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LG PF85U versus BenQ W1070

Bill Livolsi, April 25, 2014
Review Contents

LEDs versus lamps

Using light-emitting diodes instead of a traditional lamp gives the PF85U some advantages. LEDs power on almost instantly, and the projector comes to full brightness right away. Turning the projector on and off rapidly does not damage the lifespan of the LEDs as it does with traditional lamps.

Cost has always been the major selling point for LED-based projectors. Under optimal conditions, the PF85U is less expensive than the W1070 over its lifetime. But conditions are rarely optimal.

The PF85U's LED light source has an estimated life of 30,000 hours. That works out to six hours of use per day, every day, for almost fourteen years. The W1070 has a lamp that is rated at 3,500 to 6,000 hours depending on use. If there was ever any circumstance under which you would use the same projector for 30,000 hours, to match the life of the PF85U you'd have to purchase between four and eight replacement lamps at $249 per lamp -- this far exceeds the $400 price difference between the PF85U and W1070.

The W1070's rated power consumption is 353W, while the PF85U is rated at 160W. The W1070 draws more than twice as much power, so it costs twice as much to operate. It also produces more heat, so you'll end up using still more electricity to cool your viewing room in compensation.

But the numbers don't tell the whole story. For starters, it is unlikely that you will use the same projector for the next fourteen years. And at current prices, you'd have to purchase two replacement lamps for the W1070 before the PF85U is less expensive overall.

Secondly, there's no guarantee that the LEDs in the PF85U will actually last for 30,000 hours. Projector lamps occasionally fail early. It's no wonder, then, that people are eager to adopt a lamp-free alternative. But if arc lamps fail before their rated lifespan is reached, why think that LEDs will be any different? LEDs are certainly less fragile than arc lamps, but they are still susceptible to heat degradation, and projectors get hot. It is foolish to scoff at one specification while blindly trusting another. LED-based projectors have not been around long enough for anyone to know how they will endure over the years.

Third, If the LEDs fail, you can't replace them -- they are not a user-serviceable part. When the light source fails, you have to replace the whole projector. The PF85U does include a two-year warranty, but using our earlier six-hours-per-day figure, that only gets us to about 4400 hours.

So under what conditions is the PF85U a better value than the W1070? If you plan to use your projector in a light-controlled room, and you do not plan to use a screen larger than 100" diagonal, and you know you will use your projector for more than 18,000 hours, then the PF85U is a better deal. Otherwise, you should stick with the W1070.

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Comments (7) Post a Comment
Mei Posted Apr 29, 2014 5:56 PM PST
this LG Projector is not even close to W1070 BenQ Projector at all, base on quality,light output and the features, not sure why PC make this comparison. The only benefit of this LG Projector is the LED lamp feature life time, nothing else. which after 5 lamp burn out, I can buy another 1080P PJ at lower cost, why need LED ??
PawelK Posted Apr 30, 2014 11:16 AM PST
Any difference in audible noise? Does "less heat generation" mean less fan noise in real life?
AV_Integrated Posted May 2, 2014 12:13 PM PST
Thanks so much for the comparison. The discussions of LED projectors is starting to get ridiculous. For some reason people are convinced that the LED models are just a clear cut replacement to the traditional lamp models, even though this is the only full 1080p model out there at a 'reasonable' price point. I think when these hit real lumen ratings of 700+ and can fill a 120" screen, and have basics such as zoom functionality, things may be much different, but not yet.

I'm also interested in what the fan noise was like on these models. That's always been a complaint of mine with the Casio models. The fans were so small that they made a higher pitched noise in the LED models compared to the lamp based models. Would love to hear how the fans sound in one projector vs. the other.
chris Posted May 5, 2014 1:25 PM PST
I have a few questions: 1. Did LG remove the VGA input that is common to billions of computers? 2. If they did then did LG quiet the highest light output fan noise since this would not be primarily a portable device for say laptops? 3. Is Wifi enabled by default? 4. Can wifi be totally defeated? 5. Can you suggest to LG that if they decide to introduce a 3d version that the offer a synch port that allows two projectors to double light output? Thanks for the comparison.
Andonios Posted Jan 19, 2015 9:48 PM PST
Something else nobody has mentioned is that LED projectors don't have mechanical spinning wheels as Bulb DLP projectors do because the LED's blink electronically and eliminate the need for the mechanical color wheel altogether. So what that means is an LED projector is mostly a solid state digital product, the LED's are diodes and so eliminating all mechanical parts should extend the life of the projector also, no moving parts to break.

A bulb projector might not last mechanically to make it 4 bulb changes.

Also by eliminating the spinning color wheel from the equation the chances of anyone seeing the dreaded rainbow effect is lessened even to the 5 % that are sensitive to it. I think this is important and something not mentioned here as a factor to consider.
Bill Livolsi Posted Jan 20, 2015 11:03 AM PST
Andonios - In our experience, the lack of a color wheel has very little effect on the appearance of RBE. LED-driven DLP projectors still use sequential color, so rainbows are still very much an issue.
bhargav Posted May 20, 2015 10:23 PM PST
I bought unic uc40 which is an LED projector. 1080p. and the only thing I was afraid is that, there is meagre ventillation. can this effect my projector? there is only 1 feet gap from projevtor fan.

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