Highly Recommended Award
Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.
With the release of the Viewsonic PJD7822HDL, Viewsonic has added another contender to an already fiercely competitive market. This 1080p home video projector boasts 3,200 lumens, 15,000:1 on/off contrast, and a price of just $789. A 1.3:1 manual zoom lens and three-year warranty make it a great choice for folks shopping for their first projector, as it will give them the big, bright image they crave at a price that's hard to beat. But the PJD7822HDL isn't just another 1080p video projector -- it's also one of the smallest and lightest available, making it great for video on the go.
The PJD7822HDL starts up in Movie mode, immediately giving you the best picture quality the projector is capable of before calibration. At just over 1,000 lumens, Movie mode's factory settings give you a grayscale that's a touch too cool, and highlights that are a touch too bright, but the picture is more than sufficient if you want something quick and easy for movies, games, and television. Contrast and shadow detail are good, while black level is on par with other bright home video projectors. Color in Movie mode shows good saturation, but as expected the projector's brightest image modes sacrifice color accuracy and saturation to gain higher light output. That said, with the variety of image modes available, it's not hard to pick one that suits your needs.
The PJD7822HDL has a manual 1.3:1 zoom lens with a fixed offset, and it will project a 100" diagonal image from as close as 8' 4" from the screen, or as far as 10' 11". This means you can potentially squeeze a 100" diagonal screen into a ten-by-ten bedroom. The fixed offset makes the projector a natural fit for either a ceiling mount or placement on a small table between the seats. A rear shelf mount will be tricky, especially if you want to avoid keystone correction (and you should). The projector's small size and white case mean it will blend into a ceiling, and its light weight is great for travel.
Picture quality. Setting aside all of the projector's various bells and whistles, what it really brings to the table is a great picture. It's bright, detailed, colorful, and three-dimensional, even in the presence of ambient light. So whether you're in the living room or the theater, the PJD7822HDL will deliver a compelling picture.
Bright image. The PJD7822HDL produces a brilliantly bright image, putting out over 3,000 lumens in its brightest mode. That's enough power to overcome ambient light in a living room or family room, so you can use the projector to watch sports or play video games during daylight hours. If you have a darkened theater space, the projector's 1,000 lumens in Movie mode offer better contrast and color balance to display your favorite films.
Placement flexibiilty. A 1.3:1 zoom means you can put a 100" image on your screen at throw distances ranging from just over eight feet to just under eleven feet. That's about as good as it gets for low-cost projectors, several of which only have a 1.1:1 zoom.
Connectivity. With two HDMI 1.4 ports, two VGA ports, and a powered USB port, the PJD7822HDL is prepared for almost any device you'd like to use. And while its HDMI ports do not have MHL, the powered USB port means that you can use most MHL-powered streaming devices anyway - you just can't take advantage of HDMI-CEC to control them.
Full HD 3D. The PJD7822HDL offers full compatibility with the HDMI 1.4 3D specification, so you can use it to watch Blu-ray 3D movies and 3D content from satellite, cable, and broadcast. It uses the DLP Link protocol, making it compatible with a wide variety of inexpensive 3D glasses, though it doesn't come with any. There is no VESA 3D sync port, so DLP Link is your only synchronization option, but that's not unusual for an inexpensive projector.
Light output. The PJD7822HDL claims a maximum output of 3200 ANSI lumens. Our test unit measured 3024 lumens in its brightest mode, which is more or less dead-on. The aptly-named Bright mode sacrifices a lot of contrast and color saturation, but delivers a screaming-bright image for those times when you need every lumen and don't much care about the rest of the picture.
On the other end of the spectrum is Movie, at 1034 lumens. Movie mode has the best color accuracy, saturation, color light output, and contrast of any preset image mode on the PJD7822HDL, so it's the obvious choice for movies, photography, and any other content where color accuracy is important.
Between the two extremes are a variety of modes, filling the gap such that there's always a mode with the light output you're looking for. PC mode (1878 lumens) is a good choice for computer gaming or when using the projector as a computer monitor. Dynamic PC (2357 lumens) and Dynamic Movie (1467 lumens) offer brighter, punchier versions of their namesakes for use in high ambient light conditions. Viewmatch (1728 lumens) offers a compromise between color accuracy and brightness, though it does err on the side of brightness.
With Movie mode producing over 1,000 lumens, some folks are going to need a way to turn down the brightness. Eco lamp mode reduces output by 22%, knocking Movie mode down to 812 lumens. There's also DynamicEco, activated from the remote, which adjusts image brightness according to the content on screen. DynamicEco can reduce light output by up to 70% while also extending lamp life. However, it can sometimes respond more slowly than the content on screen, especially in the case of fast cuts, so some users may not enjoy the effect and prefer to leave it off.
Contrast. In a room with ambient light, the best way to ensure sufficient contrast is to throw a lot of light at the screen. The PJD7822HDL does this quite well in its brighter modes. In the dark, it cleanly reproduces most shadow details, though the factory calibration does result in some crushing of deep grays. DynamicEco can improve on/off contrast, so it's worth trying to see if you like it.
Color. Movie mode offers the best color performance available on this projector. The default grayscale calibration tends slightly towards red in the shadows and blue in the highlights, while green is set too low across the board. That said, the factory settings are close enough to the desired 6500K for home video use, so most users can get by without making any adjustments. Folks who enjoy fine-tuning the image will find the PJD7822HDL's adjustment system familiar and easy to use.
Input lag. In every image mode, the PJD7822HDL measured 33 milliseconds of input lag. That's equal to two frames of video from a source running at 60 frames per second. That's fast enough for most gaming.
Locked presets. All of the projector's preset image modes are locked down, disallowing any adjustment. If you want to make changes, you'll need to use one of the projector's two User modes. These User modes will let you select one of the factory presets as a baseline for your changes, which is a nice touch; fine-tuning the projector is much easier when you can start from Movie mode's already respectable performance rather than a blank slate.
No MHL. HDMI with MHL is becoming a staple feature of inexpensive projectors because it allows them to be used with streaming devices like the Roku Streaming Stick or Google Chromecast. The PJD7822HDL lacks MHL, but has a powered USB port. This means you can still use the devices listed above, but you won't be able to control them using HDMI-CEC. You'll also need to run a separate USB cable to power the device.
Rainbows. Due to a 2x-speed color wheel with RGBCYW segments, folks who see rainbows on slow DLP color wheels will very likely see them on the PJD7822HDL. If you're shopping for your first projector and are considering the PJD7822HDL, try and find a place to demo the projector (or really any DLP projector with a 2x-speed wheel) before you commit to your purchase. Bring your family along, too. Rainbows can be very distracting and can cause headaches in some folks who are highly sensitive to them, and that can suck all of the fun out of your new home theater. You'll want to make sure that the people using the projector will be able to use it comfortably.
Viewsonic PJD7820HDL vs. Optoma HD26
Just looking at their specifications, the Viewsonic PJD7822HDL is incredibly similar to the Optoma HD26. Both are 1080p DLP projectors claiming 3200 lumens. Usually, on-paper comparisons don't tell the whole story. But in this case, what we found were two very similar projectors that were separated more by their features than by their picture quality.
Set up side-by-side, Cinema mode on the HD26 and Movie mode on the PJD7822HDL are nearly identical. From lumen output (1056 vs. 1034) to factory color accuracy, to contrast, the HD26 and PJD7822HDL are neck and neck. Rainbow effects even appeared with similar frequency. On some occasions, the HD26 showed deeper black levels, but other scenes gave the PJD7822HDL the advantage in overall contrast. Declaring one projector "better" would be disingenuous, as this one is really too close to call.
The main difference, then, comes in the projectors' other features. The PJD7822HDL offers a 1.3:1 zoom lens to the HD26's 1.1:1, and can display a given picture size from a shorter throw distance than the Optoma. The Viewsonic projector is significantly smaller and 20% lighter. This makes it an attractive choice for portable use, where screen placement cannot always be planned in advance and the smaller size and lighter weight become advantages rather than just statistics. The PJD7822HDL also has a three-year warranty which includes one year of lamp coverage and one year of express replacement service, while the HD26 only has a one-year warranty.
On the other hand, the PJD7822HDL's weak 2W speaker cannot deliver the volume of the HD26's 10W speaker, giving the HD26 an edge when onboard sound is a requirement. The HD26 has MHL, which the PJD7822HDL lacks (but mostly makes up for thanks to a powered USB port) and a VESA 3D port. The HD26, then, is the choice for 3D buffs who need an inexpensive projector but still want to use infrared or radio-frequency glasses.
It's really a question of intended use. If you need your projector to travel with you, the Viewsonic PJD7822HDL is a better choice. If you intend to install your projector permanently, you can make a decision based on throw distance and room geometry. If you're a fan of 3D or need a loud onboard speaker, the HD26 is the projector for you.
The Viewsonic PJD7822HDL, released this month, enters a crowded market. There are a lot of options for folks who need a 1080p projector under $1,000, and a lot of those options start to blend together after a while. So it is a credit to the projector that it carves out a niche of its own, providing a portable option for home video that doesn't sacrifice picture quality in order to shed pounds.
In last month's 1080p shootout, we had good things to say about the Viewsonic PJD7820HD for many of the same reasons. This month, Viewsonic has released a worthy replacement, and we can enthusiastically grant the PJD7822HDL our Highly Rated award.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our ViewSonic PJD7822HDL projector page.