A super-bright UST projector, the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro can be used during the day with curtains open. It’s the Dolby Vision support that really elevates this model, coping with searing highlights while delivering a deeper, richer picture elsewhere. If you want to replace a TV with a large-screen projector setup, this is the ultimate choice, but the high price and limited number of HDMI ports may put some people off.
- Excellent image quality
- Dolby Vision support
- Very bright
- Limited range of HDMI ports
- 100-inch+ 4K pictureTriple-laser DLP projector uses XPR technology to boost a 1080p image to 4K.
- Media streamingUses an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max tucked into a compartment at back.
- Built-in speakersDual 35W speakers support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
As good as the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 UST projector is, there was one thing holding it back from true cinematic greatness: it didn’t support Dolby Vision. That’s rectified in the updated AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro, which takes everything great about the original and adds in the best HDR format. And, the good news for owners for the LTV-3500 is that there’s new firmware that adds Dolby Vision, giving you the same features you have here.
If you want a full cinematic experience with a projector you can use during the day, then this may very well be what you’re looking for.
- Sits close to the wall
- Needs an Ambient Light-Rejecting (ALR) screen for the best image quality
- Built-in speakers
Externally, there’s no real difference between the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro and the standard LTV-3500 model. That’s because the new model is based on the old, with additional smarts and processing to deal with Dolby Vision.
Once again, the projector is a wide and flat box built to sit inches away from your chosen projection surface, sending the picture up above. At 12.4kg and measuring 145 x 595 x 353mm, this is a solid and chunky bit of kit.
Still, the advantage of a product like this is that you can take down your old TV and replace it with this projector without buying any fancy ceiling mounts or extra-long HDMI cables.
You’ll likely need an Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen to get the best image quality, particularly if you want to watch during the day. I was loaned an AWOL Vision floor-rising screen. Provided with a USB dongle, the screen automatically rises when the projector is turned on and rolls out of sight when the projector turns off. Or that’s the theory; my initial sample needed a new dongle, as the screen refused to close when the projector turned off. The new dongle arrived, and fixed the issue. The only other problem I had was with the internal switch on the screen. This should be pressed by the screen when it closes, shutting off the motor. Only, the switch had moved in transit, so I had to realign it using a screwdriver to fix it.
This screen is a chunky extra ($2249) for the 100-inch version, and the fixed screens are around $1000 cheaper.
Just be aware that if you do buy the motorised screen, the projector needs to be placed low enough so that a full-size image doesn’t overshoot the top.
- 4K (XPR) image
- Tri-laster ultra short thrown projector
- Three HDMI inputs, HDMI eARC output
As with its predecessor, the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro is rated at 3500-lumens brightness, a full 1500 lumens brighter than the Hisense PX1-Pro. More brightness is good for two reasons: you can watch this projector during the day, and it can do more with HDR images.
As the projector sits so close to the screen, less light is lost in transmission, so you’re getting a lot more of the brightness right there on the screen. With an ALR screen rejecting light from above, the result is a very bright image that’s fully visible during the day with blinds open – it’s like having a normal TV.
Dual 36W stereo speakers are built in, and compatible with Dolby Atmos. If you’re doing a like-for-like replacement of a TV, then the built-in speakers mean you can get up and running without buying a soundbar.
The only thing you might miss from a regular TV is a tuner. To watch live TV, you’ll need to buy a set-to box and plug that in.
At the back are the inputs and outputs. There are two accessible HDMI ports, one that supports HDMI eARC, delivering lossless audio formats, such as Dolby Atmos over Dolby TrueHD from an Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
That’s not a lot of ports. Connect up a decent sound system using eARC, and there’s only one HDMI input free for other devices. As I’ve got Sky Q and an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, I find that I have to swap the cables around when changing sources.
Technically, there is a third HDMI port. This is located underneath a flap at the back, and is designed to hold the bundled Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. That’s a good choice: every app you could want is supported, and it’s better than having Android TV on the projector with a cut-down range of apps.
It would just be nice if there were at least one more HDMI port. I can see the need for an HDMI switch to be used for many households.
Each input supports a maximum of 4K at 60Hz, and there’s no support for variable frame rates. Input lag is 17ms in 4K, although drop down to 1080p and this drops to just 8ms. Not bad for a large-screen projector, although you may want to hold onto that TV for competitive gaming.
As with most DLP 4K projectors, this one has a Full HD DMD chip, which uses XPR technology to boost the resolution to 4K. XPR works by shifting the DMD chip four times per frame to build up a higher resolution image that is, for all intents and purposes, 4K.
It works brilliantly, and I defy anyone to tell the difference between XPR and ‘true’ 4K. The only real downside is that 4K content is locked to 60Hz.
HDR support is present with HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision, which has only recently become available for projectors. It’s Dolby Vision that had me excited: it’s the best HDR standard, delivering the highest-quality images, whether you’re streaming or playing from disc.
Three lasers (red, green and blue) are used in succession to build up a colour image, negating the need for a colour wheel and creating a brighter, sharper image. AWOL Vision claims 107% of the BT 2020 Colour Gamut and 147% of DCI-P3.
These non-replaceable lasers will last for 25,000 hours, which is more than ten years of use if you were to watch TV every day for eight hours per day.
Power consumption is around 200W, which is about double that of a 55-inch OLED TV. That’s not bad, considering I had around four times the screen real estate for only twice the power consumption.
As with most laser UST projectors, there’s not much in the way of image adjustment. The most important thing is to align the screen so that it is completely flat, then use the projector’s legs to make it level, and then manoeuvre the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro to sit head-on to the screen. If you do need minor digital adjustment, there’s the six-point keystone. Finally, there’s manual focus to get the image sharp.
A neat Bluetooth remote is provided in the box, which can be used for setting up the projector’s settings, changing input and the like.
- Hugely bright image
- Dolby Vision content looks fantastic
- Blacks not quite as clinical as on a TV
Thanks to the 3500 Lumens brightness, the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro produces a hugely bright image. Even on a sunny day, with light streaming through my front window, I can still watch this projector. Sure, dark and moody content does better when it’s dark or the blinds are shut, but that’s true of a TV. What you get here is a no-compromise projector: when you just want to sit down and watch something, you can see what’s going on without having to close curtains or blinds.
Of course, the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro is best with the highest-quality Dolby Vision content played at 4K. Watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, and the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro delivers a sumptuous picture.
The scenes at OrgoCorp are bright and fun, with the projector delivering searing whites, while maintaining rich and vivid colours.
When they have to operate on Rocket, the projector handles the contrast between the bright central part of the image while delivering shadow detail. It’s a huge step up in terms of quality from the original AWOL Vision LTV-3500.
Avatar: The Way of Water looks absolutely stunning. With the high brightness, Pandora looks incredible, with light dappling through the undergrowth. This projector delivers cinema at its best.
As with all projectors, blacks aren’t quite as clinically good as on a high-quality OLED TV. Given the large image and high brightness, I will trade a little black-level performance.
It is worth playing around with the image settings. There are presets (I found Vivid or Movie) the best, plus a user mode that gives full colour control, so I could tweak the image further.
When Dolby Vision content is playing, there are three dedicated modes to choose from (Dark, Bright or Vivid): pick the one that suits your content and living room the best.
Normally, I’d say turn off motion compensation, but here, I say leave it on, but set to a low level. That’s because the XPR tech means that all 4K content runs at 60Hz. Motion compensation helps smooth out any mismatch between source frame rate and display refresh rate, and is particularly useful when watching lower-quality content.
HD content looks good but if you watch SD content, then there are apparent artefacts and other issues, which are easier to spot on such a large screen than on a TV. Then again, that’s more of an issue with SD content than it is a criticism of this projector.
- Not much bass
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
- Forward-firing speakers
Specs-wise, dual 35W speakers and support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound impressive. Overall, the sound quality is more budget soundbar than a full-cinema-system replacement.
My main issue is that there’s not much bass here, so soundtracks lose their impact and don’t sound as immersive. There’s enough power and clarity to fill a room, but the projector lacks punch. When it comes to surround and 3D audio, the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro doesn’t create an immersive soundscape. I left my Sonos Arc and surround sound speakers connected.
There are fans running constantly on this projector. For louder content, I found my soundbar drowned out the fan noise; when watching something quieter, there’s a gentle hum to contend with, which wasn’t too annoying.
Should you buy it?
You want a cinematic projector that can replace a TV
Excellent Dolby Vision processing and high brightness make this projector a brilliant replacement for a TV.
You need more HDMI inputs or better gaming performance
You’re limited to 60Hz at 4K, so those looking to maximise a console’s performance may want to look elsewhere. Two useable HDMI ports are also a little limited.
The AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro is very expensive. Much more so than its rival, the Hisense PX1-Pro. While the PX1-Pro is limited to being watched in dark rooms, the AWOL Vision LTV-3500 Pro’s high brightness elevates its image quality and means you can watch during the day or make the most of HDR content.
If you want a big-screen cinematic experience, then this projector offers that. If you’re after Dolby Vision in a portable format, then the XGIMI Horizon Ultra could be for you.
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Tested for more than a week
Tested with real world use
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