The HS102 seems to have its heart in the right place with its key specifications, too. For starters, it boasts a really credible – for this type of product – brightness output of 160ANSI Lumens. Enough, reckons LG, for the projector to comfortably deliver a 60in image. It also has the same very respectable 800×600 resolution as Samsung’s P400B, claims a good dynamic contrast ratio of 2,000:1, and delivers the usual LED ultra-portable projector promise that you should only need one bulb for the entire life time of the projector.
Another nice touch is the HS102’s built-in DivX technology, enabling the projector to play movies through its USB port, as well as MP3s and JPEG photo files. You can use the HS102 even if there are no power sockets nearby, meanwhile, courtesy of an optional two-hour external battery.
Setting the HS102 up quickly reveals that sadly – though not at all surprisingly – it doesn’t have any optical zoom whatsoever, meaning you can only adjust the image size by moving the projector physically towards or away from your screen or wall. On the upside, the projector does carry a decent degree of keystone correction so that you can easily get the sides of the image straight.
Onscreen menus are nicely designed and contain a couple of unexpected features, such as the option to adjust the projector’s Overscan level and ‘Smart Picture’ presets that include Film and Sports mode. This latter discovery is particularly significant, for it reveals that the HS102 has ambitions on living room use, rather than necessarily focussing exclusively on the board room, like most ultra-small projectors do.
The first thing that struck me about the HS102’s picture as I settled down to watch it was how bright it is. So, while the pictures from Optoma’s PK101 were barely bright enough to watch in even a totally dark room, the HS102 really can be used with a degree of success in a modicum of ambient light. This is, of course, very useful in both business and casual domestic environments, where achieving total darkness is seldom practical.
If you can manage to darken your room down, though, then the HS102’s brightness delivers a different advantage: good levels of dynamism and colour vibrancy in the picture for a pocket projector, as evidenced by the ultra-colourful opening credits of Casino Royale on Blu-ray.
Pictures also look pleasingly sharp. HD video images fed in via the component ports look clearly crisper and more textured than any standard definition fodder, to the extent that you can even make out such HD niceties as film grain. This ability to make HD actually look like HD is a really noteworthy accomplishment for the HS102; possibly its biggest selling point, especially as the sharpness isn’t affected by blurring when the action starts.