In recent years flat-panel TVs have been increasing the size of its diagonal progressively, the projectors are still the best options to have dimensions above 70 inches with moderate prices, especially if we opt for a mid-range model.
The problem is found in the traditionally short duration of its lamps, which usually does not exceed 3000 or 4000 hours, a feature that is also evolving with models that incorporate alternative lighting technologies such as lasers. Precisely these last days we have had the opportunity to try one of these new latest generation projectors, the Smart Laser TV HF80JS LG. How have you behaved? Below you have the detailed analysis.
The first thing that strikes the attention of the HF80JS is its compact size and elongated shape that sets it apart quickly from most similar equipment in the market. With dimensions of 108 x 252.3 x 140 mm and two kilos of weight, we have a portable device that we can move easily to install anywhere in the house without problems.
Under its housing, DLP projection technology has been chosen, this time powered by a laser lighting system which offers a useful life of the equipment of up to 20,000 hours (15 years according to the brand), without a doubt the strong point of the model, since we can have it on without worrying about saving time of use as it happens in conventional models.
The laser also allows to reach a relatively high luminous power for such a compact equipment and that according to the specifications exceeds 2000 lumens with a contrast ratio of no less than 150000:1, well above the average of this type of portable projectors, again thanks to laser lighting.
It is capable of projecting image sizes between 30 and 120 inches (reaches 80 inches at distances of 2.46m) with full HD resolution (1920×1080), but incorporates an optical zoom of only 1.1X and without vertical movement (if it counts with two small paws to raise the focus upwards) or horizontal optics, with which we will have to move the projector around the room to try to occupy all the desired screen space.
In terms of connectivity, we find several HDMI inputs compatible with MHL, the power input, 3.5 mm headphone jack output and optical S / PDIF to extract the audio to an external player. It also has several USB ports to play our contents (we will see in the following section what formats it supports), with an integrated sound system of 2×3 watts, Bluetooth connectivity and wireless WiDi / Miracast.
|LG SMART TV LASER PROJECTOR HF80JS|
|TECHNOLOGY||DLP with laser illumination (LD + P / W)|
|RESOLUTION||Full HD (1920×1080)|
|BRIGHTNESS / BRIGHTNESS||2000 Lumens|
|DIAGONAL RECOMMENDED||30 to 120 inches with a throw ratio of 1.4|
|LAMP LIFE||20,000 hours|
|SOUND||3W + 3W Stereo Dolby Surround Audio / DTS HD|
|CONNECTIVITY||Audio minijack 3.5mm, S / PDIF 1 (Optical), 2xUSB, 2xHDMI MHL, WiDi / Miracast|
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||108 x 252.3x 140mm, 2.1 kilos|
The LG HF80JS aims to differentiate itself from the large mass of portable projectors thanks to the incorporation of functionalities similar to those found on a mid-range smart TV. For this the brand has incorporated the WebOS 3.0 operating system and a user experience theoretically similar to what we would find in one of its smart TV, although with nuances.
Although the equipment comes with the label “Smart Laser TV”, it should be noted that it does not have a digital terrestrial television tuner, so we will need to use an external one in case we want to use it to watch DTT contents such as sports. or conventional programming. That said, it is able to offer us access to streaming services like we would have on a TV, allowing direct access via WiFi or Ethernet to YouTube, Netflix and the like through the corresponding application.
There is also a section in the main menu dedicated to the “Screen Share” function, which allows you to share the screen of a smartphone, tablet or compatible PC directly in the projector using WiDi and Miracast wireless protocols, thus facilitating the sending of content without having than connect any cables. However, as you can see in the instruction manual, to get the most out of this function and see contents at 1080p, it is advisable to have a router and devices capable of connecting in the 5 GHz band (with the 2.4 GHz is enough to see content at 720p).
One of the strengths of the team is the direct reproduction of content from USB sources such as external hard drives or memories as well as through the local network using servers and computers connected to the same router, turning the projector into a complete multimedia player and facilitating its installation and use without needing any additional equipment to watch a movie, photos of the holidays or even a multimedia presentation in Power Point.
Supports playback of JPEG, JPG, JPE, PNG and BMP formats, music in MP3, WAV, OGG, WMA containers and files for digital presentations, documents and text in most popular popular formats such as XLS, XLSX, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, TXT, PDF and HWP. But undoubtedly the highlight is the playback of videos directly from the projector, supporting the most common formats present on the Internet, including the popular MKV with videos compressed in H.264 up to 1920 x 1080, profile L4.2 and 40 Mbps or encoded with HEVC also with a maximum of 1920 x 1080, profile L4.1 and 40 Mbps. It also supports audio tracks in Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, AAC, PCM and DTS.
Audio tracks, for what? Well, we have two options, or use the two speakers of 3 watts built into the equipment that as we will see later do not offer an acceptable quality for an average use even if we are not too demanding, or well and this is a point in favor of the projector from LG, we can choose to extract the sound through the optical connector (useful for multichannel tracks) or directly in stereo using a Bluetooth wireless link.
In this last case we can pair the projector with wireless headphones or sound bars and Bluetooth speakers that we already have, improving the installation possibilities and doing without if we wish to use a more complex sound system that requires a wired assembly.
Finally, note that the projector has the function of automatic vertical trapezoidal adjustment that allows to automatically calibrate and correct the distortion of the image when the projector is not perpendicular to the screen, whether we have it hanging on the ceiling or if we are using projection frontal.
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Installation and first tests
After removing it from the box, we proceed to plug the external power supply of generous proportions to the rear socket and place the projector in front of the surface that we will use as a screen. In my case, the first attempt was with a 106-inch roller screen installed in the living room, but I quickly moved to a white wall of about 80 inches and then an 80-inch gray wall (to see if the contrast could be improved). The reason? Well, the available projection distance I had in the living room to use the main screen was either 1.6 meters or 6.5 meters.
In the first case the image obtained was too small to be able to assess it adequately (I estimate that of about 45-50 inches) and in the second it left the margins of the screen (more than 106 inches), so I decided on use a wall as a temporary screen projecting about 3 meters. Is there no way to correct this problem using the optical zoom of the equipment? Well, no, because with only a gain of 1.1X the effect is anecdotal and hardly varies the dimensions of the projected surface.
But let’s continue with the installation process. After turning on the computer the appearance of the first image on the screen is almost immediate, a point in favor of laser technology. However, we must wait for the operating system to load, so this speed at the end is reduced with a waiting time of around 25 seconds.
The first time we turn it on we have to go through a simple configuration process in which we will be asked to indicate to the system the country of residence, the time zone and the type of connection to use (WiFi or Ethernet). In my case, use WiFi, connecting without problems to the first one after entering the network password.
After the loading sequence of WebOS we will see the main menu with the typical options of the operating system with access to the most prominent applications in the lower part, being able to enter the application store to download more. It supports streaming services such as YouTube or Netflix, being able to access directly without having to have another equipment or connected multimedia center.
How is the navigation through the menus? Well, it’s not bad but it could be better. The entry and exit of the applications is not as fast as we would like and the control with the remote control of type “mouse air” is not as fluid as we would like. Surely after a few weeks of use you get used to the handling, but it is somewhat more uncomfortable than in its version for televisions, because if you’re not sitting very focused on the huge screen the cursor does not always where we are indicating (although as already I’m telling you, maybe over time we’ll get used to it and improve the response accuracy of the command).
We can use the web browser, online TV applications, streaming music and even basic games. However, the strong point of the team is the integrated multimedia player, since it allows us to access contents present in the local network or a USB memory directly with the projector.
During the tests he could with all the files I asked for, without any problems, cuts or slowdowns. The reproduction was smooth, being able to change the sound track and subtitles, although I missed a “stop” button on the remote control next to the pause and “play” button, as well as a backlight system on the remote to see what are we doing when the room is dark?
Another interesting point to note is the noise. As soon as I turned on the equipment for the first time, I was surprised by how noisy it was, with a low and high sound that undoubtedly filled the room of about 11 square meters. Later, after a bit of wiggling around the configuration, I discovered the energy saving option that offers several values with different reductions in lamp intensity.
By default it was in full mode hence the noise, but selecting one of the modes the sound is greatly reduced, especially the high frequency part which is the most annoying. However, even in the most economical mode noise can be annoying if we are less than 2 meters from the projector, so it is a factor to consider.
Image and sound quality
The first thing to say about this LG projector is that it is a very bright model, especially if we consider its small size. This quality helps us to use the equipment in lighting conditions that are not completely dark and, in fact, it is appreciated because the representation of blacks is not as deep as we would like.
When the image occupies the whole screen, a better contrast ratio is observed than when we are watching widescreen movies with the traditional black bands, since the residual light emitted by the projector is always visible in the dark and intermediate scenes (not in the diurnal with more luminosity).
We can vary the display mode by choosing from several preset ones such as: Vivid, Standard, Cinema, Sport, Game, Expert (bright room) and Expert (dark room) and within them calibrate the image varying brightness, contrast, color temperature, dye, saturation, etc. In addition, in the two expert modes we can go into more detail by changing the values for each color component (red, green, blue, cyan, yellow and magenta).
That is to say, in spite of being a portable projector we are given the option to vary multiple parameters as it happens in the larger equipment. However, the adjustments that we can make do not improve that residual light that worsens the quality of the blacks, something that we do partially if we opt for a gray screen with negative gain, highly recommended for use with this particular model.
However, once chosen the mode of view that best suits our lighting conditions, the image is bright, with an acceptable contrast (for the type of device we are testing) and vivid colors, although it does not have that cinematic feel and of depth than that offered by dedicated projectors for home theater.
In the aspect of sharpness, it is at the height of other Full HD projectors that I have tried, although the manual focus control from the optic gives the sensation of being in front of a lower range equipment. The plastic is not the best in the market and when we turn the wheel of the approach we do not find almost resistance, being sometimes difficult to find the exact point to leave everything focused. That said, the uniformity of the image and the global focus are very good on the entire surface of the screen, not finding the typical problems of cheaper equipment in which the center is focused and the edges blurred.
As for the sound, are enough internal speakers to have a movie experience? Well, no. Its 3 watts do not give much and it is more an auxiliary sound system for moments in which we do not have another available.
In this sense, it is convenient to use an additional bar or Bluetooth speakers by taking the audio signal through the optical cable or sending it wirelessly provided that we have a home cinema at home.