Hisense PX1-PRO 4K DLP Laser 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
  • Compact chassis compared with other USTs
  • Sharp lens with high uniformity
  • Accurate color and gamma
  • Thorough calibration controls
  • Brighter than specs would indicate
  • eARC HDMI connection
  • No perceptible RBE
Cons
  • Only 2 HDMI ports
  • No 3D
  • Scales 4K/120 Hz signals to 4K/60 Hz
  • Potential for laser speckle
Our Take

At an attractive $3,499 price, the 4K TriChroma PX1-PRO is the first UST from Hisense intended to be sold on its own, without a screen. Its performance makes it worth the wait.

Hisense PX1 PRO top angle

With the PX1-PRO Laser Cinema, Hisense has created a home cinema-centric UST that incorporates motorized focusing. This contrasts with the Hisense Laser TV models sold with a dedicated screen and fixed-focus lens. Focusing allows the PX1-PRO to work with screen sizes ranging from 90 inches to 130 inches.

This RGB triple-laser DLP projector is rated at 2,200 ANSI lumens in its brightest mode, and Hisense specifies the color gamut at 107% of Rec.2020. Although not as bright as the Hisense L9G Laser TV reviewed earlier (upon which this unit is largely based), the PX1-PRO's home theater focus anticipates using it under controlled lighting. Other aspects of image quality come into play, like contrast, color accuracy, and motion handling. But make no mistake, this UST has enough lumens on tap to handle both bright and dark viewing conditions even with the lights turned on.

Features

The PX1-PRO is a high-end RGB triple-laser 4K DLP UST. The ultra-short-throw design makes it suitable for living and family room setups, AV rooms, and home theaters. It's rated at 2,200 ANSI lumens in its brightest mode, notably lower than the 3000-lumen L9G Laser TV UST mentioned above. But like the L9G, this model handles HDR video content (HDR10 or HLG) and covers the full Rec.2020 color gamut, extending beyond the DCI-P3 gamut commonly used these days for HDR mastering.

To achieve 4K resolution, Hisense employs a 0.47-inch DLP chip with XPR fast pixel-shifting, while the tri-laser light engine eliminates the need for the sequential color wheel found in most single-chip DLP projectors. This greatly reduces the possibility of rainbow artifacts in this case (more on that later). The light source has a 25,000-hour lifespan, which is 5,000 hours longer than most competitors' UST laser projectors.

The PX1-PRO is a premium projector with many positive attributes, from the sharp lens to its sophisticated color controls and picture processing options. It is a smart projector with built-in streaming, and despite being called Laser Cinema this projector includes a built-in antenna/cable TV tuner as found in the Hisense Laser TV line.

This UST comes with a voice remote that supports Google Assistant and an Android TV platform that includes a plethora of Google Play apps and built-in Chromecast. However, like most other projectors equipped with this OS, it does not natively support the Netflix app. Casting Netflix from a Chrome browser works as a go around, but if you are a frequent Netflix user, I recommend using a dedicated 4K premium streaming device such as an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV stick, Roku Ultra, NVIDIA shield, or else a UHD Blu-ray player or gaming console.

Hisense PX1 PRO left

The projector's lens has a 0.25:1 fixed throw ratio, which is typical for USTs these days, and with a 100-inch screen, the front of the projector sits about 25 in from the wall. This, combined with its compact dimensions, means it easily fits on a TV stand or credenza without any special accommodation. The PX1-PRO is among the smallest 4K UST projectors I have reviewed.

Hisense provides built-in sound through stereo speakers featuring 30W of power so that you can set it up as a standalone AV system. This is a great option for temporary placement, and the unit is surprisingly portable. The sound is roughly equivalent to a basic standalone soundbar but without the benefit of a wireless subwoofer. This projector includes built-in Dolby Atmos surround processing for an expanded soundfield that offers a greater sense of immersion.

There are six discrete sound modes: Standard, Theater, Sports, Music, Speech, and Late Night. If I had to choose one sound mode to rule them all, it's the Theater mode, with Dolby Atmos processing turned on.

For permanent installations, you'll want to add external sound, so the audio experience matches the grand scope of the visuals. The PX1-PRO supports eARC connection via HDMI, which allows it to send lossless audio and 3D immersive sound to a soundbar or AV processor/receiver. If you are interested in a wireless speaker solution, the PX1-PRO supports WiSA connecting up to 5.1 discrete channels.

You'll find the connection panel on the rear of the unit, which only offers two HDMI ports. At least they are both HDMI 2.1, though you'll tie up one of these with eARC if you are outboarding your audio. Both ports can handle 4K/120Hz signals. While this may sound appealing to gamers looking for a 4K/120 projector to pair with the latest game consoles or a PC, 4K/120 signals are eventually resolved internally down to 4K/60 Hz resulting from limitations of the DLP chip. Hence, the main advantage of the wide bandwidth HDMI connections is support for eARC and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)—the latter being a feature that automatically configures the projector for gaming whenever it sees a console or PC with support for it. Moreover, using a gaming console will only engage ALLM when you are gaming, not when streaming or playing a movie from a disc.

In addition to eARC, this projector provides optical digital and 3.5 mm analog audio outputs. Notably, you can use the analog output to send a signal to a subwoofer while using the built-in speakers because you can choose to use both at once with variable volume. 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. As noted, there's a coaxial connection for cable TV or an antenna. Last but not least, it has an RJ45 network connection for use in lieu of Wi-Fi.

Hisense PX1 PRO lifestyle1

The PX1-PRO's Bluetooth remote is a standard plastic candy bar type with backlit keys and a built-in microphone for voice searches. You can use the built-in mic for accessing Google Assistant to help with content searches or inquire about the weather. Beyond voice, the remote provides intuitive access to the Android TV platform. It includes direct access buttons for some key apps like YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, a Media button to directly access local/network photos, videos, and music, and another dedicated button for the Google Play Store.

I appreciated how the PX1-PRO recognized my Sony Blu-ray player and allowed me to control it with the included remote; no setup was required. Also, I commend the logical structure of the Hisense menu. It avoids extra steps for adjusting picture settings; you can access the menu right from the remote, and Picture is the first setting, so you can press enter on the remote to start tweaking settings. As a bonus, the projector leaves the source on the screen and does not alter it—I checked, measurements are 100% consistent—so you can see the immediate effect of any adjustments. This makes profiling and calibration a lot easier. Plus, the menu response is snappy, making a small but notable difference in the user experience.

Sadly, one feature missing from the Hisense PX1-PRO is support for 1080p 3D. 3D is not dead, and you can still buy current release movies in the format. DLP UST projectors that support 3D do a great job with this misunderstood format, and IMO this unit should have it.

Hisense l9g remote

Since this projector does not ship with a screen, I had to provide my own. In this case, I used the lenticular screen from our Hisense L9G review, which they call their Cinema screen. It is spec'd at 0.4 gain but, per my measurements using Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software and a spectrophotometer-calibrated X-rite colorimeter, I concluded it is a 0.6-gain screen. Anyhow, given that it is the same screen I used with the L9G, subjective impressions are apples-to-apples versus that projector, which is how I noticed a higher than expected brightness before I ever pointed a meter at the screen.

It's subjective, with some viewers being more sensitive than others, but I did not see laser speckle from where I sat, which is about 11 feet from the 100-inch lenticular screen. But, like every other RGB laser UST I have reviewed, it is present, and you can spot it if you look for it. It is mild and I can only see it when I am closer than I'd ever normally sit, at around five or six feet from the screen, but if you like simulating the front row of a movie theater at home, you might spot it. Also, its intensity may vary depending on screen type; it was not at all present with my flat matte white screen, for example.

Before we get into SDR or HDR performance, I'd like to highlight one of the more impressive feats of this projector, which is the level of contrast it achieved in my white-walled living room. Measured using a 3x4 checkerboard pattern (same as you'd use to perform an ANSI contrast measurement) and the lenticular UST screen, I came up with a contrast ratio of 208:1, which ain't bad at all, and perceptually looks like bright white and deep black squares. The result could be higher if my room were not so reflective, and please note, this is not an ANSI contrast measurement.

But, of course, the point of buying the PX1-PRO is that you can use it with the screen of your choice. In case you are wondering, yes, that can include a non-ALR screen, as long as it has what's called Lambertian diffusion, which in essence means a material that fully diffuses any light that hits it, so it looks the same regardless of what angle you view it, and what angle you project light upon it. I have a 1.1-gain Elite CineWhite screen that possesses these characteristics. Still, the catch is my living room has white walls and ceiling, which causes reflections and massively elevated black levels (the checkerboard contrast is more like 50:1 with this screen, instead of 200:1), so in my living room, the UST screen looks much better, although not brighter (1.1 gain is almost twice as bright as 0.6 gain!). If anyone is wondering, in anything but a completely blacked-out home theater setting (black floor, walls, ceiling, and furniture), the ALR UST screen makes a big difference in perceived contrast, even when the lights are out!

However, even in my highly light-reflecting living room setting, I found if I put a black felt panel on the ceiling right above the screen, I could coax a remarkably good image out of the matte white screen. I can easily envision how good it could look in a dedicated home theater setting, where you'd have to deal with reflected light regardless of what type of projector you use. By the very nature of its design, the lenticular UST ALR screen is extremely effective at blocking light coming from above, which is part of the reason it works so well in a dark room, not just a bright room.

This projector features an automatic light sensor, and in Filmmaker Mode, it is turned on by default. I urge you to disable this function as it will only serve to make the picture dimmer, and that's not what we want, even if the lights are out.

You can use this projector in a home theater setting with a non-ALR matte screen, and it's even ceiling mountable to accommodate different setups. Why would you do that? Because it gives you that full DCI-P3 and even Rec.2020 color gamut, plus high brightness and longevity, and a decidedly lower price for a laser-lit unit (and especially RGB laser) compared to dedicated home theater projectors.

Hisense PX1 PRO top

Performance

SDR Picture Modes. While HDR movies and games are great, the truth about projectors is that their relatively limited peak brightness effectively makes them equivalent to the brightness of SDR panel displays. That's not really so terrible—a tremendous amount of content, be it older movies on Blu-ray or broadcast TV, including sports, is still SDR.

The first thing to know is that there are no bad picture modes on this projector. All of them allow for full customization, making this a very flexible projector that can be tuned for a wide variety of content and viewing conditions, ranging from watching live TV in a bright room to catching a blockbuster flick at night with the lights out.

You should also know that this projector is highly configurable and supports advanced calibration, so if you know how to calibrate or decide to hire a pro, the degree of fidelity and accuracy achievable in a custom setup is extremely high. You can optimize it for a home theater setting if that is the goal.

A living room or family room-worthy display must deliver excellent SDR picture quality to fulfill the expectations of somebody seeking an alternative to a big-screen TV. With just 2,200 ANSI lumens, the Hisense PX1-PRO is not rated as the highest brightness UST around, but don't let the spec fool you, because this projector has some surprises.

Before I even measured this projector, I wondered about the rated lumens and my experiences with different UST projectors. The image looks bright, and it certainly did not come across as if this projector had any brightness disadvantage, quite frankly, versus any other UST I've tested, not just the Hisense L9G. For instance, I recently reviewed LG's HU715Q, which pegs its color temperature default for Cinema mode at 7,500K, not 6,500K. It reaps a brightness benefit as a consequence—and so does this Hisense if you tweak its Color Temperature setting from Low (6,500K) to Mid-Low (7,800K), which turned out to be my go-to setting regardless of picture mode. I liked how well it balances high brightness and color accuracy—although I also found the Medium setting looks excellent with the Game mode (it is the default in that mode).

Hisense PX1 PRO lifestyle2

To fully illustrate the direct relationship between brightness and color temperature, consider the Hisense L9G. Its brightest mode, Vivid, is rated at 3,000 ANSI lumens. Still, this mode measures 13,300K and is visibly blue. The PX1-PRO's brightest modes have a native color temp around 8,600K to 8,700K; I measured 2,108 ANSI lumens in Vivid mode, and while it looks a little cool, the colors look balanced and accurate. The Sports and Game modes get just as bright, or even a touch brighter than Vivid does with its default settings.

Also, Standard mode on the PX1-PRO measures at 8,500K and is just a bit less bright, only 3% less at 2,044 ANSI lumens. Before you go thinking that's in any way a low figure, consider the following for perspective: The Hisense L9G's Standard mode has similar color tuning, and I measured it at 2,109 ANSI lumens. The reason you see such parity in brightness is a direct result of both projectors using a lower, more accurate and pleasing color temperature than the L9G's Vivid mode. The point is to compare brightness between the projectors when the color temperature is the same, and the image looks accurate.

So, what might seem like a performance gap between the aforementioned Hisense USTs—based on raw advertised ANSI lumen specifications—is almost non-existent in real-life use. The real difference between the L9G and PX1-PRO's light output is the PX1-PRO dispenses with any notion of being a light canon with an inaccurate picture. Put another way, with any picture setting that I'd ever use, the PX1-PRO is just about as bright as the L9G. Moreover, it is more color accurate out of the box, plus it offers additional control over gamma that the L9G lacks. For anyone whose focus is on picture quality, this Hisense is the best overall performing 4K UST I have ever reviewed, so I feel it's important to explain why it's rated lower than its competitors and how that's actually a good thing!

Another example of how this projector is tuned versus the L9G is the various Theater modes. Theater Day measures 1,500 ANSI lumens on the PX1-PRO, versus 1,881 lumens on the L9G, ostensibly a 20% difference. But with the PX1-PRO, that Theater Day mode is perfectly tuned to 6,500K and has spot-on gamma. With the L9G, you have to tweak the picture modes further to achieve the same degree of accuracy at a further cost in lumens. And besides, the required adjustments may be beyond the skills of a typical UST buyer.

When looking at the L9G review notes, I concluded that if we tune the two USTs to the same overall picture settings, the PX1-PRO and L9G will offer just about identical performance, at least with color temperatures of 9,000K and below. For someone seeking home theater-quality projection right out of the box from a tri-laser 4K UST, this Hisense is carefully tuned to deliver exactly that. Add a dedicated ambient light rejecting screen, consider the extremely sharp lens, and factor in the rich, accurate color, and you see it all benefits SDR playback.

Hisense PX1 PRO front

Along with getting a great image from this Hisense regardless of which picture mode you choose, it is possible to use the provided presets and adjustments to craft a custom image profile that suits your needs—even if you do not have the tools to perform a professional calibration. The controls provided are effective and the image processing is top-notch, qualities that set this projector apart from numerous UST models available from upstart brands that lack similar color controls.

I was particularly impressed with how the PX1-PRO can deliver full brightness in the Game mode and 97% of full brightness in the Standard mode, all while putting a stunningly vibrant and high contrast image up on the screen. It can do all this with ambient light in the room. Indeed, while I sometimes make fun of the marketing imagery used for USTs, which tend to show the projectors operating in a room with giant windows on a sunny day, this projector easily overcame moderate amounts of light in my living room. Mind you, it can't overcome direct sunlight pouring through open windows, but if it's a cloudy day or I draw the shades, it has enough contrast to look like a giant TV, as opposed to a washed-out projected image.

Game mode yielded a 38.1-millisecond input lag in 4K/60 and 36.9 milliseconds in 1080/60, which is decent and low enough that I could race vehicles and play casual action games without any feeling of disconnect. I'm sure for a competitive gamer for whom every millisecond counts, the lag is too much, but for me, at least, the overall gaming experience is fluid with this amount of lag.

The Standard picture mode saw plenty of use in my house because I love watching NBA basketball, and I saw no good reason to mess with the default settings. This is cable TV quality 1080i, so the only relevant question is how well the projector's processing can massage the footage and make it look as presentable as possible.

I think Hisense has found a winning formula for making the picture look clean and punchy, with clearly rendered motion—clear enough to see the exact hand and arm motions when a player drives for the basket. The quality it manages to massage out of decidedly mediocre HD video indicates fine-tuned picture processing, which you'd hope for coming from a company that is a major player in the TV business and from a projector with a built-in TV tuner.

Hisense PX1 PRO lifestyle4

Speaking of the tuner, I hooked up a Philips HD Loop antenna I bought for $10 on Amazon and ran a scan, and I got 80 digital channels out of my effort in my urban Philadelphia location. It's noteworthy how good the main broadcast networks look in HD via broadcast/OTA versus cable or streaming. It may be the same resolution, but the image looks cleaner and even more detailed. That's because broadcast TV is usually delivered with higher bandwidth i.e., less compression versus cable.

Even if you have cable, satellite, or a streaming live TV solution, as long as you have the reception, adding an inexpensive antenna to this projector is a no-brainer, it's perfect for those times when you might watch live sports or other live TV on a major network.

HDR Picture Modes. All that holds true with the PX1-PRO for the SDR picture modes also holds true for HDR picture modes. This projector is highly accurate, highly tunable, and brighter than the raw ANSI lumen specification would indicate.

The PX1-PRO is a viable solution for home theater enthusiasts and handles UHD HDR content well. Remarkably, ultra-short throw projection has quickly become the affordable way to put a 4K, Rec.2020-capable display in your home. And with wide-gamut RGB lasers, you get incredibly intense reds, greens, and blues that you don't see on a TV or typical long-throw home theater projectors.

If you seek a technically accurate HDR viewing experience, the Filmmaker Mode is one way to go, but please remember to turn off the light sensor to enjoy full brightness in this mode. For an added brightness boost, I prefer the slightly cooler Medium-low color temp to the technically correct Low setting and recommend giving it a shot.

Anyhow, Filmmaker Mode has the right mix of settings for making SDR movies look good. And the mode can self-trigger when appropriate content is detected, so setting it up is worthwhile even if you use different picture modes for TV and Gaming. But, with HDR and the PX1-PRO's Filmmaker Mode—as with the L9G—there is a catch to getting the best picture. The general school of thought with Filmmaker Mode is that the mode should disable as much processing as possible, leaving the source as untouched and "true to the creator's intent" as possible. Processes like frame interpolation and color processing that artificially exaggerate colors are disabled. This approach may work well with HDR-capable flat-panel TVs that have considerably more brightness reserves than a projector.

However, UST projectors interpreting HDR without added processing sometimes struggle with rendering the scene and can exhibit poor contrast, which is the opposite of what you expect from HDR. To better match the director's vision, another school of thought considers letting the projector use some of its processing tricks to shape the content into the best possible on-screen image, but possibly at the expense of not always following video calibration orthodoxy.

I did not see any need to use the PX1-PRO's Active Contrast feature with SDR. But with HDR, without Active Contrast—which is disabled by default in Filmmaker Mode—the projector struggles with dark scenes, resulting in washed-out images. And with the PX1-PRO, using Active Contrast did not clip highlights or shadows as I would have expected. A mix of content and test patterns showed no fundamental issues with using Active Contrast to help HDR look its best. I opted for the Medium setting, with Low and High settings also available.

Another admirable quality, which you won't find on the feature list, is the PX1-PRO's apparent immunity to RBE (rainbow effect) which is an artifact associated with single-chip DLP. RBE is caused by the strobing of the light source as it alternates between colors. With single-laser and lamp-based DLP projection, typically a spinning color wheel is used, which is limited in speed and creates the visible RBE effect. An RGB laser, single-chip DLP design dispenses with the color wheel and is able to more rapidly strobe the primary colors, which reduces or eliminates the visibility of the effect.

I am somewhat sensitive to RBE and when it is present I can at least force myself to see it by putting white text over a black background and rapidly darting my eyes around. But with the PX1-PRO I was unable to spot any sign of RBE, no matter how hard I tried. That does not mean someone else won't spot it, but to my eyes RBE is non-existent on this projector.

Finally, there's a feature that's on the cusp of becoming available, which is a forthcoming firmware update that will add Dolby Vision support. This has the potential to positively impact how the projector handles HDR. Dolby Vision's best trick is its ability to adapt HDR source footage to a specific display, to help determine how much tone mapping is needed as well as define the overall brightness of the image so it looks natural. This is a capability that is near ubiquitous in TVs, and can even be found on some phones, but has not been available in projectors thus far. But when it comes to handling HDR mastered to 1,000 nits or higher, it is something that projectors actually need more than TVs! Fortunately, UST projectors paired with dedicated ALR screens of typically 100- or 120-inch size have the predictable behavior needed to make Dolby Vision work. When the update rolls out, we will revisit the PX1-PRO and update this review accordingly.

SDR Viewing. Here is a projector where I don't have to resort to qualifiers when saying I like how it looks, and I don't have to explain what I did to make the picture look right. With SDR video and the right preset picture mode, the PX1-PRO delivers on the promise of UST. It provides robust performance with everything ranging from gaming to daytime sports to lights-out home theater, and you can even use it as a giant PC monitor.

Hisense PX1 PRO right

I like to take two approaches to subjective display evaluation. For pixel-peeping scrutiny, I use the SDR and HDR test clips from the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray; they serve as a standard reference because I use the same disk and the same clips with every TV or projector that I evaluate. But, I also like to view the latest and greatest movies as part of a review, something that I haven't seen before and with amazing production values that will put the projector to the test.

Properly mastered SDR makes life easy for this projector, so I use an Apple TV 4K and force the output to 24P 4K SDR. On the projector, I used the Filmmaker Mode picture mode, with a couple of tweaks: I changed the Color Temperature setting from the default Low (6,500K) to Mid-Low (7,800K), which is admittedly cooler, slightly brighter, but to my eyes, it looks spot-on neutral and color correct. Unwanted processing is turned off by default. This combo gives me a 4K image plus Dolby Atmos when available.

When it comes to any display, my main criteria for success is if I can pick an appropriate picture mode to get through the movie without pausing and meddling with the settings. In other words, as long as my OCD tendencies are not triggered and I'm enjoying the movie—even when focusing intensely on the visuals—then we're all good. It's a very subjective thing, but I'm relying on my tendency to want to have the best possible viewing experience seeing a highly anticipated movie for the first time. If I feel that I am not, I get very agitated.

It is a matter of good luck, or at least fortunate timing that one of the new movies released within the time window of this projector review is Spider-Man: No Way Home. I'm a fan of the movies and have been since the original 2002 film by Sam Raimi. I appreciated how this installment paid homage to all the Spider-Man movies that preceded it, all made possible thanks to the multiverse. The other movie I like that came out in this review window is Scream, the meta-sequel to the 1996 horror classic and a great test for how a projector handles dark scenes.

I watched Spider-Man in UHD via iTunes on the Apple TV 4K with forced 4K/24p SDR and felt the presentation was thoroughly cinematic. Crucially, what I saw did not leave me wishing I'd waited for the UHD Blu-ray. Now, that's not to say that the same movie in HDR doesn't look good; it does—I bought the movie twice, on iTunes and Vudu, which I stream through a Chromecast Ultra. Overall, I thought choosing SDR in the Apple TV was more consistent in putting an image with spot-on brightness and tonality on the screen. This disable HDR trick did not work with my Sony UHD Blu-ray player (UBP-X700); turning off HDR resulted in a dull image with clipping, while viewing in HDR mode looked great. But, with the Apple TV 4K and streaming, forcing SDR can pay off, IMO.

Hisense PX1 PRO spider man
Colors on the Hisense PX1-PRO looked excellent, particularly Spider-Man's red suit in Spider-Man: No Way Home. (Photo Credit: Sony Pictures)

The vast majority of scenes in Spider-Man exhibited sufficient contrast to look perceptually full-range; in other words, blacks look pure black, not gray. There were some dark, low contrast scenes where I could see the grayness of DLP projection, but they were few and far between, and more importantly, these scenes still had more perceived 'pop' than the tone-mapped HDR version. The reason for this is with HDR, sometimes the bright element is a very small part of the scene, but the HDR tone mapping tries to bring it down to avoid clipping and mid-tone contrast is lost in the process. I spotted this issue in the new Dune in a later scene with the giant sandworms at night, where SDR clarity was maintained even with Active Contrast turned off (and with this projector and SDR, it should stay off). By comparison, with HDR, the same scene looks duller and requires using Active Contrast to prevent it from being completely muddy and just about unwatchable.

As a DLP unit, this projector won't create the deep blacks of an expensive dedicated home theater projector. Still, it often makes up for that with its excellent color, high real-life brightness, and frankly impressive intra-scene contrast that often results in a punchy image reminiscent of a giant flat-panel display. When watching sports, animation, TV shows, and brightly lit movie scenes under controlled lighting conditions, the color and contrast of this projector are superlative.

To my eyes, overall, SDR gaming looked better than HDR on my Xbox Series X, at least partly because SDR with video games still uses the wide color gamut capability of the projector. Game mode uses the native color space by default, so you get this incredible eye candy with colors that go all the way out to Rec.2020, and it does not look strange since it's a video game where hyper-real is what's real.

With the way this Hisense handles color, even in pumped-up Game mode, the image on the screen is pure eye candy and achieves this without looking unnatural. Case in point, the skin tone of video game characters—players in NBA2K 22—has a normal amount of saturation. The team colors of the uniforms also avoid the wildly oversaturated look that I've seen come from some other RGB laser projectors. In games with outdoor scenery, the green hues of plants and grass look vibrant but not fluorescent; skies are a rich blue but not to the point of being psychedelic.

And yet, when appropriate, the PX1-PRO leverages the intensity of the triple-laser gamut. For example, the colors on vehicles in games like Grand Theft Auto or Forza Horizon 5 can have that ultra-saturated look of a glossy metallic supercar paint job, which leverages the wide color gamut capability and Rec.2020 coverage of this projector, and does it at its peak output. It is my humble opinion that, to my eyes, in SDR, factoring in screen size, color, contrast, and motion, SDR video games running at 60 Hz have never looked better than how this projector renders them. As much as the term is a cliché, the visceral impact of this projector's image quality in Game Mode was jaw-dropping. The new Grand Theft Auto Online update that adds ray tracing and 4K/60 graphics for Xbox Series X and PS5 delivered a next-generation visual experience in my favorite game, with low enough latency that I can win race upon race, so my mind is blown.

The 4K pixel shift on this DLP projector is extremely effective and even with a 4K Windows PC desktop on screen, the image looks sharp from edge to edge.

HDR Viewing. While I found SDR had a lot going for gaming, PC graphics, and also when using an Apple TV 4K to stream movies, HDR is the way to go when viewing HDR from other sources, including the projector's built-in apps, a Chromecast Ultra, and my Sony UHD Blu-ray machine.

It's desirable to have really good HDR handling in any 4K display since 4K and HDR go together like popcorn and butter. And to my eyes, this projector is carefully tuned. You get a punchy, detailed, colorful, accurate image when you pair it with a UST-specific, lenticular ambient light rejecting screen and dim the lights. Mind you, it's not truly HDR because the mastering is done to a much higher peak luminance than projectors can viably offer, so tone mapping goes a long way. But, what you get here is the capacity to leverage the other great feature of HDR: wide color gamut. With its greater than 100% coverage of both DCI-P3 (the Hollywood standard) and Rec.2020, you'll see every color represented with the full intended intensity. Still, thanks to careful color tuning, it won't look at all exaggerated.

It took a bit of tweaking to find the settings that made me happiest for non-gaming HDR, but the good news is those adjustments are all accessible to any user willing to dive into the menus and require no measurements. I decided to check out the Theater HDR setting, along with a few tweaks to help it out, namely the switch to med-low color temperature and shutting off the automatic light sensor, just like with SDR. But additionally, unlike with SDR, I turn on Active Contrast and set it to Medium. This is my recipe for reliably getting good HDR out of this projector, and your mileage may vary. But hey, to my eyes it pulls off tone-mapped HDR quite well, especially for a projector. I particularly love the dead-on accurate colors, which means nothing looks exaggerated. Still, when the source material calls for it, you get color intensity that is a surprisingly effective substitute for raw brightness. For example, with explosions where brilliant yellows and reds give fire a glow that makes good use of the DCI-P3 gamut. Spider-Man: No Way Home on the PX1-PRO offered a clinic on how to handle projected HDR, with Spider-Man's suit (in its various forms) serving as a focal point because it contains a pure, rich red.

Hisense PX1 PRO lifestyle3

Of course, I had to break out the "Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Voldemort on the Mountaintop" test scene; it's a classic. If you've got bad HDR handling, forget it, the scene is a mess. And if you don't use Active Contrast with Filmmaker mode, that's what happens. But turn on Active Contrast, and the feature comes to the rescue, allowing you to see many layers of detail, even in the deep shadows.

Gaming in HDR is great! Not all of my Xbox Series X games offer HDR, but Forza Horizon 5 is the superstar of HDR as far as I am concerned. It strives for a level of realism that makes the scenery look genuinely three-dimensional as you race through at breakneck speed. If the scenery looks hazy, that's because there's mist in the air! If it looks dull but bright, that's because the desert is parched and dusty. Just wait until you get to the festival and you see that when appropriate, the PX1-PRO will reveal neon colors of banners, logos, fireworks, and of course, other racecars. It does such a good job with the cars you feel like you can reach out and touch them.

The lighting effects in HDR games are the star of the show, and the reason it all works so well is you can calibrate HDR on game machines to your display, so you don't have to deal with 1,000-nit masters or too dark midtones. The console takes care of that during HDR setup and works with the projector, not against it.

Subjectively, the realism I experienced watching a nicely tuned PX1-PRO is transcendental. It's pure escapism. The quality is such that I question if I'd ever again bother with a long-throw projector and ALR screen combo in my living room. And the answer is no, I would not. Now that this level of quality exists in a UST, there's little reason to go with a long-throw outside of a dedicated AV room or home theater space. I would also choose this UST over any TV at a similar cost, and until we see high-quality 100-inch TVs selling for $3,500—if that ever even happens—that will continue to be the case.

Audio. This projector has built-in speakers and sophisticated external audio system capabilities. With built-in speakers, the bass response is modest due to the lack of a subwoofer (although you can add one using the headphone jack). Overall, relative to other USTs, I found it to be better than expected sound, given the unit's small size. The sound quality is nothing that would stop me from adding an external high-fidelity audio system, either based on an AVR or else a premium soundbar, but it's pretty decent for integrated sound.

If you plan to use ARC or eARC to deliver audio to an external system, you'll wind up using one of the two HDMI ports. eARC is the only way you'll get lossless sound—including Dolby Atmos—from the projector to your surround-sound system. At the minimum, you need at least a regular ARC connection to get (compressed) Dolby Atmos sound to the audio rig. If you don't need Dolby Atmos, you can opt to use the optical digital output for an easy connection to a soundbar.

Hisense PX1 PRO lifestyle5

Dolby Atmos is also supported as a virtual effect through the projector's speakers. This take on Atmos should not be mistaken for proper multi-channel Atmos, but it is better than the unprocessed sound from the speakers because it adds a tangible sense of immersion, creating the illusion of a wide and deep soundstage. You'll find the same feature on today's entry-level soundbars, so nothing much to write home about, but suffice to say, the technology does the trick in a pinch. However, adding a sub to the PX1-PRO's built-in speakers using the variable headphones output results in a surprisingly robust audio experience with a minimal added investment—you can find numerous good options on Amazon for under $200.

I tested eARC soundbar support using a Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 soundbar, an all-in-one design offering high fidelity sound with up-firing Atmos drivers. It's a huge upgrade in sonic capability that retains the sleek and minimalist installation and look afforded by this UST. It of course speaks to the capability of the soundbar itself—and it is a premium model— but 3D envelopment from Atmos out of the projector puts you right inside the action and has much more depth and better dynamics than the built-in speakers. Moreover, the soundbar fits perfectly in a space right under the front of the projector, which sits on a monitor stand in my installation to give it a bit of height. It's a super clean look, easy to install, and takes up no extra space.

For the best sound—including the majority of my actual viewing—I used the projector in conjunction with a Denon AVR-X8500H and a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos speaker system. I was able to pass Atmos from the PX1-PRO to the sound system, everything worked as expected. I did not have to sync the audio to the video, but the projector offers the option.

Conclusion

Going into this review, I thought it would be a largely technical review of a less capable little brother of the Hisense L9G. But the proverbial big picture that emerged through observation and measurement is one of a projector that under-promises and over-delivers. If you match the color balance, rather than just compare Vivid modes, the PX1-PRO goes toe-for-toe with USTs featuring higher ANSI lumen ratings—including the 3,000-lumen L9G.

Judged using demo material I've scrutinized many times, I can say with confidence this Hisense does an outstanding job with both SDR and HDR content. As the review progressed, my primary focus shifted to ensuring I properly communicate why this UST's 2,200 ANSI lumens are equivalent to what you get out of projectors with higher lumen ratings.

For a projector in its class, I found the PX1-PRO's SDR performance to be peerless. Meanwhile, as with just about any projector, HDR takes a little fiddling to get just right, but with minor tuning, it too ranks as some of the best picture quality you'll see out of a UST, or for that matter any type of projector anywhere near its price. This projector is the definitive Editor's Choice for anyone who wants a triple-laser UST that prioritizes picture quality. It gets my absolute highest recommendation. I firmly believe it is currently the best UST projector in its price range.

Measurements

All measurements are taken with the laser light source at the brightest setting.

Hisense PX1-PRO ANSI Lumens

Picture Mode ANSI Lumens
Vivid 2,108
Standard 2,044
Energy Saving 2,044
Game 2,130
Sports 2,130
Theater Day 1,533
Theater Night 1,171
Filmmaker Mode 1,789
HDR Vivid 2,066
HDR Standard 2,130
HDR Energy Saving 1,214
HDR Game 2,130
HDR Sport 2,130
HDR Theater 1,618
Filmmaker Mode 1,789

Brightness Uniformity: 84%

Fan Noise: In my room, with a 35 dB noise floor (all appliances and fans turned off), the fan noise is just barely apparent when standing close to the projector, but inaudible from my sofa. My meter ever so slightly fluctuated between 35 and 36 dB when measuring 1 meter away from the front of the projector, so I'd peg the fan noise as being the same as the room, 35 dB. In actual use, it's a total non-issue.

There is a separate coil whine sound that emanates from the projector, it is higher pitched than the fan, not any louder according to my mic, but it is audible as a separate tone, and it goes away momentarily when switching picture modes. Like the fan, it is not audible from my seat and is a non-issue, but if someone sits close to the projector they will pick it up as a discrete sound emanating from the chassis.

Input Lag. I measured 38.1ms lag in 4K/60p mode, which works well for casual gaming and better than average for a DLP-baes 4K UST. In 1080p/60 mode it offers 36.9ms latency.

Connections

Hisense PX1 PRO connections
  • HDMI 2.1 (x2, one with eARC)
  • Optical Audio Out
  • Analog audio out
  • Network (RJ-45)
  • RF Antenna
  • USB (x1 USB 3.0, x1 USB 2.0)
  • Wireless Networking
  • Bluetooth
  • WiSA

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

Image Mode: Filmmaker Mode

I tweaked this setting to increase brightness at the expense of deviating from the textbook 6,500K color temperature and disabled the automatic light sensor. Otherwise, settings are defaults:

Contrast: 50
Brightness: 50
Color: 50
Tint: 0
Sharpness: 0
Color Temperature: Mid-Low
Active Contrast: Off
Gamma: BT1886

HDR

Image Mode: Filmmaker Mode

As with SDR, I tweaked this setting to increase brightness at the expense of deviating from the textbook 6,500K color temperature and disabled the automatic light sensor. I also turned on Dynamic Contrast and set it to Medium. Otherwise, settings are defaults:

Contrast: 50
Brightness: 50
Color: 50
Tint: 0
Sharpness: 0
Color Temperature: Mid-Low
Active Contrast: Medium

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Hisense PX1-PRO 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 (11) Post a Comment
Mike Posted Apr 2, 2022 4:34 AM PST
This is a great review, especially as compared to the L9G, though a black level comparison between the two would have been interesting to read.

With such a glowing review and the five star ratings, what stopped it from getting a Highly Recommended, or even an Editor’s Choice recommendation?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 2, 2022 4:38 AM PST
Nothing at all -- it' an editor's choice, Mike. Apologies, we made an error and forgot to hit the button on the upload. Fixed now.
Tod Posted Apr 2, 2022 11:51 AM PST
The term 1080i is misleading. It does not mean interlaced video. It's a transmission term. Source material acquired at 1080p is broken down into top filed and bottom field. 540 lines per field 60 fields per sec. The two fields are transmitted sequentially, then reassembled into 1080p 30 frames per second at the receiver. (The 2nd field is held in digital memory ). The result is one continuous 1080 progressive frame displayed. In old interlaced TV, the bottom field was 1/30 second behind the top field and thus the time distortion between fields. NTSC interlaced TV is dead except for old 525i tape recorded material that has been converted for digital transmission.
Jose Posted Apr 3, 2022 6:08 AM PST
I had my doubts about this new Hisense projector without a screen and with an adjustable focus. I have seen the very bad black levels of the L9G, and in this review you do not tell us if it is the same or better with the PX1. Another thing I don't like is the projection distance; with a Throw ratio of 0.25, it is much more than that of the LG85 (0.19), HU715 (0.22) or Samgung (0.19), which implies a need for a 24" instead of 16" deep table; for me this parameter is fundamental in an UST projector.
Chueyeng Posted Apr 8, 2022 2:35 AM PST
How would you rate this against the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000. As far as I can see, the Hisense PX1-Pro has better DCI-P3 and BT 2020 coverage with higher brightness, aside from 4k/120 and some slight features, shouldnt this Hisense be a better projector in picture/color quality than the Epson at a lower price?
Brian G Posted Apr 15, 2022 4:44 PM PST
Great review Mark, I totally agree about this being an amazing UST
Kevin Posted Apr 21, 2022 6:24 PM PST
I was really excited with this review, picked up a unit and have to say very disappointed.... you mention no Netflix, but the lack of 4k support in Amazon Prime and Youtube apps also makes the 'smart' features useless for a 4K HDR unit. I also was not able to get the unit to negotiate anything above 30hz for 4k/rec2020/hdr - maybe it's my cables, but I tried a few.. same cables that work fine for 4k/rec2020/hdr on my OLED in the same room.

Can't say anything about the black-level vs OLED, I didn't expect it to be decent but I never got comfortable enough to keep the unit so I only tested it with the screens I have.

Lastly, the misalignment of the lasers doesn't seem to impact the image but it's really bad looking on any white text from the menus.. the red especially stands out a lot.. makes me feel it must be out of alignment and no way to check/adjust that.

Hopefully my experience is a one-off, but decided to share.
Jesus Deleon Posted Apr 22, 2022 12:51 AM PST
What is the power source of this Projector? Can I use it in the Philippines which uses 220 voltage (not 110 like what is used in the U.S.)? Thanks for your reply.
Keith Posted May 10, 2022 9:03 PM PST
Which type of screen would you recommend for a dedicated media room (no windows)? I've read through the screen type description pages, but most seem to focus on dealing with ambient light. I like this PJ for it's value position in the market and would like decent viewing angles. Should I go for an ALR or just paint the walls dark and get a white, light grey or dark grey diffuse/matte screen?

Thanks for your input!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 11, 2022 8:50 AM PST
Keith, for a UST projector, a lenticular UST screen is highly recommended and will provide best contrast/black level performance even in a dark room. You will always sacrifice some peak brightness with one of these screens, though you can go for a 0.8 gain vs the more common 0.6 if you don't mind giving up a bit of black level for slightly brighter output. But the lenticular sawtooth construction not only rejects any overhead light but largely eliminates any light spill onto the wall and ceiling above the screen that you can get with a UST being projected onto a common white or gray matte screen.
Eric Posted May 14, 2022 2:10 PM PST
For the Hisense PX-1 Pro, it sound like you are recommending folks to get a UST screen, for the best performance. That being said, I remember in the XGMI Aura 4k laser review that you mentioned that this would be the one UST projector that would be "ok" to project on a wall (no screen). Just curious, why is the XGMI Aura acceptable to use with plain walls, versus the Hisense. Appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

Post a comment

 
Enter the numbers as they appear to the left