We’d worried that maybe the LS-1 would be lacking in brightness. But in fact it drove our 85in screen so potently that we could easily imagine it driving a 100in or even slightly bigger screen with no trouble whatsoever.
The LS-1 isn’t as bright, it must be said, as the in-some-ways-similar Sim2 Crystal 35 projector. But then crucially it scores a massive hit over the (more expensive) Sim2 model by not suffering anywhere near as much with single-chip DLP technology’s ‘rainbow effect’, where you can see stripes of pure red, green and blue in your peripheral vision or over very bright objects.
In fact, the LS-1’s resistance to rainbowing is quite outstanding considering how bright it is, with even notoriously tricky scenes like the opening black and white section of Casino Royale emerging almost totally rainbow-free.
The LS-1’s motion handling is another area where is excels. For it manages to deliver action scenes and fast camera pans with everything from 24p Blu-rays to 50Hz Sky feeds with startling clarity, no more judder than feels natural, and best of all not the slightest trace of the dotting noise that remains a common single-chip DLP artefact.
If you really pushed us to find anything wrong with the LS-1’s performance, we might say that dark scenes lose just a little shadow detail versus more expensive projectors once you’ve calibrated the contrast and brightness to get the best colour/black level balance. But we’re really grasping at straws here, for the bottom line is that the LS-1 delivers much of the precision, richness, and beautiful naturalism of a high-end projector for a price that barely qualifies as mid-range.
Runco’s most concerted bid yet to enter the ‘mass’ part of the projector market is a stunning success, retaining far more of the brand’s legendary DLP quality than we’d have thought possible.
We guess it would be remiss of us if we didn’t make the point before signing off that the LS-1 doesn’t support 3D playback. But while we would certainly love to see what Runco could do with 3D, if it had been added to the LS-1 then its price would undoubtedly have been much higher. And we personally feel much more excited about being able to get this much Runco quality for so little money than we are about being able to watch the occasional bit of 3D.