Hisense 100L9G-CINE100 4K DLP Projector
Projector Central Editor's Choice Award

Editor's Choice Award

Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Pros
  • Bright, vivid, accurate colors with Rec.2020 gamut
  • Triple laser DLP, no color wheel
  • Sharp and detailed image
  • Excellent HDR tone mapping
  • Built-in TV tuner
  • Low latency Game mode
  • Screen included
Cons
  • No 3D
  • No Netflix streaming app
  • Scales 4K/120 Hz signals to 4K/60 Hz
Our Take

Hisense is a pioneer in 4K UST laser projection, and their experience shows in the high performance and refinement of its L9G TriChroma Laser TV.

Hisense l9g frontangle

Hisense announced its first Laser TV UST projector for the U.S. market in 2017, shortly after Sony introduced the concept here. Five years later, the company is facing a lot of competition but has not rested on its laurels. The new Hisense L9G TriChroma Laser TV is their latest and most advanced UST yet.

The L9G is a 4K UST projector with a triple-laser, RGB light source to reproduce the entire Rec.2020 color space. When paired with the lenticular Cinema Screen supplied with the projector, it deftly manages to serve dual roles: A giant TV screen, retaining contrast in a room with moderate ambient light, or delivering a typically compelling UHD home cinema experience with the lights off.

Features

The L9G is a bright, vivid 4K DLP UST projector designed to take the place of a TV in a residential setting. It's rated at 3,000 ANSI lumens in its brightest mode, and it's capable of reproducing HDR video content (HDR10 or HLG) and covering the full Rec.2020 color gamut, beyond even the DCI-P3 gamut typically used today for HDR mastering.

Hisense uses a 0.47-inch DLP chip with XPR fast pixel-shifting to achieve the 4K resolution, while the tri-laser light engine eliminates the need for the sequential color wheel found in most single-chip DLP projectors. In this case that vastly reduces the potential for rainbow artifacts (more on that later). The light source is rated for 25,000 hours, which is 5,000 hours more than most competitor's UST laser projectors.

The L9G is a high-performance projector that does many things right, from having a sharp lens to providing vivid color and high brightness. It's also got everything you'd expect from a modern smart TV, ranging from on-board streaming to an actual built-in off-air tuner, so you can connect to cable, satellite, or OTA (broadcast) signals.

Hisense l9g remote

This TV has a voice remote that supports Google Assistant and an Android TV platform that offers Google Play apps plus Chromecast built-in. Like most other projectors running on this platform, it does not natively support the Netflix app, though I was able to cast Netflix to it from a Chrome browser. As is my advice with other USTs, I suggest connecting a dedicated 4K premium streaming device, like an Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, Roku Ultra, or else a gaming console for your streaming.

One of this projector's unique features is the included screen, available in 100-inch or 120-inch sizes and in two types. A rigid, preassembled Fresnel ALR Daylight Screen is specified at 1.2 gain, but has somewhat limited viewing angles. I did not get to see or review this screen. The other screen is the ALR Cinema Screen, a lenticular option similar to what I've seen used with other UST projectors. It is specified as having a 150-degree viewing angle and 0.4 gain (though my measurements indicated mine was 0.6 gain, which matches most of the third-party lenticular UST screens available). This is the screen I reviewed in a 100-inch size. The projector/screen package together normally goes for $5,499 with either 100-inch screen; pricing for the 120-inch versions is $5,999. However, through the end of 2021, Hisense is offering a $1,000-off promo for both screen packages, bringing the pricing down to $4,499 for the 100-inch system and $4,999 for the 120-inch. During the same promotional period, the company is also offering a 100-Day money back guarantee on system purchases.

As for the screen itself, it came packed in a highly protective box, with clear instructions. The process of putting together a stretched screen is always a little bit of a chore. Still, I was able to finish it in less than an hour without much frustration.

I strongly appreciate how Hisense designed the screen with an adjustable hanging mechanism to tweak the height and rotation, which significantly facilitates a rapid yet accurate install. Also, the bezel on the screen is sufficiently wide, and with enough protrusion, that it catches any stray light (namely, the dark gray border around the actual image that is a fixture of DLP projectors). It's appropriately designed so no light spills onto the wall.

The projector lens has a 0.25:1 fixed throw ratio and offers no focus control; the projector model is designed to work with whatever screen it ships with. For a 100-inch screen, it sits with its back about 11 inches from the screen surface. The projector is 13.6 inches deep, so its forward-facing speaker grille sits about 25 inches from the wall. This makes it necessary to have a reasonably deep TV stand or credenza, or to be willing to pull your furniture out a bit from the wall. For the 120-inch version, the back of the projector sits almost 15 inches from the wall, and the front face about 28 inches out.

The L9G comes with a better sound system than most; it has four forward-firing speakers and is rated at a total of 40W power (granted, speaker sensitivity determines what the actual output is, whatever given wattage). The projector's analog audio output can also be used to feed a subwoofer. I found the built-in sound usable, akin to an entry-level soundbar, and it does have virtual-surround capability. For external sound, it can pass Dolby Atmos and surround sound via eARC, which worked perfectly with my Denon AVR-X8500H AV receiver and the new Sonos Beam Gen 2 soundbar with Dolby Atmos. The L9G is also WiSA-ready, so it's compatible with powered wireless speakers using that standard; just plug a WiSA transmitter into the USB port. In any event, a projector such as this should ideally be paired with a more robust soundbar or a surround-sound system using a standalone speaker system, powered by an AVR or separate components. You will definitely want sound that matches the picture in impact, and the built-in speakers are not doing that.

Hisense l9g lifestyle1

This projector has a well-equipped connection panel, starting with three HDMI ports. Two of these are version 2.1 that can handle 4K/120Hz signals (one with eARC as noted above), and the other is HDMI 2.0 for up to 4K/60. At first glance the HDMI 2.1 ports may be a draw for gamers seeking to watch 4K/120 from the latest game consoles or a PC. However, Hisense says that 4K/120 signals are eventually resolved down to 4K/60 Hz in the L9G due to the limitations of the DLP chip, and that the primary benefits of the wide bandwidth connections are the availability of eARC and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) that automatically sets the projector up for gaming when it sees a gaming console or PC. Along with eARC, you get both optical digital and 3.5 mm analog audio outputs. There's also a pair of USB inputs (plus one mini USB for service only), and you can play music from a mobile device via Bluetooth. An RJ45 network connection can be used in place of the onboard WiFi.

The L9G's bluetooth remote provides easy access to the Android TV platform with direct buttons for some key apps like YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, and as mentioned earlier, there's a built-in microphone for accessing Google Assistant to assist with content searches or inquire about the weather. It's also backlit.

Unfortunately, one feature you won't find on the Hisense L9G is support for 1080p 3D. IMO, it should have it, especially given how bright this projector is.

Performance

SDR Picture Modes. While HDR movies and games are great, the majority of content is still SDR, and any display worth putting in a living room setting needs to offer excellent SDR picture quality. The Hisense L9G's high brightness, dedicated ambient light rejecting screen, sharp lens, and rich, accurate color all benefit SDR playback regardless of which picture mode you choose.

This projector's native color temperature in its Vivid mode is relatively "cool" and visibly blueish, measuring 13,334K. Vivid, along with the Game and Sports modes, were the brightest and the ones that conformed to the 3000-Lumen ANSI specification in their default settings. Typically, projectors begin to lose brightness the further away you get from that native color temperature, which proved to be the case with the L9G. It translates to the brightest picture modes having a higher color temperature than the 6,500K that's "ideal" for calibrated displays and cinematic content.

Nevertheless, the L9G's Vivid mode is more watchable than the cool color temperature reading would imply, namely because the actual color balance itself is reasonable (and your eyes do adjust to some degree). Vivid mode relies on the native color space, so it maxes out the color gamut; this has the effect that, in a darker room, it looks oversaturated. But, the point is that you can use this mode for daytime viewing where projectors usually fear to tread. It helps to overcome the effects of high ambient light (which also affects TVs, not just UST projectors).

If you seek a technically accurate viewing experience, the Filmmaker Mode is one way to go, although we'll discuss a valuable tweak to the defaults later in this review.

For TV watching, the Standard picture mode on this projector has a look to it that'll be familiar to TV owners. It's a punchy, slightly cool, processed picture featuring contrast enhancement, noise reduction, upscaling, and motion processing. And while all that might sound like a hot mess of unwanted features to a home cinema purist, it delivers the "expected" TV-like look. The reality is that broadcast and cable are only now on the verge of leaping to 4K, and the current picture quality can actually use some image processing to look presentable on a screen this big.

Standard mode has the distinct advantage of being bright without being overly cool in terms of color temperature. If the L9G spends more time serving as a TV, showing news, sports, and other "non-cinematic" content in mixed lighting, rather than as a home theater-style projector in dim lighting or a dark room, Standard could well be your go-to mode.

Unlike some laser UST DLP projector models, this Hisense has a dedicated Game mode and notably lower latency than we've seen from USTs at 34.1 milliseconds for 4K/60 Hz. To achieve low latency, numerous picture processing options are disabled, including dynamic contrast. But it still looks great, and you can adjust the color temperature cooler to go for higher brightness or warmer for a more sumptuous color palette but lower overall brightness.

Hisense LG9 fronttop

The mode I focused on the most is Filmmaker Mode, first because it is an excellent catch-all picture mode, providing high brightness when needed and dimming when appropriate (the projector's automatic light sensor is active by default). Another benefit is that you can actually use a different mode for your less critical day-to-day viewing if you choose and set the projector to automatically activate Filmmaker when it senses compatible content.

But, there's a catch to making the Filmmaker Mode really work effectively on the L9G, one I discussed with ProjectorCentral editor Rob Sabin before I settled on using that as my primary viewing mode. This pertains to how the concept of Filmmaker Mode is interpreted. One school of thought is that it should disable as much processing as possible, leaving the source as untouched as possible, presumably allowing the creator's intent to shine through. The idea here is that things like frame interpolation that may add soap opera effect or color processing that may artificially punch up colors will be deactivated. That may work well most of the time with panel TVs. But with projectors, which are particularly limited in their ability to handle HDR, another school of thought might be to let the projector use some of its processing tricks to mold the content into the best possible image on the screen in hope of better matching the director's vision by whatever means necessary, but perhaps at the expense of not always following video calibration orthodoxy.

What's required to make that happen will depend on the capabilities of the display. The thing is, a UST has to jump through more hoops than a TV or even a conventional projector in a dedicated home theater. And I'd only use enhancements if they offer a clear benefit with minimal or no side effects.

Hisense l9g lifestyle2

So, what's the catch with Filmmaker Mode? If you don't activate the Active Contrast feature (which is off by default), the projector will struggle with dark scenes, and the result will look washed out. And while I was concerned about using this contrast boosting feature, because typically that will wind up clipping highlights and shadows, I did not see that behavior from this function on the L9G. With actual content and test patterns, I saw no fundamental issue with activating Active Contrast and using the setting that looks the best, which for me was Medium.

This projector's color temperature tuning is slightly on the cool side, even in the Low setting that is the closest to the 6,500K ideal. With a little bit of tweaking of the two-point controls, I achieved highly accurate color balance and temperature. While you might ask a professional calibrator to go through with the full 20-point calibration, the two-point option yielded such good results that I did not feel the need to go any further.

One more thing to note: This projector does not have a traditional "Eco Mode" light setting or anything of that sort. The closest thing would be the 10-step Laser Luminance control that can be used to dial down the brightness. But the projector does have a dedicated Energy Saving picture mode, which uses a combination of settings: a Laser Luminance Level of 5 plus the automatic light sensor to provide a watchable, if not optimally bright image.

At this point, I'd like to address the issue of rainbow artifacts. They are not absent from triple laser projectors; it is not strictly something that happens with color wheel DLP designs. But it is harder to see than what I've experienced with color wheel-based DLP, and with this projector, I had to put white text or graphics over a black background and unnaturally dart my eyes around to spot the effect. RBE is not something that I saw when watching any content in a typical fashion.

HDR Picture Modes. Each SDR picture mode has an HDR equivalent, except for the two SDR Theater modes—Day and Night; there is only one HDR Theater mode. These modes are highly analogous to their SDR equivalents, with the same default settings and peak brightness levels. All in all, it's a more predictable and logical way to implement HDR picture modes than I've seen on many other projectors, and you certainly get plenty of options, including a dedicated HDR game mode.

As with SDR, I focused on the Filmmaker Mode with HDR primarily because movies are the content I watch most often, and these days, it's almost always a UHD movie. With HDR, dialing in the best mode for home theater-style viewing is critical! I had to slightly tweak the color temperature defaults to get a perfect 6,500K. As with SDR, I turned on Active Contrast to Medium, and again I feel this setting should almost always be active and that Medium is the best strength for the effect.

While in Filmmaker Mode, I toggled Active Contrast on and off while watching the HDR demo loop on the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark disc, and in my view, it improved the result at least 95% of the time, creating a punchier picture with no apparent downside. Given the typical UST projector environment, expecting textbook calibrated reference accuracy is simply unrealistic. You want to give the projector leeway to maximize the impact of the image while acknowledging the limitations of projection. I think the L9G does this exceptionally well with its Active Contrast feature.

SDR Viewing. One of the things I genuinely love about this Hisense is it does behave like a TV. I hooked an antenna up to it, ran the channel scan, and the tuner found 84 channels, including the major networks. (I live in a major metropolitan area.) Watching football over broadcast TV is a revelation; the signal is significantly cleaner than what comes through cable TV or streaming—no blocky artifacts or smudging when the camera pans quickly. I suppose the point is that calling this a Laser TV is perfectly reasonable because it has a tuner and competently serves all the roles you'd expect of a TV.

Hisense l9g top

For sports, in the evening, I used the Standard picture mode and was satisfied with the overall look of the processed video. It adds noise reduction and some motion processing, but with sports broadcasts typically being 720p or even 1080i, a little bit of processing goes a long way to making it look a little sharper and smoother. This mode does tend to exaggerate primary colors somewhat, but with basketball, that means the uniforms look extra vibrant, and for football, you get greener grass.

There's also a dedicated Sports mode, which is essentially the same as Standard mode in terms of picture processing. Still, it employs a cooler color temperature that allows it to achieve higher brightness levels. You can effectively make the Sport mode look like Standard by changing the color temperature from Normal to Low.

My sports viewing consists of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Eagles. While OTA broadcast looks the best, 1080p streaming from YouTube TV also looks good on this UST and benefits from the image processing.

Although this projector has an automatic light sensor that modulates the laser luminance based on ambient lighting conditions, I am a fan of running projectors full blast, getting the maximum out of them. So, I disabled it, but I do want to mention that I thought it functioned reasonably effectively, and if you are not the sort to change picture modes based on content and viewing conditions, using the light sensor could be just the thing.

As a TV enthusiast, I like a nice accurate picture, but I'm not a purist; I don't object to little extra saturation or contrast to make a scene "pop." And that is the crux of the discussion about utilizing the Active Contrast setting in conjunction with Filmmaker Mode. It's what makes things pop on this projector. And to my eyes, which are used to watching video without any motion interpolation and on calibrated displays set to an industry-standard 6,500K color temperature (like my PC monitors), it looks good without further adjustment. Just set that Active Contrast to Medium and go.

But then there is the potential of really pushing the quality this projector can achieve. For that, all I had to do was a two-point grayscale adjustment, which was super-fast and easy and produced an essentially perfect result. That's good news because even a hobbyist can pull off this kind of calibration using a decent colorimeter and taking some fundamental measurements. A professional calibrator could make a 20-point grayscale adjustment to get the gamma just right—but I think it's unnecessary, as I found the L9G tracked gamma quite well, even in Vivid mode! Filmmaker Mode, with Active Contrast turned on and that minor tweak to the grayscale calibration, resulted in a picture that had an uncanny level of accuracy.

Hisense l9g lifestyle3

During my SDR testing I wanted to see how deep shadows hold up if you lower the Laser Luminance setting. Using test patterns, I determined that if you leave Active Contrast turned on (in any mode, but in particular with Filmmaker Mode) the projector will render every step of deep gray, all the way to pure black, without crushing the detail. This is hugely significant for how you can use this projector, because it means if you want it to behave like a true home theater projector in a dark space, rather than a giant TV in a room with some ambient light, it can do this as well.

The proof that this projector has real home theater chops came with looking at the now classic 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. As the camera flies over, many a display has been brought to its knees trying to replicate all the deep, dark, subtle gradations of this moonlit night scene. But not this projector! Thanks to Active Contrast, it rendered the scene with shadow details intact. And in a dark space, with the Laser Luminance set to zero, it still handled the scene well. Turning off Active Contrast yielded an indistinct muddy mess, regardless of Laser Luminance.

I tried all the SDR modes in a dark room, with minimum Laser Luminance settings. I was particularly enthralled with how Game Mode looked in the dark while playing Grand Theft Auto Online with the projector dimmed. Rather than thinking to myself "This projector's brightness is turned down," I thought "Wow! Look at how good those black levels are."

Eventually I realized that the L9G maintains essentially the same native contrast ratio even with the lower laser setting. As you drop the Laser Luminance, black levels improve at the expense of lower peak brightness but stay closely in step. And with SDR in particular, you just don't need super-bright highlights in a dark room. Calibration for commercial cinema is 48 nits, which you have to ramp down the laser to achieve. So you can get this projector to deliver an impactful, cinematic image with perceptually dark black levels just by modulating the light output level.

In any event, even operating the projector in its darkest mode, I saw extremely rich colors and excellent rendering of fine gradation at all brightness levels, and no notion of the tonality being out of balance. It's an impressive feat of dynamic contrast picture processing that allows the L9G to rise to the top of its class.

Let's move on to the screen now, which would ordinarily be an ancillary discussion in a projector review—it is not expected that the reader would have the same size or type as the reviewer. But that's not the case with a UST system such as this, which ships with a dedicated screen of a known size and performance characteristics.

Hisense specifications state that its Cinema screen, the lenticular UST ambient light rejecting screen supplied with the projector, has a 0.4 gain. That actually wasn't the case with my sample. My measurements, as well my direct comparison with a 0.6 gain screen I already have, indicate that my sample had a 0.6 gain. And this is important context in part because this is a DLP, which means it has something like a 1000:1 native sequential contrast ratio that is typical for DLP projectors and very much the same as found in other UST projectors using a similar chip.

Hisense CINE100 front
The Hisense L9G comes with a 100-inch ALR screen, which looks dark gray when not in use due to the material's lenticular, light-rejecting structure.

Due to the L9G's higher overall brightness compared with most competing USTs, one could easily, but falsely, think that this projector does not offer as good black levels. But that's not true. As discussed above, it maintains its contrast ratio as its brightness varies based on adjustment. So while it has essentially the same contrast as competing models, when viewed at its intrinsically higher brightness the black levels also appear brighter. Before I tested the screen to determine its actual gain, I had the false belief that the blacks looked overly bright for what I thought was a 0.4 gain, when in fact, I was seeing the black levels of a 0.6 gain screen (which is 50% brighter overall).

As for that extra brightness, which I welcome with open arms in any projector, I'll repeat what I said above: if you prefer a dimmer picture with darker black levels, you can get it to look just like a "lesser" UST projector by simply dialing down the Laser Luminance setting.

Most of the 4K SDR I watched on the L9G consisted of footage that I shot on various 4K cameras, whether a drone, a large sensor mirrorless camera, or a GoPro. What strikes me about this projector's picture quality is how sharp it looks. I've seen it side-by-side with the LG HU85LA and Samsung LSP9T, and the L9G seems to have the best optical system (despite having no focusing mechanism), and it pulls out the fine details of 4K content. And it achieves this using the XPR pixel-shifting rather than being native 4K. When it comes to what your eyes perceive, it's only the result on screen that counts, and this projector reproduces an astonishing amount of detail.

Notably, the L9G is an excellent UST for gaming. It has a considerably lower input lag than I've seen in past UST offerings, and the dedicated Game mode offers a 34.1-millisecond response with 4K/60 Hz signals, the highest I could reliably measure. It is not as fast as a gaming monitor or some of the fastest TVs out there, but it's good enough to feel connected to the game.

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Regular HD Blu-ray remains a great way to enjoy a movie, and the L9G does an outstanding job at it. SDR gets bright enough to look like a properly calibrated TV, with perfect color and great motion. Upscaling looks good; you are getting the most out of Blu-ray when watching on this system. And this is where you get to make that decision about the viewing environment—if you decide to go dark, you'll want to turn down the Laser Luminance level to achieve a more cinematic look, with deeper blacks and highlights that are closer to the 48-nit DCI cinematic standard.

Ultimately, though, the L9G has the sheer horsepower (brightness) needed to be a TV in a bright room and the torque (contrast and color) to look great calibrated and in a darker setting, showing high-quality SDR content. It's a real master of both trades.

HDR Viewing. This Hisense also does an outstanding job translating UHD HDR material mastered for TVs into a compelling projected image. It's cool to see a projector offer an HDR equivalent for essentially all its modes (save for Theater Day and Theater Night in SDR, which has only one corresponding HDR Theater mode).

I do not need "TV-like" picture processing with HDR as it tends to be clean, high-quality UHD content to begin with. As noted, I gravitated to the Filmmaker Mode in HDR, just like I did in SDR. The exception was HDR games, where the Game mode just provided a much better experience.

Just as with SDR, the one tweak I consider mandatory is turning on Active Contrast. To test this, I again used the infamous mountaintop scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 with Voldemort and his army bathed in moonlight, this time using the HDR version. And if you don't have Active Contrast activated, the disappointment is significant. But then you turn the feature on, and it's a "wow" moment as the projector figures out how to render those details.

Hisense Potter
To enjoy the difficult-to-display shadow details in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Active Contrast being on is a must, especially in HDR. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros Pictures)

As with SDR content, with HDR you can still safely turn down the Laser Luminance control if your viewing environment is appropriately dark. You may wonder why you'd want to turn the light output down for HDR, since one of the key hallmarks of HDR is the extremely high peak luminance—often mastered to 1,000 nits or more. The reason is that the limited contrast of DLP projection tends to make HDR effectively behave like SDR anyway, in the sense that it is tonemapped and shown as something close to wide color gamut SDR rather than the true HDR that a TV is able to render. The upshot is what's good for SDR on this projector is also good for HDR, and that includes making sure Active Contrast is turned on, and adjusting Laser Luminance "to taste" depending on the ambient light characteristics of your room. What matters most is the L9G gives you the tools to make these adjustments and get an image out of it that, IMO, sets the standard for triple-laser UST at this time.

With the L9G, there may be a few scenes where you notice the "typical" (meaning not so great) DLP black levels, but they are far and few between. The vast majority the time, black levels look excellent as long as there's some bright objects in the scene that naturally cause your eyes to adjust and perceive the blacks darker.

I had a similar experience with dark scenes, shadows, and contrast while watching the new Dune. During a nighttime desert scene featuring a giant sand worm, the image became almost unwatchable with Filmmaker Mode set at its defaults—indistinct, muddy, and dark. Once again, Active contrast came to the rescue and brought out all manner of shadow details.

Overall, this projector does well with HDR, and it's plenty bright and punchy. But like most HDR projectors today it does struggle with brighter 4,000-nit and 10,000-nit mastered content. Now, there's not much out there that's mastered at 10,000 nits, but 4,000 nits—you'll see that sometimes in UHD Blu-rays. Invariably, there will be a bit of clipping of highlights on the L9G when watching HDR mastered above 1,000 nits, unless you employ a device with more sophisticated external tone mapping, such as a high-end video processor or a few of the higher-end Blu-ray players.

Hisense l9g mainset

Nonetheless, if you feed the L9G most of today's HDR10 material mastered with peaks at or around 1,000 nits (it does not support Dolby Vision), the picture it puts out has incredible color saturation that looks accurate, vivid, and three-dimensional—not at all fake. Sure, some scenes will trip it up, but that's an old discussion with DLP. The vast majority of the time, these projectors put out a home-theater-quality HDR picture that's just different, not explicitly worse, versus how TVs handle HDR. The L9G also plays HLG format HDR, which, while not common now, could have a future in broadcast and cable TV.

It's also critical to note that this projector, like a few others, does not have the usual adjustment for HDR content mid-tone brightness to help match it to different content. With the Active Contrast turned on I didn't find this to be an actual issue with the content I watched, but if you do want the ability to tweak it, doing so through the source is the approach you'll have to take. But it's also worth noting that Hisense has apparently tuned the EOTF for the most faithful reproduction possible of HDR content. (The EOTF, or electro-optical transfer function, is what translates HDR so it can show adequately on a given display.)

Game Viewing. Speaking of HDR calibration at the source, both new video game consoles offer HDR adjustments, so you can set it to taste and the environment. As usual, I leaned on Forza Horizon for impressive graphics, except now that version 5 is out, and I have the Xbox Series X, the result is some of the best home video game graphics I've ever seen from either a PC or console. The colors alone are so dazzling I found myself marveling at their intensity.

It's a hyper-real look that reminds me of a Fast & Furious movie. The projector is rated for 107% Rec.2020 gamut, and I noticed when profiling it with the Calman Color Volume workflow that it goes beyond Rec.2020 gamut with the primary colors, with only yellow serving as a constraint that keeps Rec.2020 coverage right around 100%. Moreover, its triple-laser design retains its brightness even when showing wide color gamut content (most laser-phosphor and lamp light sources lose brightness when trying to reproduce a wider gamut).

Hisense Forza5
Thanks in part to the Hisense L9G's ability to display the full Rec.2020 color space, the hyper-realistic look of Forza 5 was impressive. (Photo Credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Anyhow, there's no faster way to get me to spend $100 than a new top-tier arcade-style driving game, and Forza 5 is it. With the lights dimmed, the driving had the look (if not the feel) of a Hollywood-ideal driving simulation. But even something as simple as Pac-Man looks awesome at colossal size, with popping color and contrast, and high resolution. Bonus points for the low lag that helps you play a bit better and run into fewer ghosts. I can't measure HDR lag, but it feels as fast as SDR.

At least for me, this is the magic combination for satisfying gaming: Huge immersive screen, brilliant colors, great detail, deft motion handling, and of course, low input lag. And the L9G delivered this at a level above all the other UST's I've tried to date. It is the best UST for gaming I've tried so far.

Conclusion

The Hisense L9G is a high achiever, with its extra sharp lens, high brightness, and wide color gamut capability really standing out. For the vast majority of content, it puts out as good a picture as you can expect from a current-generation consumer UST projector, with the one advisory that it needs that Active Contrast feature turned on when in Filmmaker Mode to strut its stuff. And I appreciate the fact that it's an actual TV, with a connection for an antenna.

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The L9G is also a step forward for those who have been waiting for a great UST gaming projector. Compared to the competition, this model has the goods: Auto low latency mode, unprecedented low input lag for a 4K UST DLP, retina-searing wide gamut color (that gets used a lot more in game content than in movies), and even the option to engage Instant Game Response in any picture mode.

What also makes this system stand out is the holistic nature of the package. The screen needs to be part of the UST experience, and the inclusion of a high-quality, easily adjustable screen sets the Hisense apart. The projector is also stylish; the understated rounded chassis is (to my taste) the most attractive of the UST projectors I've seen so far, which is not an irrelevant factor for a device that sits in the front of the room rather than at the rear.

I can highly recommend the Hisense L9G; it is a superior overall performer to the existing, competing triple laser offerings from LG and Samsung, and one of the best premium UST projectors you can buy today.

Measurements

Brightness. The Hisense L9G measured with a maximum of 2,850 ANSI lumens in its brightest Vivid mode, barely under its 3,000-lumen spec and well within the 20% tolerance.

ANSI LUMENS, Maximum Laser Power

Picture Mode ANSI Lumens
Vivid 2,850
Standard 2,109
Energy-Saving 2,736
Game 2,850
Sports 2,850
Theater Day 1,881
Theater Night 1,681
Filmmaker 2,223
HDR Vivid 2,850
HDR Standard 2,195
HDR Energy-Saving 2,821
HDR Game 2,850
HDR Sports 2,850
HDR Theater 1,852
HDR Filmmaker 2,195

Brightness Uniformity: 75%

Fan Noise. This is a very quiet projector; its fan noise is as low as the noise floor in my room (35 dBA) when I have all fans and appliances turned off. It barely registers, but I'd peg it at 37 dB. The reading is from the front of the projector (facing the viewer), taken 1 meter away. You have to put your ear right up against the L9G to hear the fan, even in the brightest mode.

Input Lag. With a Bodnar lag meter, I measured the input lag for 1080p/60p SDR and 4K/60 UHD at 34.1 milliseconds, an excellent result for DLP UST. I was unable to reliably measure input lag for 120 Hz signals.

Connections

Hisense l9g connections
  • HDMI (2 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x HDMI 2.0)
  • Analog audio out (3.5 mm)
  • Optical digital audio out
  • Network: RJ-45
  • USB x 2
  • Mini USB (service only)
  • Bluetooth In
  • Wireless Networking

Calibrated Settings

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.

SDR Settings

Picture Mode: Filmmaker Mode

Contrast: 50

Brightness: 50

Color: 50

Tint: 0

Sharpness: 0

Color Temperature: Low

Active Contrast: Medium

Gamma: BT.1886

Color Temperature: Cool

Laser Luminance: 10

Red Offset: 0
Green Offset: -2
Blue Offset: -14
Red Gain: 0
Green Gain: -1
Blue Gain: -6

HDR Settings

Picture Mode: HDR Filmmaker Mode

Contrast: 50

Brightness: 50

Color: 50

Tint: 0

Sharpness: 0

Color Temperature: Low

Active Contrast: Medium

Gamma: ST2084

Color Temperature: Low

Laser Luminance: 10

Red Offset: 2
Green Offset: -9
Blue Offset: -15
Red Gain: -1
Green Gain: -3
Blue Gain: -10

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Hisense 100L9G-CINE100 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.

 
Comments (7) Post a Comment
Mike Posted Nov 25, 2021 5:45 AM PST
Nice review! Do you have the vertical offset numbers for the 120” size?
Salt Posted Nov 25, 2021 10:57 AM PST
Anything over 30ms is not great input lag. Input lag stops being good after 29ms.
George Posted Nov 25, 2021 6:53 PM PST
Hi Mark, I recall that in some of the forums you've noted that you prefer the Samsung LSP9T over the L9G due to better black levels, however, in this review, the L9G is said to be the superior all around performer. If I'm extrapolating correctly, would I be correct to say that the Sammy renders better blacks, but in terms of overall color, brightness and saturation the Hisense is better? I do also recall maybe the Sammy is better with HDR?
Mark Henninger Posted Nov 25, 2021 7:00 PM PST
Hi George,

What made this review interesting is that not only had I already reviewed the Samsung, I also saw the L9G and LSP9T go head-to-head in the Value Electronics UST shootout.

What I found is that the Hisense is not using dynamic contrast by default in Filmmaker mode, and that could very well be to its detriment in side-by-side comparisons.

I feel the projectors have extremely similar overall performance, for black levels and brightness. But, the Samsung requires more correction to look color accurate, and the lens has more chromatic aberration. So IMO the L9G edges ahead of the Samsung. Ultimately, either projector, once properly tuned, gives a great picture. But Hisense also has the lower lag and and better lens (IMO).
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Nov 26, 2021 9:16 AM PST
Salt, even without being a serious gamer I'd have to agree that under 30ms is probably the target for regular, steady, casual gaming. But I'd challenge all but the most hardcore, competitive gamers to detect the difference between 29ms and 36 ms, and I think it's important to note that we've not seen ANY of the new living room UST projectors hit a lag time this low before now. So it's an excellent gaming solution within this product class, and short of the folks who really need and want the 16ms and lower lag you get with dedicated gaming projectors, it's going to be more than enough.
Peter Posted Nov 27, 2021 10:22 AM PST
Interesting review, almost makes me want to run out an get one. Sounds like a real winner of a projector, and it should be considering it's the most costly of the UST out there right now. How good are its black levels compared to other projectors regardless of whether they're lamp, laser, short-throw or conventional? Similarly, what about contrast? In terms of sheer picture quality, would this be a "better" selection over a comparably priced non-UST (or other UST) projector ? Lastly, the review is for the L9G with its 100" screen... what about the 120" version... is it the same projector with a 5" larger screen or it is a different projector in which case will you be reviewing it? Thanks!
Isaac Posted Nov 29, 2021 6:18 AM PST
Looks amazing, I would buy if there was 3D support. As someone looking for a short throw, low input lag, and 3D capable, projector, there sure aren't many options. I'm probably going to buy a BenQ Tk700STi, but I'm unsure of how the 3D will work, since apparently there's a firmware upgrade required?

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