The first things you’ll notice are a basic colour management system, which lets you adjust the relative red, green and blue saturations, and a simple numeric gamma adjustment. Plus you can adjust the lamp output between normal, Eco, two ‘dynamic’ levels of output, with one of the latter dynamic settings (which adjust light output based on an ongoing assessment of image content) using a lower-brightness starting point than the other.
However, provided you’ve set the Advanced Picture Settings menu to ‘on’ via the projector’s Settings menu (if you follow us), you can find all kinds of other helpful tools too. You can, for instance, adjust the iris mode, between favouring brightness over contrast, favouring contrast over brightness, or using a fixed iris aperture defined using a separate Iris Range tool.
Also up for tweaking are a contrast booster and separate auto black stretch tool; transient improvement to manipulate the appearance of sharp edges; and a much fuller colour management system where the level, phase and gamma of any colour in the picture can be manipulated. You can even customise the gamma for the red, green and blue colour elements along nine different points, using a tidy bar-chart-like interface.
Going back to the lamp output flexibility mentioned earlier, there are two reasons for providing such decent lamp flexibility. First, it can let people with very dark viewing rooms reduce the projector’s light output to enjoy a richer contrast and black level response. But also it gives you a degree of flexibility over the projector’s running noise. For with the Eco setting and, to a lesser extent, the lower-brightness automatic mode, you really can rein in the racket from the cooling fans considerably from the (still not bad) level pumped out using the other two settings.
Settling down to see what the Z800 is capable of in performance terms is a solidly rewarding experience considering what an affordable model it is. Particularly impressive right away is the picture’s clarity.
This is partly due, no doubt, to the projector having the internal quality to make the most of its full HD native resolution. But also striking is how little pictures appear affected by judder, even when watching 1080p/24 sources – and despite the fact that the projector doesn’t seem to have any overt motion compensation circuitry on board.
Following on from this, we should stress that the impressive fluidity and stability present in the Z800’s portrayal of moving images looks inherently natural, and not processed or forced in any way.
It’s also impossible not to be impressed by how noiseless moving objects appear on the Z800, with its core LCD engine preventing the appearance of the sort of fizzing dot noise that can appear over some colours – especially skin tones – with cheap DLP projectors.
There really is no overstating how helpful the above points are in immediately allowing you to forge an immersive bond with the pictures you’re watching. Contributing further to this bond are the Z800’s colours. These are dynamic yet natural, and replete with levels of blend and tonal shift subtlety that are rare at the sub-£1,500 price level.
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