There are three things we thought we knew about Runco projectors. First, they’re good. Second, they’re bigger than your average projector. And third, they set you back more money than you can probably sensibly afford unless you’re a Hollywood superstar or a big wig in the banking world.
The new LS-1 we’re looking at today, though, tips our Runco preconceptions squarely on their head. With a price of just £3995, the LS-1 isn’t just affordable, it’s a bona fide bargain.
The sense that you’re getting great value out of the LS-1 begins as soon as you look at it, and clock its impressive and promising bulk. Its tastefully rounded form with a tapered rear - resulting in a sort of tear drop shape - only just fits on our usual, heavy-duty projector stand, proving a satisfyingly bulky sight for anyone who likes to get a lot of physical bang for their buck.
The LS-1 is unusually heavy for a projector in its price bracket too, raising hopes of some seriously uncompromising innards.
At first Runco appears to have forgotten to put any connections on the LS-1. But they are there, of course, tucked away under a screw-off rear ‘overhang’ that proves very effective at hiding cable clutter, especially if the projector is ceiling mounted.
Among the decent set of jacks on offer are a pair of HDMIs, a component video port, a D-Sub PC port, a 12V trigger jack, an IR port, an S-Video jack, and an RS-232 port for integrating the projector into a wider home entertainment control system.
Another sign of the LS-1’s ‘serious’ home cinema heritage is the vertical image shifting ‘screw’ found under a pop-off cover on the projector’s top edge. This is manipulated via a provided allen key; a rather more ‘industrial’ approach than the sort of simple wheels many projectors provided for vertical image shifting, but one which delivers much more precise and robust results.
It’s worth noting, too, that the LS-1 can be bought with either a standard or optional short throw lens, and that there’s a solid if not inspiring amount of precise optical zoom available from an oddly plasticky zoom ‘ring’ around the lens. You can also rig the LS-1 up with Runco's CineGlide lens solution, which lets you use it in conjunction with a motorised, mechanical 2.35:1 anamorphic lens.
As you would expect of what’s already clearly a ‘serious’ home cinema projector, the LS-1 is fully ISF Certified, and sports a typical ISF calibration configuration among its set up tools. A less pleasant result of the LS-1 having professional rather than DIY calibration in mind is the really very ugly and overwhelming nature of the LS-1’s onscreen menus, which make no concessions whatsoever to the notion that someone using them might not be particularly technical.