Review: ViewSonic Pro9000 Hybrid Laser Projector

Our score: 3/5
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December 3, 2012 9:05 AM
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Published: December 3, 2012 9:01 AM
By Pierre-Jean Alzieu
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
The ViewSonic Pro9000 is a hybird "lamp-free" Full HD LED laser hybrid projector. This technology promises all the advantages of standard DLP but without any of the drawbacks—in other words, the rainbow effect has been greatly reduced. The Texas Instruments DarkChip 3 processor and 1080p Full HD resolution prep this projector for use in a home cinema set-up. According to its tech specs, the Pro9000 promises 1600-lumen brightness for a contrast ratio of 100,000:1—we'll definitely be double-checking that, as it looks suspiciously high. However, it's a bit of a shame that ViewSonic hasn't loaded this projector with a motion-compensation or frame interpolation system to keep things smooth, or with 3D support.

Hardware & Handling3/5


Viewsonic Pro9000 projector review - hardware and design

The Pro9000 handles like most standard DLP projectors. There's no sign of a lens-shift function but you can adjust the zoom and focus.

Viewsonic Pro9000 projector review - connections

There are plenty of connections here, with two HDMI ports, as well as VGA, S-video and composite sockets. There's a 3.5 mm jack for audio out and an RS-232 computer input connector.

Viewsonic Pro9000 projector review - remote control

It's good to see that the remote is backlit, which is always handy when watching films with the lights down low. Plus, it's relatively elongated design makes room for plenty of shortcut buttons.

2D Image Quality3/5



Below you'll find two different contrast readings. Contrast is measured as the ratio between the brightness of the white and the brightness of the black in a given picture. To measure the contrast, we use two different test cards: one that's 35% white and another that's 1% white. The 35% white card tests the projector's ability to isolate a small black zone within a bright, white image, even though this kind of picture isn't often seen in films or TV shows. The 1% white test card tests the projector's ability to handle a large area of darkness—that's something you're more likely to see in moves and it's more noticeable to the naked eye.

Viewsonic Pro9000 projector review - contrast
With 35% white test card in "Theater" mode: contrast measured at 690:1.

Viewsonic Pro9000 projector review - contrast
With 1% white test card in "Theater" mode: contrast measured at 1000:1.

With the default settings, we noticed some speckling video noise in the blacks. Switching to ECO mode gets rid of this while also improving the depth of black.

All in all, this projector does a pretty decent job. As with other projectors, the depth of black varies in relation to the amount of white in the image, but the overall result is above average. With our 1% white test card we measured the contrast at just over 1000:1. With the 35% white test card we measured it at 690:1. Those results beat most of the other DLP projectors we've tested to date. Certain LCD models still do better (e.g. Sony HW30) but they're also more expensive.

Note that the difference in contrast we measured with our two test cards won't be noticeable to the naked eye, as a black zone like in our 35% white test card will be surrounded by other brighter colours, effectively "tricking" the eyes into seeing a darker black.

Viewsonic Pro9000 projector review - colours
Colour fidelity in Theater mode: average Delta E = 7.9

This projector's main weakness is colour calibration. ViewSonic just doesn't seem to have taken the time to get the very best out of its device, which is a shame. As a result, the colours are somewhat insipid. We measured the average Delta E at 7.9, when this should be under 3 for colours to be considered accurate.

Bright parts of the picture are handled well. The grayscale is reproduced effectively without overexposing lighter shades or blocking up darker tones. However, there's a slight blue overtone (we measured the colour temperature at 8200 K rather than the ideal value of 6500 K).

Plus, anyone looking for super-smooth, seamlessly fluid images will be disappointed to see that there's no motion-compensation function here. Sweeping shots in films or fast-action scenes can therefore be prone to some judder.

The good news is that rainbow effects are much less of a problem here than with standard DLP projectors. We're usually quite sensitive to rainbow effects so we notice them straight away. Here, though, we didn't spot any.

Noise & Energy Consumption5/5



The Pro9000 does a great job in this field. When switched on and running at a brightness of around 280 cd/m², we measured the power use at a fairly consistent 98 watts. On standby, power use drops under 1 watt. This projector is also very quiet—we picked up just 33 dB with out sound-meter placed 1 m from the Pro9000.
3/5 ViewSonic PRO9000 DigitalVersus 2012-12-03 10:01:00

Pros

  • Good contrast, deep black
  • Backlit remote with plenty of shortcuts
  • Low power use: 98 W
  • Quiet: 33 dB

Cons

  • Colour fidelity could be better: average Delta E = 7
  • No motion-compensation or interpolation system

Conclusion

This new type of hybrid laser technology is certainly promising. The ViewSonic Pro9000 offers decent picture quality (high contrast, good sharpness), with low power use and noise levels. It's just a shame that ViewSonic didn't pay more attention to colour fidelity.

OUR SCORE 3/5
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