Barco G50-W8 WUXGA DLP Laser Projector
Our Take

With its G50 Series, Barco has effectively downsized the case of its G60 family while retaining high brightness potential, producing a mid-sized projector that can light up a large conference room, lecture hall or small church.

Pros
  • Small case for its brightness class
  • Very bright
  • Excellent network control options
  • Wide assortment of available lenses
  • HDR capable
Cons
  • Lacks Wi-Fi
Barco G50 duo front

By redesigning the company's G62 line of projectors with an eye to reducing its bulk, Barco's G50-W8 is a small installation projector that punches well above its class. Rated to put 7,500 ANSI lumens on screen, the G50-W8 measured better and is one of the most efficient projectors at turning electricity into light. Based on lasers and a single DLP Digital Micromirror Device imager, the G50-W8 will never need a replacement lamp or dust filter, making it as maintenance free as a projector gets these days.

With the ability to project anything from a business presentation to a classroom lesson to a church service, Barco's G50-W8 is a jack of all trades that provides an excellent variety of lenses and some of the best networked control options available. Its primary shortfall: no built-in Wi-Fi for when there's no Ethernet drop near the projector.

With a suggested price of $13,999 price (without a lens), the G50-W8 can be had for closer to $10,700, putting it on a par with NEC's PV800UL model that delivers 8,000 ANSI lumens. It is, however, at a $2,000 disadvantage compared to the likes of Optoma's ZU820TST with its attached lens and 7,000 lumens of output.

Is the G50-W8 too expensive, too big or just right? Read the review that follows to find out.

Features

If you think that Barco only makes large heavy projectors that can be a pain (literally) to lift and install, think again. The G50 family has been slimmed down considerably compared with Barco's earlier 1DLP series. Barco designers carefully reduced the size of components and empty space inside the G62 design without compromising its structural integrity and ruggedness.

Barco G50 front left

It's still built for the long run but at 28.6 pounds and 7.1 x 19.1 x 14.8 inches (HxWxD), the G50 family is one-third smaller than the G62 line. This downsizing allows it fit into tighter locations or be less obtrusive when hung from the ceiling. Still, the size and heft of the G50 is about average for similar output projectors from Optoma and NEC. Underneath, the G50 has seven centrally located attachment points as well as threaded feet at the corners for table and booth use. It requires at least 20 inches of clearance on all sides for cooling.

Its group of blue lasers shine on a phosphor wheel to create red, blue and green streams that go through a four-segment color wheel. The light is bounced off the projector's 0.67-inch DMD—the same one used on the larger and more expensive G62 family. The final image is sent to the output lens. The G50 projects native 1920x1200 resolution WUXGA images, though it can accept inputs of up to 4096x2160, full DCI-4K resolution.

There are three members of the G50 family that are identical, except for their light output. While the G50-W6 puts out a maximum of 5,400 ANSI lumens, the W7 model ups this to 6,300 ANSI lumens. I looked at the conservatively rated 7,500 ANSI lumen flagship G50-W8; it also carries an 8,900 ISO lumen spec (though this is not indicated anywhere as compliant with the industry-standard ISO21118 measurement).

Considering its power consumption, it adds up to an output of 19.4 lumens per watt. This is about one-third brighter per watt of electricity compared to the competition, which is closer to between 13- and 15-lumens.

A key to the G50's flexibility, particularly for those with existing Barco fleets, is the wide assortment of interchangeable lenses that Barco sells for its G50, G60 and G62 projectors; the only holdout is a 0.36:1 non-zoom UST lens that only works with the G60 and G62. But the G50's seven available lenses range from 0.37-0.4:1 ultra-short throw optics to a long-throw lens with a throw ratio of 2.90 to 5.50:1. Prices for the standard, non-UST lenses range between $1,500 and $4,100. For my evaluation, I used the $1,920 standard throw lens that has a 1.22-1.53:1 throw ratio and a 1.25x zoom.

Regardless of which lens you get, the G50 has a wide mechanical shift range that matches that of the more expensive G62 family. I was able to move the image by 100 percent vertically as well as 30 percent side to side. This is combined with the horizontal and vertical keystone correction, making for a projector with a lot of flexibility as to where it is installed.

Able to work with a variety of programming, from business pitches and school lessons to movies and 3D material, the G50 is versatile with variety of color modes, plus a user defined one. They include Bright, Presentation and Cinema as well as HDR, sRGB, Dicom Sim and Edge blending. There're presets for 3D imaging and using a regular 2D video stream at 120 Hertz refresh rate. If your location has access to 208-volt power, there's a SuperBright mode that offers slightly brighter images of an unspecified amount.

Based on Barco's RealColor P7 color management technology, the G50's output is calibrated at the factory and provides lots of customization options, including the choice of three color temperatures. It's easy to minutely adjust the red, green, blue, cyan, yellow and magenta levels and the white peaking adjustment can yield more vivid and saturated colors; it's at the expense of total brightness, however.

Barco G50 closeup

The G50 can take advantage of HDR-encoded material; you get a choice between having HDR processing turned off or having the projector in automatic mode that activates when the projector senses an HDR stream. The fine-tuning settings include the choice of individual HDR presets for Bright, Standard, Film and Detail.

In addition to the ability to blend the output of two projectors, the G50 has a Dynamic Contrast mode for delivering deeper blacks and its default gamma level of 2.2 mirrors that of the G62 model. This can be adjusted to any of seven settings ranging from 1.8 to 2.6 to accommodate different levels of ambient light. There are modes for projecting onto a blackboard or any of six different colored walls, although the results are questionable.

The projector's control panel in the back not only has the expected On/Off key, but a Menu button and a four-way control for navigating the settings and options. There are dedicated controls are Focus, Shift, Keystone and Zoom.

On its left are the G50's connections, with two HDMI 2.0b and a DisplayPort input as well as a handy HDMI output for a secondary screen. On top of an RS232 serial port and a USB Type-A connection, the G50 has synchronization inputs and outputs for projecting 3D material.

The G50 is among the rare commercial projectors with a pair of speakers—most offer one or none. Rated at 10 watts each, they both fire out the back and can fill up a mid-sized conference room or classroom without the need for external audio, simplifying the set up. The projector does have a 3.5mm analog stereo output jack to feed an external sound system as well as a 12-volt trigger for opening and closing a screen.

The G50-W8 lacks either built-in Wi-Fi for networking and screen sharing, nor does Barco offer an optional device to add this, though the company says the projector will accept a third-party solution via the USB or HDMI port. It does have a pair of Ethernet ports, one for using HDBaseT for long-distance control and video signals, the other for wired network connections. The projector is compatible with AMX, Crestron, Extron and PJ-Link control software.

A network connection also enables the projector's thorough, browser-based interface for remote monitoring and action. Once again, Barco leaves the username and password out of its otherwise comprehensive manual. Both are "admin@g50".

It's worth the effort to use the networked web pages because they provide lots of remote options that other projectors lack. The pages can be used to control Barco devices across the hall, building or campus. The Main page not only has places to turn the projector on and off but there're also adjustments for Volume, Scaling and Edge Mask. It's easy to change the settings for the lens's Focus, Zoom, Keystone and Shift and even call up a memory setting or lock the lens settings.

Switching to the Advanced page of the browser interface takes this a step further and sets the G50 apart from the crowd. In addition to allowing adjustment of the color balance and activating the Dynamic or Extreme Black settings, you can reset all settings to start again.

Barco G50 duo top Barco g50 remote2

For more conventional control there's always the supplied remote. It's a little on the large size, but not too bad considering all it does. Its keys have blue backlighting, perfect for use in a darkened room, and it's powered by a pair of AAA batteries. The device has everything from On and Standby buttons to a numeric keypad along with dedicated keys for Focus, Shift, Zoom and Keystone correction. There's direct access to the 13 preset patterns the G50 provides to assist in setting the projector up. The remote can be hardwired to the projector via a 3.5 mm jumper cable for virtually unlimited range.

The G50 works with both the company's Insights Management Suite (to manage and control a fleet of Barco projectors) and the Projector Toolset (for edge blending and warping). The software has diagnostics and additional controls but is only available for Windows systems. The projector is also compatible with the Barco Pulse mobile app, which functions like a virtual remote and allows basic control and health diagnostics for multiple Barco projectors.

Like other Barco projectors, the G50 comes with a three-year warranty that matches the coverage provided by Epson. Still, it falls short of the five-year warranties that Sony provides for its commercial projectors.

Performance

Color Modes. The Barco G50-W8's color modes range from Presentation, Bright and Cinema, to HDR, sRGB and Dicom Sim. It adds the ability to use 3D material and a special high-framerate 2D mode at a refresh rate of 120 Hertz. There's also a personally defined User mode. The projector is rated to deliver up to 97% of the Rec.709 color space.

With a UHD notebook connected to the G50-W8, I watched a variety of material, including movies, video clips, classroom lessons and presentations. The projector did well in each area and some of the modes provide color balance that's surprisingly good for this class of device.

Presentation Viewing. The G50-W8's Bright mode is for when all-out illumination counts for everything, such as in a public space, or in a room with bright lights or lots of windows on a sunny day. Our sample put out 8,953 ANSI lumens in our measurement, about 20 percent over its 7,500-lumen spec and even in excess of its 8,900 ISO lumen rating.

The color balance was surprisingly good for any projector's brightest mode; although it gave everything the usual green tinge, it was not as bad as other conference room projectors. It might not cut it for showing a movie at school but should work for a lesson at school or a presentation at work.

There's also the slightly less bright Presentation mode. It put 7,613 ANSI lumens on the screen with our sample—still above the projector's max ANSI brightness spec. It had less of a green look to it but was still cold overall.

Meanwhile the Dicom Sim mode's ability to show enhanced contrast is aimed at showing medical scans but it also turned out to be quite good at projecting black and white photography. It would work in a school or medical facility with the ability to deliver 7,797 ANSI lumens. I didn't use the 3D or 120 Hertz modes.

Video Viewing. By contrast, the Cinema mode warmed the imaging up a bit too much to my eye, and gave everything a pink cast. It put out 5,830 ANSI lumens on the screen with our sample, so should be good for a mid-sized lecture hall or small auditorium.

Still, using Cinema for the opening scenes from Crimes of the Future displayed an image that was remarkably realistic for this class of projector. The boy's tanned skin tones and the shadows from his hair appeared natural, as were this scene's beach rocks and blue sky. The contrast between the green water in the background and the shimmer of the waves looked great.

Barco G50 front right

The best compromise between brightness and color balance was shown by the sRGB mode. It delivered 5,416 ANSI lumens. It was a little warm, but very close to neutral.

Meanwhile, the G50-W8 can work with HDR-encoded material and delivered 7,303 ANSI lumens in its HDR mode. It brought out the best in the BBC Planet Earth Blu-ray with rich and vivid colors and incredible highlights, using the Bright HDR mode.

Conclusion

A breakthrough projector for Barco, the G50-W8 has gone a long way to catching up to the competition in the mid-size installation projector market with a system that is just as small as it is bright. Critically, the Barco G50-W8 can be used in places where the company's larger and more expensive projectors wouldn't fit.

It's still at a small price disadvantage compared to some in this brightness class, but the company continues to excel at providing high brightness that meets or exceeds specs, an excellent variety of local and networked control options, as well as a well-deserved reputation for world class design, manufacturing and support.

Measurements

Brightness. The sample that we looked at was able to deliver 8,953 ANSI lumens in Bright mode, nearly 20 percent over its 7,500 ANSI lumen spec and slightly above its 8,900 ISO lumen rating. While this might be the exception, this understated spec is in line with previous experience with Barco projectors that put out brightness readings well above its company ratings. In Bright mode, its output was a little on the green side, but not as bad as others we've seen.

That said, the projector's Presentation mode was still a little cold looking but with better overall color balance. It put out 7,614 ANSI lumens of brightness. The Cinema mode went too far in the other direction with an overall pink look to its images and the ability to put 5,830 ANSI lumens on-screen.

The sRGB was more neutral, had an excellent color balance and was rated to deliver 5,416 ANSI lumens, making it a nice balance between color and illumination. With HDR material, the Barco G50 supplied 7,303 ANSI lumens, while the Dicom Sim mode topped out at 7,797 ANSI lumens.

Eco Mode. If you dig deeply into the Barco G50-W8's System menu, you can change its lighting mode from Normal to Eco. This reduced output by about 56 percent across the board while reducing the power draw by 65 percent. The projector was quieter and can potentially save about $50 a year in electricity bills.

Barco G50-W8 ANSI Lumens

Color Mode Normal Eco
Presentation 7,613 4,362
Bright 8,953 5,034
Cinema 5,830 3,325
HDR 7,303 2,473
sRGB 5,416 3,018
Dicom Sim 7,797 4,303

Zoom Lens Light Loss. Using Barco's R9801784 Standard Zoom lens with a 1.25x rated zoom and 1.22-1.53:1 throw ratio, the G50 lost 16% percent of its light when fully zoomed in.

Brightness Uniformity. The Barco G50 with our selected lens had an excellent brightness uniformity of 93.9%, slightly higher than the G62's rating. Although it's hard to notice, the left side was slightly dimmer.

Fan Noise. The Barco G50 draws room air in from the right side and blows it across the hot components and out the left side exhaust vent. At its highest output, I measured 45.0dBA of fan noise 36-inches from the projector in a room that measured a background level of 38.2dBA. The company rates the projector's noise level at between 34 and 38dBA in a sound-proof room using the industry-standard averaged measurement taken from six positions.

Input Lag. Using a Bodnar Video Signal Input Lag Tester and a 1080p/60Hz signal, the G50-W8 had an input lag of 53.5 milliseconds. That's slightly lower than the G62's 55.7 milliseconds; either should be fine for general use. There's no game mode to reduce its latency.

Power Use. Using the G50's Bright mode, it consumed 462 watts of power while in use for a best in class 19.4 lumens per watt; others are closer to between 13- and 15-lumens per watt. The G50-W8 used 4.2 watts when idle.

That power profile translates to an annual estimate of $115 in electricity bills if it's used for 8 hours a day for 200 days out of the year. Setting the projector to Eco mode can reduce the maximum power use to 262 watts and the annual power estimate to $67. The estimate is based on paying the national average of 14 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity.

Temperature. Capable of putting out over 1,700 BTUs per hour (about the equivalent of a small space heater), the G50 is a cool customer. It never got more than warm to the touch and hit a peak of 92.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the back of its exhaust vent.

Connections

Barco G50 connections
  • HDMI-in Version 2.0b (x2)
  • HDMI-out Version 2.0
  • DisplayPort Version 1.2 Video
  • Audio out (3.1mm)
  • HDBaseT (RJ-45)
  • Wired Network (RJ-45)
  • Remote control extension (3.5mm jack)
  • Serial Port (RS-232)
  • 12-volt trigger
  • 3D Synchronization In/Out
  • USB Type-A

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Barco G50-W8 projector page.

 
Comments (1) Post a Comment
Andy Posted Jan 8, 2024 12:17 AM PST
The Projector Toolset is available on Windows, Mac and Unix. The Pulse Mobile app is more than just a replacement for the hardware remote. The app offers a lot of functionality, from device management to warping, blanking and blending.

Post a comment

 
Enter the numbers as they appear to the left