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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