ViewSonic Pro7827HD – Picture Quality
The strange mix of business and home-entertainment features the Pro7827HD delivers meant I had little preconceived idea of what its pictures would look like. But it quickly becomes apparent that it’s a far more satisfying movie projector than I’d expected for the price.
It outperforms the vast majority – if not all – of its similarly affordable DLP projection peers in two significant areas. First, black-level response is remarkably assured. Using the Eco lamp mode and Rec 709 movie picture preset, the Pro7827HD produces dark scenes that are far less damaged by low-contrast grey misting than is usual for the sub-£600 level of the market.
In fact, there are precious few projectors under £1,000 that can produce black colours as deep and convincing as those you get from a sensibly set up Pro7827HD.
This black-level depth doesn’t come at the expense of stability or shadow detail, either. In other words, when using the Eco lamp mode, you’re not distracted by obvious jumps in the overall brightness of the sort you’d often see with budget projectors that use dynamic brightness systems to boost their contrast. Nor does excessive subtle greyscale and detail information become “crushed out” of the darkest parts of the picture.
This latter discovery helps dark scenes look more realistic and more balanced in depth terms with bright scenes, to create a more consistent viewing experience.
The other big advantage of the Pro7827HD versus most similarly cheap DLP projectors is that its pictures exhibit remarkably little evidence of the rainbow effect, where stripes of red, green and blue flicker over bright image elements.
While the Pro7827HD really stands out with its contrast and lack of rainbowing, it’s impressive elsewhere too.
Colour performance is superb. Tones look strikingly natural and well balanced, even where difficult skin tones are concerned, putting to bed concerns that the Pro7827HD’s colours would be calibrated to suit PC rather than video use.
That’s not to say it isn’t a capable enough data projector, as I’ll cover later, but there’s no doubt that the Pro7827HD clearly understands and takes video’s specific colour demands seriously.
Yet more good news finds the Pro7827HD’s images suffering less than I’d have expected with the green speckling noise/low-level fizzing in dark areas often seen with budget DLP projectors. In fact, from a normal viewing distance you’re not aware of it at all.
Add to all this good light uniformity across the image and pleasingly little fan noise when using the Eco lamp setting, and it’s hard to believe you’re watching a £600 projector.
In a perfect world the Pro7827HD’s Full HD pictures would look a touch crisper, and there’s also occasional judder during camera pans – although seldom to a truly distracting degree. White parts of an image can exhibit signs of clipping (lost detail) too, and there’s more colour banding in backgrounds than you’d expect to see on a more premium projector. But when these are the only complaints you can raise about a sub-£600 projector’s video pictures, you know you’re onto a winner.
So far I’ve concentrated on the Pro7827HD as a movie machine – and it’s usually the case that budget projectors that do movies well struggle to deliver a convincing performance in a bright room. But here, again, the Pro7827HD exceeds expectations.
Pushing the lamp up to its Dynamic setting injects enough extra brightness into the picture to give you images that still look respectably punchy and eye-catching, even if there’s a degree of ambient light in your room. Which is, of course, great news if you have a few mates round to watch a Euro 2016 match and don’t really want everyone to have to sit in total darkness.
I should say that the Dynamic mode ups the projector’s running noise significantly, but this won’t prove as much of an issue for watching sports events as it does for movies.
Finally, although I’ve focused mostly on the Pro7827HD’s pictures from a video perspective given ViewSonic’s desire to market it as a home-entertainment machine, it’s also no slouch as a presentations device.
The slight lack of sharpness can leave small text looking a touch blurry, but aside from that the Pro7827HD offers sufficient brightness with some of its lamp modes and also enough flexibility with its colour settings to deliver presentations more than proficiently, making it a genuine all-rounder. Something you won’t often come across in the Pro7827HD’s level of the market.