Also handled more credibly than we would have expected is motion. Judder is fairly minimal, and blurring is practically non-existent. There is a ‘but’ here, though. For while most motion looks decently clean, skin tones or orangey/pinky colours such as the sands of the tennis courts at Roland Garros can break down into quite overt ‘fizzing’ noise as they move across the screen – especially during camera pans.
Wheel of misfortune
This artefact is caused by the colour wheel inside single-chip DLP projectors, and was once common. But it’s been quite a while since we saw the problem looking quite so overt as it does on the Pro8300. Especially if you use either the Brightest or Standard presets. (Thankfully it diminishes considerably using the Theatre and, especially, Dark Room presets.)
It’s impossible not to reflect from this that the Pro8300 is expected to be predominantly handling the relatively static footage of a PC presentation rather than the motion-filled antics of a typical film.
Thankfully the Pro8300 suffers less than expected with that other great cheap DLP bugbear of the rainbow effect, where you can see stripes of red, green and blue over very bright objects or in your peripheral vision as you flit your eyes over the image. The Pro8300 certainly isn’t immune to the flaw; it’s visible for sure over notorious rainbow-inducing scenes like the black and white opening to Casino Royale. But its appearances are less common and less distracting than they often are on sub-£1000 DLP projectors.
Wherefore art thou, black level?
You might have noticed that we mentioned a Dark Room preset back there – the Pro8300’s most concerted effort, we guess, at catering for a proper serious movie ‘moment’. But the results really aren’t serious at all. For with the lights off and the curtains drawn, the only thing you’ll find yourself noticing even in Dark Room mode is how instead of a ‘black level response’ the Pro8300 has a ‘green-grey level response’. In other words, it’s completely incapable of producing anything remotely resembling a true black colour.
Shadow details are in such short supply in dark scenes when watching in proper home theatre conditions, meanwhile, that it’s almost as if they’ve been painted out of the picture by some big dirty-green paint brush. Not good.
For the sake of completeness we should add here that even bright scenes don’t look great when watched in a darkened room environment, as you become much more aware of a generally high level of noise in pictures – even HD ones.
If you’re thinking about buying a Pro8300 as a cheap movie projector for watching mostly in a darkened room, you should think again. Fast. It’s simply not up to the job.
What the Pro8300 does do quite well, though, is serve up sports footage and even at a push animated films with so much brightness and colour richness that you can genuinely enjoy them in daylight conditions. Even if you’re just projecting onto a wall or zero-gain screen.
So while the Pro8300 is very much a one-trick pony – or possibly two if you also think you can find an excuse for using it at work – it’s just about good enough at its trick to justify a purchase if you’re well-heeled enough to splurge £900 on providing your family and friends with big-screen sporting fun over the summer without having to shut out the sun.
Score in detail
Image Quality 6