The other instant problem noted with the Pro8400’s pictures is that, as feared, the brightness/contrast balance just isn’t right for satisfying movie viewing or gaming. Dark scenes tend to look washed out and grey, with little attempt at producing a convincing black colour – even if you’ve got the projector’s lamp set to its lowest output level.
Thanks to this inability to really go black, the Pro8400 also tends to hide away shadow detail, making dark scenes look hollow and out of kilter in depth terms with bright scenes.
A smaller issue with the Pro8400’s pictures is that HD sources don’t look exceptionally sharp. There’s not quite the clarity of texture or film grain with our favourite HD test material that we ideally like to see on full HD projectors. This is a relatively minor niggle, though, and in some ways we’d rather have the Pro8400’s ever so slightly soft finish than the sort of forced detail that can so cause pictures to look noisy.
The lack of noise in the image happily extends to its motion, as the Pro8400 handles everything from 50Hz to 24p successfully in terms of judder, while also avoiding the fizzing noise over motion – especially moving skin tones – that can afflict single-chip DLP projectors.
Now we’re in a more positive frame of mind, after a bit of work you can also get a likable combination of vibrancy and naturalism from the Pro8400’s colour palette, and there’s more subtlety when it comes to rendering fine colour blends than you see from bargain bucket models.
Finishing up on another strength, the Pro8400 also runs surprisingly quietly considering how bright it is – so long, at any rate, as you avoid the ‘Bright’ setting and try where possible to stick with the Dark Room preset.
The Pro8400 isn’t totally without its charms, we guess, since its extreme brightness for its price could make it worth considering for people who fancy projection-sized images but can’t be bothered with blacking out their rooms.
However, given the lack of other AV charms to go with the brightness – most notably, the inadequate contrast and the preponderance of DLP’s rainbow noise – we’re struggling to imagine any of the Pro8400’s potential audience wanting to spend north of £1600 on such a casual-use machine.
In the end we can’t shake the feeling noted right at the start of this review that the Pro8400 is only a ‘home entertainment’ rather than a business projector because ViewSonic has decided it is, not because it actually behaves like one.
Score in detail
Image Quality 6
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