Elite Screens has three products in this review -- the 1.4 gain DarkStar, the 1.3 gain EPV PolarStar, and the 0.9 gain EPV DarkStar9, the latter two being marketed by their Elite Prime Vision division.
The Elite DarkStar is a formidable competitor. It scored first place honors in the contrast test with both side light and ceiling floods, measuring 22:1 while all other products came in with lower readings. It edged out the SI Black Diamond at 21:1, making it the strongest ALR screen for combating light from above.
In the first contrast test with side illumination only, it did not do quite as well, but it measured a very respectable 27:1 against a maximum of 36:1 and a minimum of 16:1. So overall, it is one of the stronger ALR screens as far as defeating ambient light from multiple directions is concerned.
The DarkStar tied for first place with the Screen Innovations Zero Edge Slate as the brightest screens in the review, although several competing screens were very close. Nevertheless, being one of the brightest of the screens in this group means you may not need to spend extra money for a higher lumen projector to meet your overall image brightness requirements -- assuming it is viewed from very near the zero degree viewing axis.
The DarkStar has a moderate viewing angle of 60 degrees which gives you a bit more latitude in seating than, say, the Seymour. But it does not have the extreme latitude of the DarkStar 9, and once you move away from center axis the picture begins to fade and lose uniformity. So the ideal deployment of this screen is for installations in which most viewing takes place not too far from the center position.
The DarkStar's 20 degree vertical half angle is fairly restrictive although not quite as tight as some. It equals the Black Diamond on this attribute, and care should be taken to position the projector carefully relative to the screen angle and position the audience for optimum results.
In terms of image texture artifacts, the DarkStar show minor to modest texture, typically most visible when the camera is panning. In this regard it is equally competitive with most of the ALR screens including the SI Black Diamond and the Stewart Firehawk.
Bottom line, when ambient light strikes from above, the DarkStar repels it better than any of them and retains a comparatively solid black level. It is the brightest of the eleven when viewed from center position. If you don't need the extremely wide viewing angle of its sister product the DarkStar 9, it should be on your short list to price out. Our guess is that once you price it out in the size and frame configuration you desire, you'll find it is exceptionally competitive.