The LightStream PJD7830HDL is a single-chip DLP projector that distinguishes itself from the crowd by offering high brightness, a SonicExpert sound system, a proprietary "true to life" colour system – at an eye-catchingly affordable price of just £579.
ViewSonic aims this model at the corporate and hospitality businesses as well as the home-cinema market, although – based on my time with it – I'd say that it’s best suited to gaming or movie viewing at home.
The PJD7830HDL is a startlingly good-looking projector. Its glossy white finish is wrapped around a bold, top-heavy chassis design featuring seductively rounded corners and an attractive arch that protrudes above the lens barrel. ViewSonic even provides a detachable cover for the rear connections, so that the chic design isn't ruined by cabling.
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The PJD7830HDL’s connections are puzzling – at first glance it seems as if the projector has only one HDMI, despite a big logo on its top edge stating that it has two.
Further investigation finds the second HDMI tucked away under a slide-off panel to the right of the lens barrel on the projector’s upper edge. Why here? Because it provides a bay where you can permanently slot in an optional WPG-300 MHL-capable Wi-Fi presentation dongle (£129), rather than having it sticking out of the projector’s rear and having to detach it every time you want to move the projector.
This dongle supports Wi-Fi display, media streaming, screen mirroring, content broadcasting, four-way split screen, live camera and live annotations.
Other notable connections include a D-sub PC port, a powered USB port capable of supporting streaming dongles such as Google Chromecast and the Amazon Fire TV stick, and a collection of audio ports.
Like most "casual" or presentation projectors these days, the PJD7830HDL is equipped with a built-in speaker for those times when you don’t have any external sound system handy. This is no ordinary speaker, though. At 16W it’s far more powerful than regular onboard projector speakers, and features both an enhanced frequency range and a distortion-reducing design.
The PJD7830HDL’s image specifications are impressive for a £600 projector. Its brightness is rated at an extremely high 3,200 ANSI lumens, while its contrast ratio (when using its Dynamic Contrast feature) is claimed to be a promising 22,000:1. This raises hopes that the high levels of brightness won’t result in excessive greyness during dark scenes.
Also surprisingly high for such a bright projector is the PJD7830HDL’s claimed lamp life. Even in its Normal lamp mode, it should last around 4,000 hours. If you select the projector’s Dynamic Eco mode, however, this extends to an impressive 10,000 hours – enough for 5,000 two-hour movies.
The PJD7830HDL also has a potential edge over its rivals with ViewSonic's SuperColor feature, which apparently uses a newly designed six-segment colour wheel to deliver more natural, accurate colour tones.
One last notable feature of the PJD7830HDL is its support for 3D playback. However, note that it doesn’t ship with any active-shutter 3D glasses, so you’ll have to cough up extra for these.
Sadly, the PJD7830HDL isn’t particularly well equipped with physical setup aids.
It gets off to a decent start with a 1.36x optical zoom and good responsiveness and accuracy from its zoom and focus rings. Unfortunately, though, there’s no optical vertical image shifting to move the picture up or down. This means many people will be forced to use digital keystone correction to make images appear with perpendicular rather than trapezoidal edges.
Although the PJD7830HDL’s onscreen menus are a little small and, as a result, look cluttered, they do at least provide you with a fulsome set of image adjustments.
Among the highlights are gain and offset tweaks for the RGB colour components, a series of colour presets, noise-reduction options, five gamma presets, four lamp settings (most projectors give you only two), and a colour-management system that lets you fine-tune the hue, saturation and gain of the red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow colour elements.
Plus, as seems to be inevitable with DLP projectors these days, there’s also Texas Instruments’ Brilliant Colour option, for boosting colour vibrancy.
While all this flexibility is welcome, I found it difficult to set up the PJD7830HDL successfully. The problem lies predominantly in the relationships between the colour presets, the Brilliant Colour option and the four lamp modes. Adjusting any one of these settings tends to have a greater than expected knock-on effect on the other two, making it hard to find the best balance between them all.
For instance, the ViewSonic’s ViewMatch colour mode generally delivers the most natural colour effect when used with the lamp set to normal and the Brilliant Colour option set to just two or three. But this configuration also delivers a merely average black-level response in dark scenes.
It also produces high levels of DLP’s rainbow effect, where stripes of red, green and blue colour flash over bright image elements – especially if you move your eye around the screen.
Choosing the Super Eco lamp mode reduces this rainbow effect and improves the look of black colours, but it also causes other colours to begin looking washed out. You can improve things a little by boosting the Brilliant Colour setting, but this results in a slightly forced look to some hues.
It seems that every colour preset – bar ViewMatch – introduces some fairly obvious green or yellow undertones to the overall colour palette. And again, the intensity of these undertones is affected by the accompanying Brilliant Colour and lamp settings you opt for.
The bottom line is that skipping between all manner of combinations of the colour preset, Brilliant Colour and lamp settings invariably resulted in pictures where something wasn't quite right. The extent of the issue with each setup combination wasn’t something I was able to fully fix through the colour-management and gamma options.