Highly Recommended Award
Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.
- HDR10 Support
- webOS SmartTV Platform
- Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay2
- Built-in Stereo speakers
- External power supply
- Cluttered and nonbacklit remote
- Fixed Zoom
- IR Receiver placement
- No Netflix or Hulu Apps
The LG PF610P is a portable lifestyle projector that can fill various needs and applications due to its small build and diverse feature set. Whether affixed to a tripod and used in a small classroom type environment, an outdoor backyard setting, bedroom, or in the living room on the coffee table it is capable of providing a large pleasing image up to 120 inches.
The LG PF610P CineBeam is one of LG's newest 2021 editions to their 1080p line of projectors. It fits into LG's portable projector category that allows for various lifestyles and use cases. With this in mind, the PF610 hosts many appealing features such as HDR10 support, built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI ARC, AirPlay2, and streaming services such as Disney+, AppleTV, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. In some ways, the PF borrows in features and styling from LG's HU70LA 4K LED projector that ProjectorCentral reviewed in 2019.
At the time of this review the current MSRP is $849 and the projector was available at online retailers and LG's own website for $769. This which is within range of many 1080p projectors—some of which do not support nearly as many features as the PF610.
The PF610 uses a 4 channel LED (4CH LED) light source in conjunction with DLP imaging technology to enhance contrast, brightness, and color. Along with red, green, and blue LED modules, LG adds an additional "Dynamic Green" module that can change brightness and color tone as needed to punch up the picture. Luckily, even with the PF610 being a DLP projector, I experienced little-to-no rainbows when viewing content, which can be attributed here to its lack of a color wheel. The projector is rated at 1,000 ANSI lumens, which is fairly high for an LED portable, and that doesn't account for the fact that LED light can be perceived as brighter than it measures, a phenomenon discussed in this article.
The PF610 is rated to provide up to 30,000 hours of life for the LED light source. This would equate to using the projector 8 hours a day, every day, for 10 years. That's a nice thing to have in this small, 2.7 x 8.9 x 7.6-inch (HWD), 3.7-pound portable projector.
This projector is very much plug and play. After a very brief setup process you are quickly taken to the home screen where you can begin watching content on any of the built-in streaming apps, or you can download new apps that are not pre-installed.
The PF610 utilizes LG's webOS 5.0 smart platform, which many users may already be familiar with, though it doesn't appear to have been fully tailored here to the device. For example, when going through the initial setup of the projector the OS references using the scroll wheel found on LG's Magic Remotes, but is not on the remote that comes with the PF610. The user interface is also generally a tad slow and not as responsive as I would have liked to see, though unless you're going deep into the menus it's not that bothersome.
The projector comes pre-installed with Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, YouTube and several other notable apps, such as Showtime, Starz, Redbox, and Funimation. Unfortunately, Netflix, HBOmax, or Hulu are not supported on this device despite these being available on other LG displays, and none of them can be found and downloaded from LG's content store. Luckily, with the inclusion of AirPlay2 and MiraCast (screen mirroring for Android), most apps that cannot be installed from the content store can be streamed wirelessly from a mobile device. As with most other lifestyle projectors the exception is Netflix, which typically won't display on devices not certified by the service.
Placement of the PF610 is limited and the size of the projected image is solely dependent on projector position as the PF610 offers only a fixed lens. So there is no optical zoom, and only manual focus is available. Image size will be determined by the distance to the screen. LG lists the PF610 as being capable of throwing a 60-inch diagonal image from 5.2 feet, and a 100-inch diagonal image from 8.7 ft. I found this to be accurate as placement of the PF610 for my review was at 8.6 ft away for a 100-inch diagonal image. LG also lists the throw ratio as 1.195 which I also found to be correct per my testing and installation. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the larger the image, the higher the impact on overall light output. To determine throw distance for your preferred screen size you can utilize the ProjectorCentral LG CineBeam PF610P projection calculator.
The PF610 does not include vertical or horizontal lens shift, so placement does have to be pretty spot on if installation is for a more traditional home theater setup. The PF610 does, however, support 4-corner keystone for a less-than-ideal installation to better align the image. It displays surprisingly little distortion when Auto Keystone is utilized. Manual adjustments are also available for Keystone correction. These may be helpful for a quick temporary setup, but as usual it is recommended to avoid keystone correction to retain the best image quality in a permanent installation.
The PF610 comes equipped with a standard screw mount hole for tripod installation. This can also serve for ceiling mounting with the proper mount. The power supply for the PF610 is an external power brick, however, which may introduce some challenges in the placement or hiding of the brick. This design is the trade off for the small chassis of the PF610.
On the rear of the PF610 you will be greeted with the following connections: one DC IN port for connecting the external power supply; one LAN port that supports 100BaseTX, which means that it will support up to 100 Mbps speeds; two USB 2.0 that support video and photo playback; one optical digital audio output; two HDMI inputs with one (HDMI 2) supporting ARC. One thing to note when utilizing ARC is that Dolby Atmos audio soundtracks being sent back to a processor/AVR or soundbar from the installed apps on the PF610 will be sent as Dolby Digital Plus; the PF610 lacks the more advanced eARC connection required to pass Dolby Atmos. Additionally, a 3.5mm headphone jack is available. As mentioned, Bluetooth is another option that lets you send sound to an outboard speaker system or headphones. The PF610 also has stereo audio built in with two 3-watt speakers (6 watts total). The built-in speaker provides a suitable solution for watching content though it lacks detail at the higher end of the audio range. It isn't a replacement for a dedicated more capable speaker such as a soundbar, Bluetooth speaker, etc., but it does provide enough output and suitable bass for its size.
Lastly, the IR Sensor for the remote is also on the back. This placement may prove problematic for some depending on installation, such as if the projector were located behind the seating position. I would have personally liked to see this positioned on the front of the projector or, better yet, for the remote to utilize Bluetooth.
An additional, notable feature of the PF610 is the support of HDR10 with Dynamic Tone Mapping, which adjusts the image based on the content and does not require the user to ride a control to accommodate brightness differences in HDR programs. Not only is it rare to find a 1080p projector at this price point that supports HDR10, it is also still rare to find DTM generally among all HDR projectors.
Color Modes. The PF610 has nine picture preset modes for SDR and six modes for HDR, which is surprising for a compact projector like this. SDR modes include Vivid, Standard, Cinema, Sports, Game, HDR Effect, Brightest, Expert Bright, and Expert Dark. HDR picture modes are Vivid, Standard, Cinema Home, Cinema, Game, and Brightest. The picture modes that allow for White Balance and/or CMS adjustment also allow for all settings to be copied over to all inputs, which are then applied to each HDMI input as well as the built-in/downloaded apps.
I always start with initial impressions of the out-of-the-box (OOTB) performance to gain a better understanding of the picture modes that are ideally usable without calibration. With the PF610 I felt it more important to do so because it is a portable lifestyle projector where it could possibly be in many different locations and applications over the course of its life.
Starting with reviewing content from the built-in apps, and moving to AirPlay2, then lastly to external devices (Apple TV 4K, Oppo UDP-203 Blu-ray player), I focused in on what would ideally be the brightest picture modes, first working my way through these before identifying the more accurate picture modes. After spending a decent amount of time watching various content in the picture modes pre-calibration it was fairly easy to determine that none of the modes were particularly accurate, and all of them had a bias towards either green or blue within the grayscale, which was easily seen in whites and skin tones. Some of this was due to the default color temperature associated with the picture mode—which may have been selected to optimize brightness over accuracy—as well as just being inherent to the picture mode itself even after switching to a more accurate color temperature.
The likelihood of a user purchasing this projector and getting it calibrated is somewhat slim I would think, so for those users who forego calibration the most accurate picture modes OOTB are as follows: For SDR, opt for Expert Bright, and for a brighter picture, Standard; for HDR, the most accurate would be Cinema (HDR) and for a brighter HDR mode, use Standard (HDR). The users who would possibly calibrate will be happy to know that the PF610 offers full White Balance adjustments with 2-point, 10 point, or 22 point controls, and a full CMS (color management system) for the RGB and CMY color points. This is a surprisingly sophisticated mix of controls for such an inexpensive lifestyle projector. As noted, I ultimately I found Expert Bright provided the best OOTB viewing experience without calibration.
The PF610 does not offer some features that may be found on traditional projectors, such as a dynamic iris, DLP Brilliant Color, or frame interpolation. But even without these features the PF610 did a great job overall. Like a lot of projectors without a dynamic iris, the PF610 would normally have a difficult time resolving shadow detail, however it is also unable to correctly display the 2.4 gamma that's desirable for a dark room. Even when selected in the menu option, the 2.4 gamma setting measures at a sliding 2.2. This means that the lower end of the gamma is actually lower than 2.2. This ultimately helps the projector when it comes to pulling out shadow detail. Motion was also very good, with the PF610 being capable of resolving fairly well some of the toughest test patterns I could throw at it—examples being the "Sarah on a Hammock" clip and the stock tickers from the Spears & Munsil test discs.
Using Calman Ultimate calibration software from Portrait Displays, a Colorimetry Research CR-250 Spectroradiometer, a Colorimetry Research CR-100 Colorimeter, and a Murideo 8K Seven Generator I confirmed Expert Bright and Expert Dark as the two most visually obvious accurate picture modes. The PF610 was placed approximately 8.5 feet away to project a 100-inch 16:9 image on a reference 1.3 gain, 135-inch 2.35:1 Stewart screen. As noted, OOTB picture presets were all inaccurate throughout the entire grayscale with a bias towards blue, with the exception of Brightest, which was heavily biased towards green to assist the projector in making its spec. Color gamut color points for the PF610 were actually pretty good for red, green, and yellow. The accuracy of these colors helped produce very good skin tones. The problem colors were magenta, cyan, and blue. These were able to be corrected somewhat during calibration, though not fully.
Gamma on the PF610 all measured with a slide where, around 20% brightness, the gamma would begin to dip below its target. This is another way of saying that the image in the lower part of the brightness range was brighter than it should be. Available gamma options were 1.9, 2.2, 2.4, and BT.1886. BT.1886 and 2.4 were identical and both tracked mainly at 2.2, while 2.2 tracked 2.0 and so on.
Expert Bright and Expert Dark, when set to use 2.4 gamma (again, measures at 2.2) will look virtually identical. Armed with this information from the measurements I opted to use Expert Bright going forward for all SDR review purposes. During this time, I took the needed measurements of the available HDR picture modes and opted to utilize the Cinema HDR mode for the review and HDR calibration. Expert Bright pre-calibration errors were fairly high, especially within the grayscale, with a max error of 14.1 dE. Color gamut color points fared slightly better with a max error of 7.3 dE. (DeltaE (dE) signifies how accurate a display's grayscale and color points are to accurate, with a dE of under 3—some say under 4—considered indistinguishable from perfect.)
However, the PF610's post calibration result was actually much better than I was expecting. Targeting the production industry standard D65 neutral gray white point, I utilized the 2-point grayscale adjustment as well as the 22-point grayscale adjustments. Afterwards, a full CMS (color management system) calibration for the RGBCMY primaries and secondary colors was performed as well. Note that the multi-point white balance controls weren't as precise as we see on LG's TVs, nor did the CMS adjustments provide the range that was needed to either correct the blue and cyan errors or have any real effect on HDR color brightness (which caused me to skip the CMS calibration for HDR).
Nonetheless, the end result was encouraging. Post calibration for SDR resulted in Expert Bright being calibrated to peak 13.51 fL/46.32 nits in my dark theater room. This light output was actually sufficient for dark room viewing with a projected 100-inch image. The PF610's post-calibrated HDR actually measured roughly the same for peak nits. Fortunately, the post-calibration dE errors vastly improved, with an average 1.4 dE and Max 4.5 dE on ColorChecker, where those higher errors were mainly seen in swatches associated with blue and cyan. (The Calman ColorChecker measures accuracy on a wide range of color swatches corresponding to skin tones, blue sky, etc.) The grayscale had a max error of 3.8 dE at 10% brightness, 2.0 dE at 20% brightness, and 1.3 dE at 100% brightness. All other grayscale points landed under 1 dE. The errors within the grayscale are attributed to luminance errors from the gamma slide, which, again, results in the points being brighter than they should.
1080p/SDR Viewing. The devices I used for reviewing content post calibration were the projector's internal apps, AppleTV, and Oppo UDP-203 Blu-ray player.
To start, I selected TRON: Legacy, specifically, the Lightcycle battle, to see how much impact the errors with blue and cyan would have on this movie. Luckily, the errors were small but enough to see the difference in color between Sam's suit compared to his teammates, as well as the light trail made from the bikes. In the scene where Sam tells his teammate they have to work together and they split off to make the wall the opponent will ultimately slam into, you can see the difference in color between the bikes, suits, and the bike trails from Sam's bike vs. his teammates'. Though it is evident the picture is undersaturated and showing too much luminance, these fine differences were distinguishable, which was good to see.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (via the AppleTV built-in app) has many, many scenes that are dark but feature specular highlights that should pop off the screen, assuming the display device is properly setup. I opted to view the scene where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are running through the courtyard during the battle to reach the boathouse where Snape was.
During this time various spells are being fired off of wands with bright flashes captured by a fairly fast-moving camera. This was one of the only times I saw a very small hint of rainbow artifacts on the fringes of the spell effects; not distracting, but noticeable. After the group made it through the courtyard and they begin to descend the stairs to reach the boathouse the camera pans to bring the boathouse in view. It is here, in the upper right portion of that scene, where you can see the lake with specular highlights from the moonlight that should be visible on the surface. The PF610 was not able to fully resolve all of the specular highlights that should be seen, though it also did not crush shadow details into total darkness and some of the highlights were indeed visible. It was a reasonably good rendering for this inexpensive projector of a challenging scene that can be difficult for many projectors or TVs to reproduce with full detail, even some higher end products. If you're not looking for flaws, you'll find the image pleasing overall.
Similarly, I was fairly surprised that Blade, streamed from HBO Max and sent to the projector via AirPlay2, actually performed very well. The nightclub scene from the opening demonstrated clean whites from the lights and decent shadow detail without much crushing. When the camera passes through a door into the club and everyone is dancing and the lights are flashing, I was able to see just enough without everyone looking like shadows. It would have been nice to resolve a bit more detail in that scene but once the action started, I was able to see everything. The projector lacked enough brightness and contrast to deliver full detail and impact to the fire Blade set before leaving the club, but this scene, with it fast action and constantly flashing lights, generally reproduced very well.
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UHD/HDR Viewing. Despite its compatibility with HDR10 content, the PF610 actually does not support/accept UHD resolution. Unfortunately, when a 3840x2160 resolution is sent to the PF610 it does not down sample the resolution and output at its native 1080p. When the projector sees a 3840x2160 signal it immediately returns an invalid format screen.
The PF610 does, however, support HDR10 formatting on material up to 1080p. So HDR content that may be on AppleTV or another service that gets downconverted before it arrives at the projector, or even from the internal YouTube app, can be displayed and will trigger the HDR picture modes. The projector's HDR is somewhat underwhelming, though. Even the brightest of HDR modes is not much different than the Brightest of SDR pictures modes in terms of peak nit output. Utilizing webOS 5.0 brings with it the ability to enable Dynamic Tone Mapping (DTM), which I found hit or miss in its performance on the PF610. In most cases I left it off, as this actually provided a better and brighter image post calibration.
I watched SEE season 2, episode 1 from my Apple TV 4K for several reasons. During the opening it's all white, with a lot of snow, and I was hoping to see a nice increase in brightness overall. Unfortunately, it just wasn't there. I viewed this scene several times with DTM On and Off and it was actually brighter and more detailed with DTM OFF. This could be seen as the camera panned over the trees to zoom into the troops that were walking the trail. A small amount of judder could also be seen as the camera passed over the trees.
As the camera panned and focused in on the soldiers and Baba Voss, there was a certain amount of detail that was lacking due to the PF610's modest peak brightness. I found that with DTM On it crushed too much shadow detail; turning it Off lifted the entire scene's brightness but the picture lacked the dynamic range to have make any significant impact. The image was sharp overall, though the lack of brightness took away from the detail that I've seen this scene have.
The scene that stood out the most for me while viewing Avengers: Infinity War on UHD Blu-ray was when Thor arrives in Wakanda via the Bifrost. Once the Bifrost makes landfall, Thor's weapon Stormbreaker comes flying out and starts mowing down the Black Order minions. The camera is looking down and is pulled very far back to get a sense of scale of the battle. Normally, in the HDR version, Stormbreaker has a lot of pop as you see the electricity coming from it as it trails across the battleground and hits each enemy. Unfortunately, the pop just wasn't there; this effect just didn't have the same impact as when viewed on a display capable of higher-nit HDR reproduction. The overall color was good in the scene, though. The rainbow-colored Bifrost energy beam that transported Thor looked good, and the green on the battlefield looked good as well. But the lack of luminance really did take away from Thor's thunder.
The PF610 is a compact, diverse projector that can fit many uses cases and applications. Out of the box accuracy could be a little better, and though post-calibration performance was surprisingly good for this type of projector, the relatively low brightness, external power supply, and limited placement flexibility make it less than perfectly suited for a permanent home theater installation.
However, given where and how this projector will likely be used, it's not something you would expect to provide reference image quality, and for the casual viewing it's intended the OOTB accuracy and these other factors shouldn't be an issue. The PF610 is small and transportable, produces a relatively sharp image with reasonably good color, offers internal streaming apps via Wi-Fi and connection to mobile devices via AirPlay2 and Miracast, is quiet, provides Bluetooth support, and has built-in stereo speakers. In short, it offers a lot of value for a reasonable price, and really does a great job at filling the role of a device that you can just pull out and set up in a few moments notice for that big screen night in your living room or backyard.
Brightness. The PF610's brightest picture mode in both SDR and HDR was Brightest while in Minimum Energy Saving. In SDR this picture mode measured 808 ANSI lumens which is 19.2% under its rated 1,000 ANSI Lumens specification and just within the accepted 20% measurement tolerance. Brightest mode in HDR measured 822 ANSI lumens, which is 17.8% under its rated 1,000 ANSI Lumens.
Moving the Energy Saving from Minimum to Medium resulted in a 20% reduction of light output in any picture mode, while Maximum resulted in a 42% reduction in light output.
LG CineBeam PF610P ANSI Lumens
Zoom Lens Light Loss. The PF610P is not equipped with a zoom lens.
Brightness Uniformity. Brightness Uniformity measured 89% for the PF610 with a 100-inch diagonal image. On an imaginary tic-tac-toe grid, the brightest portion of the screen was the center sector, and the dimmest the top left. The difference in brightness on a full white screen was not noticeable in normal viewing.
Fan Noise. LG rates the fan noise for the PF610 at the following dB for the respective modes: Eco 24dB(A), Normal 26dB(A), High Brightness 29dB(A). Using Room EQ Wizard software and a Umik-1 microphone, my theater room ambient noise floor is 33.3 dBA. Measuring the PF610 at approximately 4 feet away from multiple locations (all 4 sides as well as above) the PF610 measured between 33.3 - 38.2 dBA in all Picture modes, both SDR and HDR with the respective Energy Saving Modes from Minimum to Maximum.
- HDMI 2.0b (x2; HDCP 2.2; ARC)
- LAN 100BaseTX
- USB 2.0 (x2; photo and video playback)
- 3.5 mm headphone jack
- TOSLINK Optical digital Output
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.
Picture Mode: Expert Bright Room
Color Temperature: Warm
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Super Resolution: Off
Color Gamut: Auto
Method: 2 Points
Method: 22 Points IRE
Color Management System
Noise Reduction: Off
MPEG Noise Reduction: Off
Smooth Gradation: Low
Black Level: Auto
Picture Mode: Cinema
Color Temperature: Warm
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Dynamic Tone Mapping: Off
Super Resolution: Off
Color Gamut: Auto
Method: 2 Points
Noise Reduction: Off
MPEG Noise Reduction: Off
Smooth Gradation: Low
Black Level: Auto
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our LG CineBeam PF610P projector page.