations. However, one frustrating thing about this projector is how quickly the menus time out. It made performing the calibration more of a hassle than it needed to be since after a few seconds it would close, forcing me to click my way back to the adjustment I was working on. This will frustrate and lengthen the time of any serious calibration. Fortunately, the projector's User and Movie modes provided something close enough to accurate out of the box that most people could live with it. I'll say more on that below.

With UST projectors, it's helpful to divide usage scenarios into dim or dark rooms and rooms with significant amounts of ambient light. The former is usually the domain of home theater enthusiasts and some gamers, while brighter settings appeal to sports fans—a lot of sports are broadcast during the day. A bright room is also appealing to families who want to enjoy entertainment at home, but with the lights on at night.

You don't need as much light output in a dark room as you would in a well-lit one. When it is dark, better black levels and fine-tuned picture performance emerge as critical factors in picture quality. Black levels on this projector are what I'd consider typical, meaning there are some other USTs using the Appotronics ALPD 4.0 laser light source that achieve a higher native contrast. The AWOL is a close match in terms of contrast against other non-ALPD offerings from Hisense, LG.

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 lifestyle2

In a bright space, the projector's native black levels are less important, because ambient light makes it impossible to achieve truly deep blacks, even with the help of a dedicated, ambient light rejecting lenticular UST screen (the screen does help a lot, though). What's more important in that scenario is extra brightness that can overcome the ambient light in the room, otherwise, the image can look faded and dull.

Fortunately, with this projector, you do get a ton of light output, but also adjustments that let you attenuate the output to levels more suited for a dark space and smaller screens, if desired (I tend to always go for maximum brightness). The LTV-3500 is legitimately able to overcome a greater degree of ambient light versus much of its competition, and it achieves high brightness without significantly compromising other aspects of picture quality, namely color accuracy.

One feature I particularly liked is the switch for each picture mode that turns on a Low Delay option, which in effect converts any of the picture modes into a de facto Game mode. This is handy considering the limited color adjustments available in the actual Game mode. As we went to press, AWOL released a firmware update for 3D support for the LTV-3500. However, we were not able to test it in time for this review.

Before we get into the individual picture modes, a few words on how the MEMC processing worked. If you leave it off and watch 24p content, you get a filmic look, but it can appear ever so slightly jittery. MEMC set to Low does not produce much of an unnatural (soap opera effect) look, and can improve the subjective impression of smoothness. It's a matter of taste. I recommend avoiding the Medium and High MEMC settings for use with 24p movies, but they can be useful for sports or other TV signals.

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 front right angle

When I tested MEMC with the video-based motion interpolation test clip on the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark disc, I found the Low setting did not make any visible difference, but the Medium and High settings turned the jittery-looking panned image into a totally smooth pan. With movies, the Low setting did have a visible effect. Ultimately, whether you use MEMC and how much of it you apply is going to be a matter of taste.

SDR Picture Modes. Any display worth putting in your living room needs to offer excellent SDR picture quality. The LTV-3500's high brightness coupled with the dedicated ambient light rejecting screen produces a picture that can overcome a significant amount of ambient light. It can do this in any of its SDR picture modes, but when the lights are on what you really want is the brightest image you can get out of it.

The Standard picture mode is an homage to the Standard mode you'd find on a TV. It has MEMC set to Medium by default, uses the Standard color temperature setting and has Dynamic Contrast set to active. It creates a punchy image with smooth motion and lots of detail, but it's not an appropriate setting for movies.

Vivid seemed to be almost identical to Standard, with the same features selected. Unlike the Vivid mode found on some other projectors, this one is not even the brightest setting! It is fully adjustable, so you can tune Vivid and make it do whatever you need, as long as it's within the capabilities of the machine.

Next up is Sport. It too uses the Standard color temp setting. The primary difference I spotted, as compared to Standard and Vivid modes is that the MEMC setting defaults to High.

The Movie mode sports significantly different settings. Disappointingly, the MEMC setting here also defaults to Medium; I recommend immediately switching it to low or disabling it if you plan to use this setting for its intended purpose, watching movies. The color temp is set to Hot, which perhaps should instead be called Warm, but I get the idea.

Game mode, unsurprisingly, dispenses with video processing altogether. The MEMC is turned off, Noise Reduction is disabled, and the color temperature is set to Standard. Just remember, you can get the same thing from any of the other picture modes by using the Low Delay Mode setting found under the Image: Advanced Settings submenu.

The User mode offers access to all color controls and can be whatever you want it to be. Visually, it has a lot in common with the Standard mode when set to defaults. But only the User mode already has the settings available to calibrate grayscale (CMS controls are available in all picture modes). I originally thought it was the only mode that could be fully calibrated.

One of the oddest quirks of this projector is the User Settings sub-menu that harbors the basic image controls you usually see for every picture mode on most other displays: Brightness, Contrast, Chroma (i.e. Saturation or Color), Tone (i.e., Tint) and Sharpness. But these are grayed out and unavailable in every other picture mode except User. There's often no reason to mess with these controls, aside from Sharpness, which typically should be disabled. But, unfortunately, the Sharpness setting is strictly tied to this User mode, when it really should be available for all the picture modes. [Editor's note: I admit to being baffled by this unusual locking out of the basic image controls on all but a single picture mode. Although, as Mark suggests, default settings for things like Color and Tint often require little or no adjustment, the ability to tune peak white (Contrast) and black level (Brightness) should be an option on every picture mode to accommodate screen variation and lighting conditions, and all color calibration controls (color temp, white balance, CMS) should ideally be available in all modes so both a dark room and a bright room mode can be tuned to taste. That said, we have encountered several of these new USTs that, among other ergonomic issues, lack independent memory for the basic or advanced settings for each picture mode, which is just as bad. New UST makers would do well to study the more established projector brands to see how they handle and finess their menus, calibration/adjustment facilities, and settings memories.—Rob Sabin]

HDR Picture Modes. The HDR picture modes mostly behaved like their SDR counterparts, with the same MEMC, color temperature, Dynamic Contrast, and other defaults as SDR. However, each of these modes has a new setting under the Image: Advanced Settings sub-menu called HDR, and it offers four options: Low, Middle, High, and Auto.

This setting significantly alters the rendition of HDR, with the Low setting offering brighter mid-tones and an overall less contrasty image versus Medium. High boosts contrast and offers elevated midtones but tended to make the shadows look dark. When I tried the Auto setting, I could not spot the difference between that and Medium with any of the test clips I played. This appears to be an important control, but also quite subjective when it comes to how the projector handles HDR. Owners of the LTV-3500 should see for themselves what each setting offers and decide based on their preference, environment, and the content itself.

Calibration.Measurements were performed using Portrait Displays Calman color calibration software and an X-Rite i1Basic Pro 3 spectrophotometer. Out of the box, the Movie mode with default settings displayed a respectable average grayscale deltaE error of 3.5, though with rather uneven results across the full brightness range and higher errors above 4.0 dE below the 30% brightness level and above 80%. This is still close enough to accurate for most users, though as noted above I strongly recommend turning MEMC to its lowest or off setting. (Delta E describes how far a projector's grayscale or color space are from accurate; anything under 3 is considered close enough to perfect to be undetectable to most viewers.)

AWOL, meanwhile, recommends tapping the similar User mode because it comes with all adjustments unlocked, while also turning off WCG and not using the High Dynamic or Low Dynamic brightness settings. With those changes, and the color temp set to Hot and Light setting to Standard, the grayscale delta E averaged 3.2, again with siimilarly uneven tracking and higher errors above and below the mid-tones. This is also an acceptable out-of-box option. It would have been nice to have 10-point or 21-point grayscale adjustments as found on some of the competition to calibrate to a better result, though such controls would have been even harder to implement given the rapidly disappearing menu. Ultimately, I also decided not to mess with the default CMS settings, as fiddling with it did not appreciably improve color accuracy.

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 top angle

On the other hand, one of the more remarkable aspects of the performance of this projector is that it achieved 2,900 ANSI lumens of brightness in Movie mode, which is a lot brighter than what other UST projectors offer with similar settings, including the Hisense L9G and LG HU915QB (which are 3,000 ANSI lumen rated models versus 3,500 lumens for the LTV-3500). I ultimately used this mode for viewing both SDR and HDR

SDR Viewing. SDR viewing under modest, mixed lighting is where this UST really shines. Or, I should say, outshines the competition. The Standard picture mode is all you need for broadcast TV; it's able to overcome huge amounts of ambient light. My loft's windows are almost floor to ceiling and I still get a usable picture in the middle of the day. Sure, it looks a bit faded compared to a TV but the picture is clearly visible, whereas a lesser UST typically looks completely washed out under the same light. Using shades to reduce daylight allows this projector to gain contrast and truly appear more like a giant TV. Granted, the colors are clearly pumped up a bit, but there's not quite the same concern with preserving the creator's intent with live sports broadcasts as there is with a movie or a show.

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 lifestyle3

Some USTs have a tendency to make broadcast TV look a little bit rough. AWOL Vision's picture processing does a respectable job cleaning up TV network HD streaming but in the end there's only so much you can do with a low resolution, low bandwidth signal. As far as I'm concerned, ubiquitous 4K sports broadcasts can't come to the major sports leagues soon enough. They look unbelievably superior to what we're dealing with today. I have the 4K option active in my YouTube TV subscription and there's still very little in the way of 4K sports. But I used my DVR to replay the Eagles vs. Bucs in 4K from last year's playoffs, and it's movie quality. I predict that when there's more 4K sports, there's going to be an increased demand for displays of this size (100- or 120-inch diagonal) because the viewing experience on a big screen offers a thrilling degree of verisimilitude a smaller TV cannot match.

As mentioned, the LTV-3500's Movie mode with either SDR or HDR was strikingly brighter than most other projectors I have reviewed. Once it gets proper color calibration and has its MEMC setting changed from the default Medium to Low or Off, it has the scale and scope needed to deliver a cinematic viewing experience. Among other movies, I used Black Panther and Gravity in SDR Blu-ray to audition this mode, and thought what the projector did with Blu-ray source material looked spectacular. It's almost as sharp and almost as colorful as HDR and frankly, it looks better than a lot of 4K streaming does on this projector. The biggest difference between SDR and HDR is the color gamut, and I will grant there are scenes where HDR looks more vivid. But certainly not every scene, and if you were not comparing you might never know what's missing.

Gravity is not yet available in 4K, and frankly, I bought it for the 3D version. But the opening scene where the astronauts are performing their duties outside the Space Shuttle is great in any format, and the blackness of outer space is always a challenge for projectors. In this case, the limited DLP contrast did result in elevated shadows and black levels that are grayish. Despite this limitation, the LTV-3500 did not produce a muddy or dull image. I'll repeat what I mentioned earlier: Unless the room itself is dark, overall brightness matters more than the projector's black levels because ambient light from the room itself has a strong effect on shadow depth and can nullify any advantage in blacks. The calibrated AWOL still rendered all the shadow details present in the source and did not suffer from crushed shadows.

One of my all-time favorite flicks is Natural Born Killers. Oliver Stone's approach to the film was to throw just about every film stock and look he could into creating this action crime drama. One minute it's black and white, the next neon. One scene might be shot on 16mm film and the next has that big-budget 35mm look. And interspersed are a number of animated sequences and even some Coca-Cola ads. It's a crazy mish-mosh of imagery, and not yet out in 4K, so the Blu-ray is as good as it gets. I had not watched it in a number of years and was thrilled to find that it looks better than ever on the LTV-3500, despite being SDR and 1080p.

As for video games, it can be hit-or-miss whether the SDR or HDR version of a game looks better. But even with SDR, you can have 4K, and with video games 4K can look crazy sharp because there's no lens or focusing or compressed video formats to worry about. The only change I made with Game mode was to change the color temperature to the Hot setting, which is closest to 6,500K. The measured 34-millisecond input lag was not at all objectionable, though it may not be sufficient for some competitive gaming.

Before moving to HDR viewing, here's a nugget of wisdom I learned talking to a Hollywood director (M. Night Shyamalan). His creative intent is that you watch the movie on a big screen. Why? Because the cinematography is deliberately framed that way. And that's the argument for putting a UST in your living room. TV shows are nice, sports are fun to watch (at least when your team wins) but movies are an art form that makes a very specific demand of the viewer: Go big!

HDR Viewing. HDR on this projector is a bit of a double-edged sword. It's very bright, and brightness is a huge factor in HDR. However, it is a DLP projector with a limited native contrast, and that means elevated black levels.

Now, you've likely read that black levels are key to image fidelity. You won't get any argument from me on that point. But some UST projectors attempt to create deep blacks and wind up making the whole scene look dull. The Hisense L9G does this if you don't turn on its Dynamic Contrast control.

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 front

But the interesting thing about the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 is the picture looks great despite the elevated black levels. That's because it does a consistently good job at translating 4K HDR, avoiding the pitfalls of appearing too dark or dull.

I've long relied on one scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 at the start of Chapter 12, where Voldemort and his army are standing on a mountaintop and an aerial shot pans around. This projector has no need for Dynamic Contrast, it renders the scene with great clarity. Yes, the black levels are elevated, but the scene itself is extremely clear with lots of detail. Turning on the Dynamic Contrast function offered even more punch. With this specific example, the LTV-3500's HDR handling is impressive. In fact, it's about as good as I've seen from a UST.

One thing a bright triple-laser projector can do is create rich, vibrant colors that go beyond what other consumer displays offer. The AWOL Vision blows right past the DCI-P3 gamut used in a lot of HDR mastering, and it produces retina-searing rich hues when reproducing Rec.2020 color. The Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark Spicy Pixels demo clips include some images that take advantage of wide color gamut. Not fake color, mind you. For example, there's an iridescent frog, some jars with quantum dot fluid in them, and a field of red tulips with a sole yellow tulip in the middle, and all three of these scenes had a richness of color that your eyes instantly recognize as going beyond what you are used to seeing on a TV. It looks hyper-real.

When it comes to gaming, the recently remastered Grand Theft Auto Online is my reference. A couple of months back an update for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions improved the graphics and added HDR, such that Los Santos is now rendered with all the fidelity you expect from a modern game. The variety of scenes you'll find in the game is immense, from neon nightclubs to dark alleys, but also sunbaked deserts and glistening water over the ocean at sunset. The city itself looks astonishing at night, with all the different color lights rendered in wide color gamut and optimally tone-mapped thanks to the built-in title-specific HDR calibration routine that's pretty much standard for video games these days. I found the experience totally gratifying and it's easy to lose a few hours to a solid session when everything looks and feels as good as it did with this system.

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 lifestyle4

Unfortunately, the wide Rec.2020 gamut coverage comes at a cost. Like all other RGB triple laser light source UST projectors that I have reviewed, this one presents an artifact called laser speckle. Laser speckle can appear on the screen due to the laser light being randomly scattered by the textured screen surface. It appears as a thin, uniform layer that seems to float on the surface of bright objects of particular colors, very often red is the most obvious. While the LTV-3500 was neither the best nor worst I've seen in this regard, its brightness does amplify the effect to some degree. I'm likely a bit more prone to seeing it than a typical viewer, possibly from having a heightened awareness of its presence. But, with regular movies or video games, and sitting about 11 or 12 feet away, I totally forgot about the speckle. I also never noticed it during the day, or when lights were on. But in the dark with a full red screen, it's easily seen.

Conclusion

I totally get what AWOL is going for with the LTV-3500. This projector leans in on delivering the brightest picture possible and fulfilling the role of a TV replacement while also catering to the home theater crowd. It's an approach that allows it to perform well in rooms with significant amounts of ambient light while also delivering a compelling 4K HDR viewing experience in a darkened space.

If you want a UST projector that beats the competition in overall brightness, AWOL's LTV-3500 could very well be the right choice for you. It is notable how it maintains its high brightness under the scrutiny of a meter. It took a bit of work to ascertain how to get the most performance out of it, but once I figured that out, it became clear this projector is a top performer.

In a crowded field where you'll find some worthy competition such as the Hisense L9G and LG HU915QB, the LTV-3500 easily earns our Highly Recommended award designation. It lives up to its billing as one of the brightest consumer USTs, it handles HDR better than many, and impressively, it maintains most of its brightness advantage when calibrated for movie watching. If it were a bit more accurate, especially out of the box, and offered better, friendlier calibration controls that allowed for better tuning, it could be an Editor's Choice. Still, if your priority is watching a big picture in a room with some ambient light, the AWOL deserves thoughtful consideration because that's the condition under which it performs best.

Measurements

Brightness. The AWOL Vision LTV-3500 put out a maximum of 3,340 ANSI lumens with an SDR signal in uncalibrated User mode with the High Dynamic laser setting and color temperature also set to User default. With these settings, the color temperature measures 10,800K which is rather "cool" or blue-leaning, but there's no egregious color cast to it, so it's perfectly usable, especially with some ambient light. The peak, center-of-the-screen measurement with these settings was 3,936 lumens, which is very bright indeed.

The High Dynamic laser setting maximizes peak light output in all picture modes. You can also achieve this level of brightness by setting the laser Light mode to User and then manually bumping it to the maximum setting of 10 from its default setting, which otherwise measures 80% of full brightness. Lumen measurements below reflect the High Dynamic setting.

With the laser power set to the Low Dynamic, output was 99% of full brightness as achieved with the High Dynamic setting. With the power set to Bright, measured brightness was 86% of full brightness, in Standard it was 81% of full brightness, and in Soft it was 76% of full brightness.

AWOL Vision LTV-3500 ANSI Lumens

SDR Mode Lumens
Standard 3,207
Vivid 3,207
Sport 3,207
Movie 2,907
Game 3,207
User 3,341
HDR Mode Lumens
Standard 3,207
Vivid 3,207
Sport 3,207
Movie 2,907
Game 2,004
User 3,341

Brightness Uniformity: 72%

Fan Noise. In my loft, after I turn off all appliances and fans the noise floor is about 36 dB (A-weighted). If you run the projector using its brightest power mode, Dynamic, the fan measures 43 dB from 1 meter away.

That's a few dB above some other USTs I've measured, but it makes sense considering this UST is all about brightness, which inevitably means there's heat that needs dissipation. However even though the fan noise is measurable and audible, in practice, it remains barely perceptible, even when near the unit. Unless I shut off all other fans (including HVAC) I don't hear it, and I attribute it to the fan having a smooth, low, inoffensive tone that blends into the background noise of the room.

Input Lag. This projector is good for casual gaming. Regardless of picture mode, if I activated Low Delay Mode and fed it 4K/60 content or 1080/60, its lag measured 34.7 milliseconds.

Connections

AWOL Vision LTV 3500 connections
  • HDMI: Version 2.0b, HDCP 1.4/2.2 (x3, one with eARC)
  • Composite AV in (3.5mm)
  • USB Type A, Version 2.0 (x 2)
  • Network ethernet (RJ45)
  • Toslink optical audio output
  • Micro USB (service)

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our AWOL Vision LTV-3500 projector page.

To buy this projector, use Where to Buy online, or get a price quote by email direct from Projector Central authorized dealers using our E-Z Quote tool.

 

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