Highly Recommended Award
Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.
- Wide Rec.2020 color gamut for HDR
- Outstanding built-in audio system
- Tizen-powered web streaming
- Built-in ATSC off-air tuner
- Sleek industrial design
- Requires calibration for accurate image
- Some visible rainbows and laser speckle
- No 3D or Dolby Vision support
Samsung's flagship UST impresses with its RGB laser engine and super-wide color gamut, its robust sound system, and its extensive streaming platform but it requires some work to get it looking its best.
Samsung's LSP9T, also marketed as "The Premiere," is the company's flagship UST projector and a serious piece of tech by any standard. It launched in earnest in the U.S. market in early 2021, and we were recently happy to finally take one in for review. Remarkably, after standing alone upon its release as the industry's first discrete RGB triple laser projector offering color gamut in excess of BT.2020, it remains a top contender today in a now crowded laser TV market. It's a well-built product with more cool features than most USTs can shake a stick at, and a high-end video performer that carries a $6,499 price tag if you don't catch it on a discount. Let's take a long-awaited look.
The LSP9T is one of two models in Samsung's UST line-up. It's rated for 2,800 ANSI lumens, which is less than today's brightest laser TVs in the 3,000 to 4,000 lumen range, but still a respectable amount of firepower for bright environments when mated with the right ambient-light rejecting screen. The step-down sister model, the LSP7T, is priced at $3,499 prior to any discounts, and uses a single laser+phosphor light engine with more limited color gamut. It also offers less light output at 2,200 ANSI lumens, and uses the 0.47-inch XPR 4K DLP chipset vs. the LSP9T's larger 0.66-inch DMD. For those unaware, the larger chip requires only a two-phase pixel-shift to put all 8 million pixels of a UHD video signal on screen, while the smaller chip requires four-phase shifting. The 0.66-inch chip typically only shows up in premium products, and some say it offers a sharper image. A final difference between the projectors is that the LSP7T tops out with a 120-inch diagonal 16:9 picture size, while the more advanced optics on the LSP9T focuses up to 130 inches. However, the most popular and effective ALR screens for USTs are still only commonly available at up to 120 inches. (A custom-made 150-inch version of this lenticular screen type has recently appeared—at a price around $5,000).
The LSP9T's sophisticated RGB laser engine is rated for 20,000 hours of play, which is common to most laser TV projectors but short of the 25,000 hours offered by some, notably the Hisense L9G and PX1-PRO triple laser models that compete with the LSP9T. Any triple-laser design that discretely delivers the red, green, and blue primaries happily eliminates the need for a color wheel common to most projectors with a single imaging chip, which helps deliver all the available light to the screen. However, in the case of the LSP9T, it did not wholly eliminate rainbow artifacts. Even without a wheel, the potential for rainbows is always present in any single-chip projector as the colors must be delivered to the screen sequentially. This leaves room for timing errors, which is why only a three-chip projector can absolutely guarantee immunity to RBE. I'm not particularly sensitive to rainbows, but definitely saw them throughout my audition, mostly when I first fixed my eyes on an image with white credits on a black background, or, for example, the bouncing white-on-black Oppo logo used as a screen-saver on their disc players. But I personally didn't see them often in live content.
Another artifact I came to accept with the LSP9T is a small degree of laser speckle. Laser speckle is most easily described as a super fine layer of grain or noise that sits not in the image, but in a layer that seems to float just above it. You might notice it, for example, in bright areas of the picture when you change your head position, and you'll see it more readily when standing next to the screen. Speckle is caused by the interaction of the coherent laser light with the screen surface texture, and it is mostly an issue for discrete RGB laser projectors—to the point that some commercial cinemas have mechanical systems to vibrate the screen imperceptibly to reduce or eliminate it. Our contributor Mark Henninger has reported seeing at least some degree of speckle in every RGB projector he's reviewed for us.
Along with the projector's engineering, the degree of speckle you see with this or any projector will depend on the screen you're using, though the screen type I used for this review (which I describe below) is now a common ALR solution for USTs with characteristics that don't vary much from brand to brand. Whether laser speckle bothers you will depend in part on your sensitivity to seeing it and whether, once seen, you can easily "look through it." It's more visible in dark-room viewing—again, only on bright portions of the image or highly saturated bright colors like red—and is definitely less noticeable the farther you get from the screen. I sit only about 10 feet from a 100-inch screen in my theater, which is rather close, and could see the speckle from the LSP9T if I chose to look for it, but it ultimately never bothered me in day-to-day viewing and was not a distraction. From longer distances it was harder to detect. But anyone purchasing an RGB laser projector should be aware of the potential.
Of course, something you can celebrate about these RBG laser engines is the ultra-wide color gamut. Most single-laser USTs fall well-short of the DCI-P3 color space used for mastering HDR content today, often barely getting much beyond the more limited Rec.709 color gamut. The LSP9T is not only spec'd to achieve full DCI-P3, allowing you to see the full range of color in most current HDR content, but it's future-proofed for when we'll eventually see content using the full BT.2020 gamut built into the UHD spec. It's rated to achieve 106% BT.2020 and 147% DCI-P3, and my Calman color volume measurements confirmed 108.9% BT.2020, 161.4% DCI-P3, and 240.5% Rec.709. The projector is compatible not only with HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range content, but also HDR10+, which is starting to appear more frequently now in some streamed content, notably on Amazon Prime. HDR10+ is a dynamic tone-mapping scheme that allows the display to adjust HDR brightness levels on a scene-by-scene or frame-by-frame basis, vs. the usual static tone-map metadata provided for an entire program by HDR10. Missing from the LSP9T, however, is support for Dolby Vision HDR, which is appearing now in a couple of more current RGB laser USTs.
The LSP9T and LSP7T feature the same refined industrial design with a white finish, rounded corners and a gray grille cloth wrapping the front. It actually looks pretty sexy sitting out on a credenza, though the shiny cabinet finish is highly reflective—to the point that a ceiling can light in my home theater that sits three feet out from the screen caused a funnel-like reflection off the white surface and onto the screen. It created a touch of sheen on the screen surface that was visible when the projector was off but also in black letterbox bars or dark content while viewing with that light on, so be aware if you have particularly bright lights directly above the projector that you plan to keep active. Even with a UST ALR screen that rejects ceiling light, which you most definitely should invest in, some attention to tempering the nearby lighting is always a good idea.
Physical setup of the projector is accommodated with a pair of adjustable feet up front and a single fixed foot at the back. Having set up a lot of these USTs I much prefer adjustable feet front and rear, but having a fully leveled platform for the projector to begin with goes a long way. Beyond this, there's a choice of 4-point or 15-point geometric correction that can be used to pull the image in to fit the screen, but we always recommend avoiding this both to retain image quality and also assure your image won't go askew if you activate a projector's Game Mode, which sometimes bypasses this processing in favor of lower input lag. In this case, however, the LSP9T supports geometric correction whether its Game Mode is switched on or off, and you will still enjoy reduced input lag even with it active. Along with traditional front-projection table-top positioning, the LSP9T supports table-top rear projection and both front and rear inverted ceiling projection.
The lens on the LSP9T has an unusually short throw ratio among the living room USTs, spec'd at 0.19:1. This is matched only by LG's premium HU915 and earlier HU85 series projectors with the same throw, and surpassed only by Epson's new LS800, whose 0.16:1 lens is the shortest on the market. Other models are typically up around 0.22-0.25:1. Projectors with a shorter throw can sit much closer to the wall to project your preferred image size, which prevents you from having to move the average credenza or TV stand away from the wall. With the LSP9T, the rear of the projector sits 4.5 inches from the screen for a 100-inch image; accounting for the projector's 14.4-inch depth, it puts the front edge about 19 inches from the wall. For a 120-inch screen, these numbers shift to 7.7 and about 22 inches, respectively.
I was pleased to see that the LSP9T's optics produced an exceptionally sharp image across my entire 100-inch screen, even into the top corners, something that can be challenging as the throw ratio gets smaller. The motorized focus on the lens worked very well, and in conjunction with an excellent integrated test pattern, allowed me to get the picture well dialed in. I can't say this was always the case with LG's manual 0.19 lens on the HU915 or HU85.
The user interface and smart streaming platform on the LSP9T are based on the open-source Tizen OS that Samsung has championed and will be familiar to anyone with a late-generation Samsung television. It's a bit similar to LG's webOS interface in providing a horizontal scrolling experience through tiles that allow selection of different streaming apps, menus, input, and other features. The Samsung OS provides quick access to apps, though is less convenient for reaching setup and adjustment menus if the on-screen interface is your only way in, which it was here (more on that later).
Perhaps most critically, Samsung's stature as a major TV maker carries over to the Tizen platform to ensure that all major services are represented with easily navigated apps that support 4K and HDR—which is not the case with most of today's smart projectors. Even with the otherwise capable Android-based Google TV platform several brands are now opting for, certification for Netflix is often the missing link that forces purchase of a third-party streaming device and negates the integrated platform. Samsung's TV Plus streaming selections—more than 200 web-based channels from major and not so major news and entertainment networks—is a nice added plus. The remote's built in mic supports voice search via Alexa, Google Assistant, or Bixby.
The Samsung's rear connection panel is fairly well-equipped with its three HDMI ports, one being eARC compliant for passing Dolby Atmos bitstreams from the projector's streaming apps to an outboard soundbar or system. These are HDMI 2.0b ports that accept up to 4K/60 Hz signals, not the more modern HDMI 2.1 with 4K/120 Hz capabilities for the most up-to-date gaming consoles. But lest anyone jump on Samsung's case, I'll remind you that this is now a two-year old projector and that, in any event, Texas Instruments has still yet to deliver a 4K chipset to the industry that handles anything faster than 60Hz at UHD resolution. So the 4K/120 Hz labeling on the HDMI 2.1 ports in the latest Hisense USTs, for example, is actually misleading since the projectors downconvert these signals to 4K/60 Hz anyway. Nor was the LSP9T ever touted as a gaming projector, though there is a Game Mode that can be turned on manually or set to kick in when it sees your game console at one of the inputs. Even with it active I measured a low of 55.9 milliseconds of input lag with a 4K/60 Hz signal, which is way too slow for more than casual gaming. On another note, you can also rule out 1080p 3D gaming or movie playback with the LSP9T, as this is not supported.
Along with the HDMI inputs there's an RF antenna input that allows reception of off-air digital programming via the built-in ATSC tuner. With so many folks cutting the cord these days, this is a welcome and rare feature that combines well with the projector's excellent streaming platform. You'll also find on the back panel an optical audio output, a USB-A port for feeding content to the built-in media player, an RJ45 LAN port to use in lieu of Wi-Fi, and Samsung's EX-LINK service port. Finally, you can also get pictures and sound into the system wirelessly through Apple AirPlay2 and Android screen mirroring.
Samsung has designed a highly capable sound system for the LSP9T and LSP7T, which share the same cosmetics and cabinetry. They describe it as a 4.2-channel system driven by a total of 40 watts. It utilizes the company's Acoustic Beam technology to help direct sound up and into the room, and it fared well in the 14-projector UST audio face-off I conducted in association with last summer's ProjectorCentral Laser TV Showdown. I'll say more about the sound quality in the Performance section below and provide a link to those face-off results.
Finally, the LSP9T's "Smart remote" is a little white wedge-like wand that's a bit short of 1.5-inches wide and 6.5-inches tall. It's gently curved from top to bottom to better fit your hand. At some level it's an ergonomic masterpiece, designed entirely with the projector's simplicity of operation in mind. It has no backlight, but you don't need it because it's so intuitively laid out and has so few buttons, all of them raised for easy identification in the dark. Along with volume and channel rockers, there's a button to activate the on-board mic, another to bring up a virtual number keypad for channel selection, and another that provides color-coded options applicable to some features. Then there's a play/pause button, a back/return key, and the critical Home button that brings up the Tizen OS for access to things like apps, input selection and the various setup menus.
Along with the simplistic remote, Samsung has the overall system well automated with HDMI-CEC functions that detect the source product identity the first time you plug it in to provide some control from the remote, and to allow the projector to switch inputs when you power up a source. That said, while this design may simplify day-to-day use for the average viewer, it's extremely inconvenient to have to call up the Home screen and press several buttons just to begin navigating to common picture or audio menus, or to drive deep into the menu system to, for example, make a little tweak to the ST2084 HDR brightness trim to accommodate differences in program material. And for professional calibrators or reviewers like myself, the lack of even a single direct access button to the main setup menu goes from being a mere inconvenience to an occupational hazard. I'll say more about this below as well. Furthermore, the long delay waiting for the projector to detect the source each time I plugged in a different device grew wearisome as well. Turning off the HDMI-CEC function did not eliminate this cycle, but Samsung should consider putting a switch in their device management menu to bypass it.
Picture Modes. All of my viewing and measurements for this review were done in my home theater on a 100-inch Elite Aeon CLR ambient light-rejecting screen made strictly for ultra-short throw projectors. This is a lenticular ALR screen, the most common and effective type for mating with UST laser TV projectors. It features a sawtooth construction with angled ridges that have a reflective surface which shoots light from below out to the viewer, while rejecting direct overhead light with an absorbing layer on top of each ridge. The 0.6 gain eats up some luminance from the projector but more than makes up for it with 95% rejection of overhead light and a claimed 100-time boost in contrast. If you want to see the amazing work these lenticular screens do in a brightly lit room, check out our recent video review of Elite's motorized version of this screen here.
For both SDR and HDR content, the LSP9T has the same four picture modes. For each input you can select one of the picture modes and it stays consistent for that input whether you play 1080p SDR or 4K/HDR content. However, SDR and HDR signals retain their own adjusted settings within that mode, and you can further set the menu to apply settings consistently for that source or to all sources. This means you can, for example, use the Standard mode for both your cable box and your Blu-ray player, and have independent settings for 1080p/SDR and 4K/HDR for each. However, if you wanted to use Movie mode for 1080p/SDR with your UHD Blu-ray player but do Standard mode on that device for 4K/HDR discs, you would need to manually switch the picture mode when you move from SDR to HDR. The projector will not automatically switch modes when it sees the HDR flag in the signal.
Dynamic is the brightest mode and, as is typical of most projectors, it has a green bias that helps it make its lumen spec. Some projectors are greener than others, though, and in this case I wouldn't rule out using Dynamic for things like sports and news in a demanding room with bright sunlight streaming in.
Standard mode, the out-of-box default for all inputs, is also very bright and punchy, and suitable for day-to-day viewing in strong room light. But it exhibited unnatural flesh tones that were clearly oversaturated and pink/orange leaning, along with an obviously blue-biased white. This was true whether I watched in the dark or with bright or moderate room light. The bluish color temp is not unexpected for a bright-room picture mode; manufacturers often opt for an icy white to help punch through the light and crisp up the image. The reddish, overcooked skin tones are, unfortunately, also far too common, especially among this new generation of discrete RGB UST laser projectors. Manufacturers seem to think they have an obligation to show off the wide Rec.2020 gamut and go for the wow-factor on reds vs. targeting Rec.709 accuracy for SDR content.
The last two modes, Movie and Filmmaker Mode, were close to identical in their image and measurements, and defaulted to the projector's Warm2 color temperature (what Samsung calls Color Tone). I knew from first look that the overall picture and whites were way too pink to be the industry-standard D65/6,500 Kelvin neutral gray white point, and measurements bore out that it measured well into red at around 5,200K. Warm1 was better but still quite red. This was surprising for Filmmaker Mode in particular, since this is supposed to be the dead-on accurate mode to achieve "creator's intent," with a D65 white point and all color and contrast processing turned off. But the only real difference between these two is that that Filmmaker had the projector's dynamic Contrast Enhancer feature deactivated along with frame interpolation (to avoid introducing soap opera effect).
Even before attempting any calibration, I always play with the default settings by eye on the thinking that not everyone will pop for professional calibration. Sometimes, you can't quite fix things, but after some time messing with the Movie mode I ended up with what I felt was a very satisfying and fairly accurate image on the ALR screen, even if it took some liberties with the projector's super-wide color gamut to add some vibrancy to deep reds where only an RGB laser projector can really go. The end result might be a touch indulgent for a hardcore video purist, but it was highly engaging. You'll find my by-eye adjustments for both SDR and HDR at the end of this review.
The LSP9T comes with a nice mix of picture controls, but as alluded above it is decidedly not calibration-friendly. With the picture adjustments buried five or six clicks into the menu, I counted 20 or so button presses just to enter the White Balance adjustments for tuning grayscale. From there, it's a few more to get to the control you want, and to add insult to injury, the menu system ends up affecting the reading. So you have to try to account for this in your adjustment, then fully exit the menu (with a minimum of two clicks) to properly see and measure the full effect of your tweak. Then...back into the menu system to the tune of 20+ clicks. This routine gets pretty old pretty quickly. And it's even worse when you try to use the Color Management System (CMS) to adjust the color gamut, which is further down in the menu.
My attempt to calibrate the Movie mode for SDR—Rec.709 gamut, D65 color temp, and BT.1886 gamma targets—yielded mixed results. Using Portait Displays Calman calibration software, a Klein K10-A colorimeter profiled against an i1Pro2 photospectrometer, and a Murideo Six-G signal generator, measurements of the out-of-box Movie and Filmmaker modes and confirmed my initial observations with a grayscale that showed a significant deficiency in blue and green and a large excess of red that ran increasingly bigger the brighter the image got. DeltaE errors, which describe how far off the color is from perfect accuracy, were between 11 and 19. These are quite large errors vis-à-vis the D65 standard; calibrators typically target dE's below 3. The color points for the primary red-green-blue and secondary cyan-magenta-yellow colors that define the color space were better, but still off the Rec.709 limits in both picture modes, with dE's running between 5 and 7. The bright spot was that the gamma or EOTF—which describes how well the display tracks the prescribed grayscale brightness as the signal level increases from black—was spot on for a classic 2.2 dark-room gamma, though not accurately tracking the darker BT.1886 gamma described by the menu setting.
Samsung offers both 2-point and 10-point white balance controls. Starting with the Warm 1 Color Tone setting, I was able to get the grayscale in shape fairly easily with the 2-point controls and then tuned it further with the 10-point controls. This brought the dE's down below 2 across the entire grayscale. However, correcting the highly oversaturated color points proved very difficult with the LSP9T's unconventional CMS, which lacks the usual Hue, Saturation, and Brightness (Luminance) controls in favor of dedicated red, green, and blue saturation sliders for each of the primary and secondary colors. I ultimately left them as is, and even with the corrected grayscale and default color points I found the calibrated image exhibited a subtle green bias. It's possible a more gifted and Samsung-experienced calibrator with a lot of time could have corrected this, but I ultimately decided to go back to my very satisfying by-eye calibration.
Calibrating for HDR also proved challenging, but it always is for projectors due to the lack of brightness compared with the flatpanels that HDR is mastered for. The Dynamic and Standard modes were invitingly bright and punchy for HDR but also unacceptably inaccurate on color, with oversaturated reds and blues that leaned heavily toward magenta, and yellows that were too orange. But the Movie mode looked nice out of the box despite its too-red color temperature, and with a few by-eye tweaks it also ended up looking better than my later attempt to calibrate this mode's grayscale and color points. Those by-eye HDR settings are also in the appendix at the end of this review. Of course, what had been oversaturated color points in Rec.709 were much closer to where they needed to be for a Rec.2020 calibration, so the default settings started out looking pretty good with HDR content graded for wide color gamut. I opted to change the Color Tone from the default Warm2 to Cool, which was bluer than what a calibrated D65 would have netted but surprisingly looked very neutral on screen, and the crispness was helpful for putting a little more punch in HDR content.
SDR Viewing. Watching good 1080p/SDR content on the LSP9T was a pleasure. The projector did a very good job scaling the better-quality broadcast channels from my Fios set-top box; football and post-season baseball were punchy and bright even in room light on the ALR screen. Memory colors such as the grass on the fields and the colors on uniforms and helmets from familiar teams rang true. And whites were acceptably neutral. I looked hard for an icy tone in the white T-shirt worn by musician Pete Townshend in a documentary about the making of the The Who's rock opera Tommy, but saw mostly a crisp bright white.
Decent TV broadcasts and good 1080p/SDR movies also exhibited excellent Caucasian and dark skin tones after calibration. The excellent SDR transfer on the sci-fi thriller Oblivion showed superb delineation between the ruddy skin tone of technician Jack Harper (played by Tom Cruise) and the smooth, milky skin of his female parter Vika (Andrea Riseborough), with fantastic detail and sharpness on the faces and equipment close-ups despite the projector's scaling to its native 4K. Skies were vibrantly blue without looking overdone, and the foliage and gray granite rock walls around Jack's mountain hideaway were convincing and natural.
Another of my old standbys, La La Land, also looked great in its SDR version on the Samsung. I have probably studied hundreds of times the incredible palate of saturated colors introduced in the costumes of the many dancers in the opening musical number that takes place on an LA highway ramp. The Samsung got them right. The punchy reds, blues, greens, mustards, and yellows all looked as I've come to expect. The deep reds in particular had a touch of glow that took advantage of the wide color gamut, but not so much that they looked radioactive or painted on. In a later scene, a bright yellow dress worn by Gosling's romantic foil Emma Stone avoided any sort of orange lean as I've seen on many projectors that push yellow too far into red, and an old 1970's era New York City police car parked on a movie lot in another scene offered up the proper azure tone without looking either too blue or pushing into magenta.
HDR Viewing. HDR, with my tuned up out-of-box settings in the Movie mode, looked even better than the tweaked SDR mode and was more of a blast to watch. The HDR version of Oblivion boosted that movie to a whole new level. The battle scene between Jack and the Scavs in the dark ruins of the New York Public Library came alive with bright, fiery explosions and burning remnants, and a long shot of Jack's bubble ship arriving home in the orange glow of a bright sunset delivered some visceral impact from the sun but without blowing out all its detail. Later, a tight close up on Jack's face as he's interrogated in a bright spotlight leaped off the screen with brightness, detail, and convincingly natural skin tone.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was another treat on the Samsung, especially the early battle scene on the gold-gilded planet of Sovereign as the Guardians ward off a giant intergalactic sea monkey that breathes colorful sparkle glitter. A long shot of Sovereign's spherical gold palace drenched in the setting sun and shots of the golden-skinned and clad inhabitants offered up plenty of HDR eye candy, as did the Guardian's arrival on Ego's lush planet with its bursting bubbles of sparkling color floating through the air.
Some of my most challenging dark scene demo material also fared very well on the LSP9T. These scenes are super dark outliers that always require a bit of custom tuning to look their best—for example, the Harry Potter Deatheater scene on a moonlit cliff in Deathly Hallows Part 2, the dark basement scene at the beginning of It, or the dark cabin sequence near the beginning of Bladerunner 2049 when bladerunner K first confronts replicant Sapper Morton. With the usual tweaks they delivered excellent contrast and only minimal haze that typically signals a projector with poor black level. In fact, I was pleased to see how well the Samsung's Contrast Enhancer and ST2084 brightness trim (available with HDR) pushed highlights while retaining a good solid black. I never found myself drawn out of the story because of an obviously elevated black level or a washed out image. On more mixed material, the blacks in the image and letterbox bars were even deeper, the picture looked impressively punchy, and contrast was consistently excellent.
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On the other end of the spectrum I fired up The Meg, one of the toughest HDR movies out there with its 4,000-nit peak brightness and 1,193-nit average brightness. Most HDR projectors will go into overload on this transfer's brightest scenes and look washed out, particularly the outdoor shots on the open, sunny ocean. As with the ultra-dark material, a couple of tweaks on the Contrast Enhancer and HDR trim were necessary to get this title properly set. But then it looked spectacular, with amazingly bright and engaging interior shots, fantastic skin tones, and no significant blowout on the most demanding highlights.
Audio. As I reported in my face-off of sound quality for the 14 projectors that participated in this summer's ProjectorCentral Laser TV Showdown, the LSP9T and its sister projector the LSP7T offer a truly outstanding audio system. It ranked just below the top tier projectors in my survey, but only because it lacked the last bit of dynamic range and bass performance of the top models (which had been mostly engineered by Harman Kardon). But Samsung's system critically gets things right where most USTs go wrong in terms of musical timbre, detail and openness. Dialogue was extremely clear and rendered richly without hollowness. The system plays relatively loud, topping out with 88 dB peaks in our face-off. And the projector in its best sounding Standard audio mode threw a nice tall image that held up to the big screen. Music was surprisingly well rendered for such a small built-in soundbar; horn blasts in the jazz-laden soundtrack of La La Land, for example, had a nice transient edge and decent body, piano notes rang true, and cymbal taps from the drums offered up good detail.
It's too bad that Samsung, like most of the Laser TV brands, failed to build a subwoofer output into these two projectors that would have allowed for some low end and dynamic reinforcement of an otherwise excellent system. I'll keep imploring all the UST makers, at least those who bother to put this kind of real effort into the audio, to please give us a sub-out and eliminate the need for 95% of folks to purchase an outboard system just to properly hear the bass-laden effects in action movies.
Samsung's Premiere LSP9T is now a couple of years old but still plays at the current pinnacle of the UST laser TV market. It was truly cutting edge when it came out—the first of the discrete RGB tri-laser projectors to offer up better than Rec.2020 color gamut, and the first projector with HDR10+ support. However, these days it has a lot of competition in the RGB tri-laser category, some costing much less than the LSP9T's $6,499 ticket, and some offering new advanced features like Dolby Vision support. And while this projector is capable of superb imagery after some expert adjustments, it also doesn't come out of the box with what I would call an acceptably optimized picture in any of its modes. There's also the presence of some speckle and RBE, which may be an issue for some sensitive viewers. All this makes it a tougher sell by today's standards.
That said, the Premiere is truly a premium projector, and once I got the image tuned I was truly blown away with how it looked. On top of that, it is loaded with features and creature comforts that you don't see in most USTs, and offers a beautiful and elegant design. If you're looking for top level HDR image quality and an impressively wide color palate, effective 4K web streaming from all the major services equivalent to any good smart TV, the ability to plug in an off-air antenna, and sound quality as sweet as what you get from a very good standalone soundbar, you won't easily find these elsewhere. Furthermore, compared with the clumsy interface and botched menu systems found on some of the LSP9T's competition, the Tizen OS provides real day-to-day ease-of-use and communicates a sophistication lacked by many of the newer USTs that have flooded the market.
The LSP9T's caveats mentioned above prevent me from declaring it an outright Editor's Choice. But with this level of performance, I can't dismiss it as anything less than very Highly Recommended. The goods are all there, and with some work on the picture, this is a spectacular, feature-laden projector that's hard to beat.
Brightness. Measuring UST projectors with a handheld light meter is always tricky due to the steep angle of light coming at the screen and the need to angle the meter to prevent shadows on the sensor. So our measurements should not be taken as gospel. That said, the LSP9T in its default Dynamic mode measured 2,979 ANSI lumens, or a bit over the 2,800 lumen spec. The overage is well within range of the typical handheld errors, so it's probably reasonable to say that the projector is more or less on spec. The SDR and HDR versions of each mode measured about the same, though the HDR Movie and Filmmaker modes did come up a little brighter than their SDR counterparts. I found no equivalent adjustment within the menu system for the ECO mode found on some other projectors that lowers the laser output. Below are the measurements for each mode.
Samsung LSP9T ANSI Lumens
Input Lag. With the LSP9T set to its default out-of-box Standard mode, and with its Game Mode switch turned on, we measured 55.9 milliseconds input lag with a 4K/60 Hz signal, and the same 55.9 ms with a 1080p/60 signal.
Fan Noise. The LSP9T is an extremely quiet projector. Its fan intake is on the projector's right side as you're facing it and exhaust is on the left. In a room with a 27.4 dBA noise floor, I measured 32.8 dBA of noise facing the exhaust vent from 3 feet away running the projector in its brightest mode. From 6 feet in front of the projector, the measurement fell to 30.2 dBA. At that distance the noise is of a very low pitch and is barely detectable with no audio, and almost totally undetectable with a soundtrack running. Turning on High Altitude mode increased the noise considerably, to 40.3 dbA at 3 feet and 39.2 dBA at six feet. Notably, there wasn't even a hint of the high-pitch coil whine that can be heard from some laser projectors.
- HDMI 2.0b (x3, one with eARC)
- Digital optical out
- RJ45 LAN
- RF antenna
- EX-LINK (service)
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.
As noted in the text, these adjustments were made by eye to obtain an optimum image and did not involve measurement with instrumentation.
|Apply Picture Settings||Current Source|
|Picture Clarity Settings||Custom (Default, Judder -3, Noise Reduction Auto)|
|Film Mode||Default (grayed out)|
|White Balance 2-Point||(All at Defaults)|
|White Balance 10-Point||(All at Defaults)|
|RGB Only Mode||Off|
|Color Space Settings|
|All Others at Defaults|
|Color||20-25 (per taste or content)|
|Apply Picture Settings||Current Source|
|Picture Clarity Settings||Custom (Judder Reduction 3, Noise Reduction Auto)|
|Contrast Enhancer||High (or per taste or content)|
|Film Mode||Default (grayed out)|
|White Balance 2-Point||(All at Defaults)|
|White Balance 10-Point||(All at Defaults)|
|RGB Only Mode||Off|
|Color Space Settings||Custom|
|All Others at Defaults|
Color Tone was taken from Warm 2 to Standard, which ends up being a bit cool but not as blue as the Standard Color Tone looks when in the Standard picture mode. There's a 7-point trim available for the default BT.1886 gamma, which I took to its lowest -3 setting to darken up the shadows a bit, and also set the Shadow Detail setting (Samsung's equivalent of a Brightness control) down from its 0 default to -3, two clicks short of its limit. The dynamic Contrast Enhancer normally defaults to Off, but I put it on its Low setting. This added some needed punch but stopped short of burying the blacks. Even with these changes, skin tones remained too rosy, but backing off the Color control from the default 25 to 19 tamed this while still leaving a bit of glow on highly saturated reds that wasn't strictly natural but retained some juicy impact. I also left the judder control for Picture Clarity, Samsung's control for frame interpolation, in its low default setting of 3. It added a barely noticeable touch of sparkle to the image with film-based content, but not enough soap opera effect to bother my sensibilities.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Samsung Premiere LSP9T projector page.