LG Electronics HF80JA
|Expert Bright Room|
|Expert Dark Room|
Low Lamp Modes. Compared with Minimum Energy Saving mode, the Medium mode is 90% as bright, and the Maximum mode is 79% as bright.
Video Optimized Lumens. Expert (Dark Room) offers the best overall video quality and color accuracy, after some slight adjustments, at a hair under 600 lumens. Based on the usual rule-of-thumb recommendations, that would make it bright enough for a 70" diagonal image in moderate ambient light, but we found it easily bright enough for an 80" image. For larger images or brighter rooms, even the brightest modes--Vivid and Sports--offer quite usable video quality, although the default settings for those modes are a little over sharpened for film.
Presentation Optimized Lumens. For presentations, Vivid mode with default settings delivers eye-catching color for graphics. Adjust sharpening to a lower level and switch the Color Temperature to Cool, and it can handle presentations with photo, video, and film clips nicely as well, while still delivering 884 ANSI lumens.
Zoom Lens Effect. The 1.1x zoom is not enough to curtail light significantly at any setting.
Brightness uniformity. We measured the brightness uniformity at 78%. The variation is enough to see on a solid white screen but not with any image that breaks up the field of view.
Fan noise. The HF80JA's fan noise is remarkably low for this small a projector. Even better, the steady, moderate-pitch sound tends to fade into the background unless you make an effort to listen for it. In a traditional home theater, it could be audible in quiet moments from a few feet away at Minimum Energy Saving mode (rated at 30 dB), and Medium mode (28 dB), but almost inaudible from two feet in Maximum mode (26 dB). In a family room with the typical ambient noise of a house--from ceiling fans overhead to refrigerators running in the background--it is hard to believe anyone would notice the sound in any of the modes.
Input Lag. The measured lag is 67 ms in all modes
Lamp Life. The rating for the laser light engine is 20,000 hours.
Warranty. A 1-year warranty for the projector and light source is included in the price.
Whether you install the HF80JA permanently or carry it from room to room as needed, the 5.5" x 4.3" x 9.9" size and 4.6 pound weight make setup far easier than with a big-screen TV and somewhat easier than with a larger projector. Even better, the 1.1x zoom, automatic vertical keystone correction, and manual four-corner control is enough to let you place the projector in approximately the right position, then adjust the image size and geometry without having to move it again.
The throw distance for a 90" 16:9 image ranges from roughly 9 to 10 feet. You can find the range for the image size you want using the Projection Calculator. The lens offset puts the bottom of the image above the centerline of the lens by about 5% of the image height.
Two USB A connectors let you connect a USB mouse, keyboard, or gamepad as well as show files directly from USB memory.
Sound. The built-in pair of 3W stereo speakers offer sound quality that's easily good enough to be usable at high enough volume to fill a small family room. You can also connect an external sound system to the 3.5mm or optical audio outputs or by Bluetooth. A built-in AV Sync feature lets you adjust for audio delay.
Wireless Connections. In addition to two HDMI ports for input and an RJ-45 for connecting the LG Smart TV to your LAN, the HF80JA offers a number of wireless connection options, including standard Wi-Fi for connection to a network and support for Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast, WiDi, and DLNA for connection to individual devices.
No VGA. Although it won't matter for most people, the lack of a VGA connector means the only way to connect a computer that lacks an HDMI port is wirelessly.
Overly directional remote. The only position I could find to give commands reliably by pointing the remote at the screen is from directly behind the projector. From even a few degrees left or right, commands are more often ignored. I wound up pointing at the projector instead, which can take awhile to get used to.
Slow menu response. Even when the projector responds, it can take a long time. One of the settings menus, for example, never takes less that 5 seconds to open, and sometimes takes longer.
The highly portable LG HF80JA is a rare combination of smart TV and native HD 1080p projection for multi-purpose video display in a variety of settings. You can easily move it from a dark theater room to family room, to back yard, or even the office. It is easily bright enough for a 120" image in a dark room or a 90" image with moderate ambient light; it delivers high quality 1080p images for film and video. Its small size, low weight, and four-corner correction make it easy to set up, and its 20,000-hour laser light engine make it virtually maintenance free. Beyond all that, at $1,349, it is downright inexpensive for a laser projector and easy to recommend.
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