Setting up the ViewSonic Pro9000 is a rather disappointing experience. For starters, there’s no vertical image shifting. While we can tolerate this - just - on sub-£1000 projectors such as the BenQ W1060, not being able to optically move pictures up and down is a real blow on a £1,600 model. After all, it means that the vast majority of people will have to resort to using keystone correction to get the edges of their pictures straight - and as we’ve pointed out many times before, whenever you use keystone correction you’re essentially distorting the image from its original pixel-mapped state.
We were also saddened to find only a 1.2x optical zoom, making the ViewSonic Pro9000 relatively hard to position correctly in your projection room.
The ViewSonic Pro9000’s remote control is nothing to write home about either. It’s backlit, thankfully, but its layout is cluttered and its finish cheap and plasticky.
On the upside, the ViewSonic Pro9000 connectivity options are decent, with highlights of two v1.3 HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, and a component video input. The onscreen menus are reasonably appealing too, albeit perhaps a touch smaller than they could be.
Features within these menus are passably plentiful, including the facilities to adjust the red, green and blue gain of the colour temperature; the hue, saturation and gain balance of each of the six main colour elements; and the projector’s fundamental gamma settings.
The ViewSonic Pro9000’s design is best described as... unusual. Its grilled sides and reasonably compact size could belong to any number of other projectors, but its disproportionately large lens and cowling certainly makes it stand out from the crowd, as does the unusual 50-50 split of glossy and ‘brushed’ finish on the projector’s top edge. The slight blue tinge to the brushed section isn’t something you see every day, either.
Overall the ViewSonic Pro9000 design is a bit too busy for our tastes, but you probably won’t be looking at it much anyway once you’ve dimmed the lights and settled down to watch a film. Which is exactly what we’re about to do...
With both Prometheus and our tried and tested Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt II on Blu-ray, the ViewSonic Pro9000 proves a very interesting watch. Not an entirely satisfactory one, it must be said, but certainly interesting.
The first thing that struck us was just how diverse a range of base colour temperatures the ViewSonic Pro9000 delivers via its Gamma settings. We found ourselves jumping between at least five of the seven provided modes numerous times before eventually settling on number four. And even then we found ourselves tinkering at some length with the projector’s colour management features before we felt we’d nailed the best movie colour performance the projector can deliver.
What we’re getting at here is that the colour range possible from the laser technology really does seem extreme. This is in most ways good news, but it does also mean you have to put in more effort with the ViewSonic Pro9000 than you do with many rival projectors to get colours looking their best.
Once you’ve got over this setup hurdle, though, you grow to greatly appreciate the ViewSonic Pro9000’s colour efforts. It really does deliver not just a range but also a subtlety of tone that’s not hitherto been seen on such an affordable single-chip DLP projector.
This is especially apparent while studying skin tones. Both Prometheus and Harry Potter present real challenges for any video display in this respect, but the ViewSonic Pro9000 reproduces not only the diversity of flesh tones but also every little subtlety within each different facial close-up with impressive colour accuracy.