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Review: LG HU80KSW Ultra HD laser projector

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The LG HU80KSW projector has many attractive features. Ultra HD, HDR, laser light source and WebOS 3.5 on board. That would be interesting enough, but it is also in a very unusual chassis. Is that tower purely a lifestyle object or does it also have a specific function?

LG HU80KSW – specifications

  • What: Ultra HD DLP projector
  • Setup: 3,840 x 2,160 (1,920 x 1,080 with pixel shifting), light output 2,500 ANSI lumens, dynamic contrast 150,000: 1, projection ratio 1.30 – 1.57 (100 inch diagonal at 2.9 – 3.5 m), sound level 30/25 dB (standard, eco-code)
  • Connections: 2x HDMI (2.0), 2x USB (media player, MS office player), 1x optical digital out, 1x stereo minijack out, 1x ethernet
  • Lamp life: up to 20,000 hours
  • Extras: HDR10, 2x 7 Watt speakers, WiFi, WebOS 3.5, DLNA, media player, screen mirroring
  • Dimensions: 165 x 165 x 470 mm
  • Weight: 6.7 kg
  • Recommended price: 2,499 euros

LG HU80KSW – design

Projectors often have a simple and mainly functional design. The LG is already an outsider in that respect. The small tower is almost half a meter high. It is available in white or in black.

A large silver-colored handle makes it a breeze to move the projector. The wall is perforated on one side for ventilation. The lid folds up and contains a mirror, which suggests that it is intended for upright use. But as we shall see, the design does have more options. No matter how you use it, it is a beautiful, elegant appearance.

Connections

The projector is equipped with two HDMI connections, both ready for Ultra HD HDR. One of the HDMI connections (with ARC) is on the side, together with the headphone output and a USB connection. The second HDMI connection, a second USB connection, the optical digital output and a wired network connection are located in a recess at the bottom and facing the rear. The projector is also equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth for a wireless headphone or Bluetooth speaker.

The power cable is permanently connected to the device and rolls up at the push of a button, just like with many vacuum cleaners. This makes it really super easy to move, you always have everything at hand.

LG HU80KSW – Placement

The unique design may suggest that this is an Ultra Short Throw projector, but that is not the case. The LG has a projection ratio of 1.3 – 1.57 (zoom 1.2x) and that is perfectly in line with most other projectors. In other words, a 100 inch image requires a projection distance of 3 to 3.5 m. The lens offset is 100%, the bottom of the image appears just above the lens. You can control focus and zoom manually with two handy turning wheels on the side.

Ok, time to highlight the unique possibilities of this projector. The most obvious is upright, and with the use of the mirror you project the image onto the screen. You can move the mirror to a limited extent to project the image higher. The projector takes up little space in this way, and can stand on the floor in front of the seat. The keystone correction automatically corrects the trapezoidal distortion caused by the mirror, but you can also adjust it manually.

A second option is to use the projector flat. You screw the four included feet into the projector and then it can lie flat on the coffee table. You flip the mirror away. As a third option you can also mount the projector, you then use the mounting holes of the feet for the bracket. A fourth option is … project on the ceiling! Let the projector stand upright, fold away the mirror, and voila: image on the ceiling.

We are pleasantly surprised by the fan noise. In eco-mode that is absolutely not disturbing, and you can even sit close to the projector. But at full power the noise is not too bad and only surpasses the soundtrack in silent fragments and dialogues. Also in the dynamic lamp mode (which you choose to activate Dynamic Black), the noise largely falls back to the level of the eco-mode.

LG HU80KSW – Ease of use

Menus

The LG projector uses WebOS 3.5, and that means that you can count on all the ease of use that this smart TV system offers. You can quickly adjust the number of settings via the QuickMenu.

The image settings are very complete, just like on the LG TVs. There is a full color management system on board, and 2-point and 20-point gray scale adjustment. Starting up the menus takes a few seconds, but as soon as they appear on the screen there are no further delays.

Remote control

The remote control looks very familiar to those who own an LG television. Apart from a few minor changes, this is a standard Magic Remote. You can easily control the pointer on the screen by moving the remote. That principle is very useful within WebOS, but sometimes requires some getting used to. Those who wish can also operate the entire interface without using the pointer.

There are no more specific buttons for Netflix or Google Movies, which have been replaced by buttons for quick selection of the image mode and aspect ratio. The remote is unfortunately not illuminated.

LG HU80KSW – features

These Ultra HD DLP projectors use a DLP chip from Texas Instruments. It offers two million pixels and uses pixel shift technology to display Ultra HD images. Anyone who wants to know how it works looks in our background article about projectors .

The tower is equipped with two seven-watt speakers. They provide a decent soundtrack, but are of course limited. Treble and bass are tightened when the volume is too high. But for a lot of content where it is mainly you doing the dialogue, that's no problem. For a projector these are reasonable speakers, but given the size of the tower, we expected something better. Alternatively you can send the sound via Bluetooth to your own wireless speaker so that you still have a completely wireless solution.

The most striking feature is of course WebOS. Although the smart TV system uses a slightly older version (3.5), it still offers a whole host of features for which you have to rely on an external solution with other projectors. For example, you have YouTube, Netflix, and all other smart TV apps that WebOS offers. You can also freeze the image of your smartphone. The built-in media player from WebOS supports all major audio and video formats, including support for 4K, HDR and subtitles.

In short, all of these features make the portable projector really the only thing you need when you move quickly to another room

LG HU80KSW – Image quality

The image processing of the scores slightly better than many other projectors. Deinterlacing and detection of film and video frame rates is fine with most sources and it provides sound noise reduction. As is typical with this DLP chipset, the finest detail of an Ultra HD image is lost. With our finest test patterns, however, we also saw express moire patterns. The projector also offers Motion interpolation (TruMotion). It can make pan images that smoothen shocks, without excessive image artifacts. Obviously, you cannot expect a sharp detail in a fast-moving image from a projector.

The laser light source produces 2,500 lumens on paper, but in practice we get the meter, even in the clearest image mode, but narrowly above 1,150 lumen. In the Cinema or Expert Image Mode, which provide the best image, you can still count on 670 lumens with the lamp in maximum position. This just illuminates a 110-inch image in the event of darkening, but in ambient light you have to aim for 80 inches earlier. With the lamp in the two eco-settings, the cinema delivers fashion 566 and 450 lumens. The latter is ok for a 70 inch screen with some ambient light.

The projector delivers less light than expected, but what about the contrast? There too, the performance is rather poor. In the clearest image mode you can still achieve 510: 1, but in Cinema mode it drops to 300: 1. That is really a fairly weak result. You can improve the result slightly by switching on Dynamic Contrast, but the result remains limited. LG has apparently succeeded in avoiding the bright edge that other DLP projectors display around the image.

The laser light source has the great advantage of a long lifespan, whereby you can count for the most part on a fairly small decrease in brightness. But unfortunately she also comes with disadvantages. For example, the color rendering appears to tend to be particularly blue. The cinema mode has a color temperature that is too blue, but when we switch the color temperature to “warm” it appears to give everything an annoying yellow tint. We then keep it at the “average” color temperature. The color range, however, shows that blue is far too intense, and thus also cyan and especially magenta strongly draw in the direction of blue. Red and to a lesser extent green, on the other hand, are not intense enough.

All in all, this is a fairly weak performance. Images not only lack impact, they also regularly show unnatural shades. The HU80KSW supports HDR10, but with barely 70% of the DCI-P3 color range, its fairly weak contrast and moderate light output, you should definitely not expect impressive HDR images.

Review equipment

We use a Leo for the lag measurement Bodnar Display was meters. For all other measurements, we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. We use an HDFury Vertex to analyze any HDR problems.

LG HU80KSW – Conclusion

We hoped that this LG would deliver a clever combination of design, setup and image quality. But the projector with its unique design clearly aims at a unique audience. Real cinephiles may be able to live with the limited light output as they look into a darkened room. But the weak contrast, limited color range, and poor calibration are an important turnoff for them. Given the price, there are better solutions.

No, this projector is aimed at people who appreciate the enormous flexibility of the projector. For the nicest images you have to keep the curtains closed, but it is easy to move, and you can set it up in many ways. The integrated WebOS, the built-in speakers and handle make it easy to step out with the projector and project any image in no time, even on the ceiling. The built-in media player, Netflix, YouTube and other apps often make a separate source unnecessary. The laser light source guarantees a long service life.

Cons

  • Price
  • No perfect Ultra HD detail
  • Too small color range
  • Limited contrast

Advantages

  • WebOS functionality
  • Easy to move [19659051] Many set-up options
  • Long-life laser light source

Homecinema Magazine
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7.0 10 Eric Beeckmans product

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