The ViewSonic X10-4K is an elegantly designed portable short-throw 4K DLP projector that uses an LED light source to deliver higher brightness and longer lifespan. It’s quick and easy to set up, with impressive big-screen images and surprisingly good integrated sound. There’s even Wi-Fi, video streaming services and voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
- Bright and punchy images
- Effective HDR performance
- Excellent motion handling
- Sound system surprisingly good
- Long-lasting LED light source
- Portable and easy to install
- Extensive smart features
- Stylish and well made
- Weak black levels and shadow detail
- Resolution isn't native 4K
- Review Price: £1299
- DLP projector with LED light source
- 3840 x 2160 Texas Instruments XPR
- HDR10 support
- Dimensions: 26.1cm x 27.1cm x 16.6cm
- Weight: 4.1kg
- 2 x HDMI; 3 x USB; 1 x 3.5mm; 1 x RJ-45; 1 x microSD; Ethernet; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
What is the ViewSonic X10-4K?
The ViewSonic X10-4K is a portable short-throw 4K Ultra HD single-chip DLP projector with an LED light source. It’s been designed as an all-in-one smart theatre system, which means that as well as being a projector it also boasts an integrated Harman Kardon sound solution.
The X10-4K can be quickly and conveniently set up, and has everything it needs to deliver enjoyable big-screen action.
The X10-4K looks surprisingly elegant for a projector, and the fact it uses an LED light source rather than a bulb means it can be turned on and off faster than a lamp-based beamer – and it has a much longer lifespan.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s even Wi-Fi for smart streaming, plus support for voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. That’s plenty for one stylish little box – but can it deliver in the performance stakes?
ViewSonic X10-4K design, connectivity and control – A stylish projector with excellent build quality
The ViewSonic X10-4K is incredibly stylish for a projector; it sports an elegant design that puts the majority of its competition to shame. This is a product that’s intended to be seen, rather than hidden away in a dark corner, and it manages to be simultaneously attractive and practical.
Build quality is excellent, and the minimalist chassis features premium curves and sleek gun-metal surfaces. There’s are mesh grilles on either side for the integrated Harman Kardon sound system, and behind the glass front sits a centrally mounted all-glass lens.
The front glass panel also includes a built-in IR sensor and an auto focus camera, and beneath it is another mesh grille that contains an eye-protection sensor to prevent any accidents with kids or pets. Below that front grille is also a foot for adjusting the angle of the projector.
Towards the rear of the X10-4K is a sturdy leather handle for moving this beamer from room to room, and the back panel is covered by a matching magnetic leather cover for a touch of luxury. You can remove the cover completely, or simply fold the top half down; behind it you’ll find the connections, and it’s an impressive selection for a model at this price point.
There are two HDMI 2.0 inputs, plus a USB-C port for video playback from compatible smartphones or tablets. There’s also a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm analogue audio jack, and two more USB connections, one of which is of the fast 3.0 variety. In terms of audio outputs, you have two options: an optical digital and another 3.5mm analogue jack.
While there’s an Ethernet port for a wired connection, there’s also a small removable flap at the rear of the projector into which you can slot the included Wi-Fi dongle (5GHz). There’s even Bluetooth 4.0 for those who want to stream audio directly from their smartphones or tablets to the built-in speakers.
The X10-4K eschews the usual array of buttons for a single knob that doubles as a power button and volume control. Since this projector works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, you can control it via your voice, but it’s a frustrating process at the best of times.
Thankfully, there’s also an included remote, although ViewSonic’s love of minimalism extends to this as well; there are only a few buttons identified by icons. At least there’s a basic backlight, which is handy in the dark, and a central rotary wheel too.
Other controls on the remote include power, autofocus, input, Bluetooth, audio, settings, home and back. There’s also a volume up/down control that mutes the sound when pushed. The zapper fits comfortably in your palm, making it easy to use one-handed, but it isn’t always that responsive.
Related: Best Projectors
ViewSonic X10-4K features – Plenty of features, including Android OS
The ViewSonic X10-4K is feature-packed for a projector, and includes quite a few additions that are unusual at this price point.
The image itself is produced using a single Texas Instruments DLP 4K Ultra HD chip with XPR technology. What that means is it actually flashes the DMD mirrors in its 1080p panel four times at lightning-speed to build up the 8.3 million pixels in a 4K image. While it isn’t actually native 4K, the projector can receive an Ultra HD signal and the image it creates certainly looks like it’s 4K.
The fact that this is a single-chip DLP beamer also helps, with an image that’s pin-sharp and free of the alignment issues associated with three-chip machines. The built-in autofocus camera is another great feature, ensuring the image is perfect without you needing to do a thing. Auto-keystoning also features, although for best results this is best avoided where possible.
The other big selling point of the X10-4K is its use of red, green and blue LED light sources, rather than a regular UHP bulb. This results in a claimed brightness of 2400 lumens and a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours. An added benefit is that it should eliminate the rainbow artefacts (colour fringing) caused by the colour wheel used on lamp-based, single-chip DLP projectors.
The use of red, green and blue LEDs also results in a wider colour gamut that can reach 125% of Rec.709. This is handy with 4K content that uses high dynamic range, and the X10-4K also supports HDR10. You can even enjoy Full HD 3D, assuming of course you have the correct active-shutter glasses, a compatible player and 3D Blu-rays.
The dual integrated Harman Kardon speakers promise powerful audio to go with those big-screen images, and you can also use the X10-4K as a Bluetooth speaker. The projector includes four core processors, 2GB of memory and 16GB of storage, along with a tri-axis fan and specially designed airflow to dissipate heat quietly.
All that processing power is required because this projector has its own Android operating system, which includes a homepage and slick user interface. This allows you to access the inputs, the settings menu, screen mirroring, file management and the apps centre. The X10-4K uses the Aptoide store, which is fairly limited but does at least include Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Related: What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?
ViewSonic X10-4K setup – Very easy to set up
As you’d expect from a portable projector, the ViewSonic X10-4K is extremely easy to set up. Simply place it on a table near a white wall or screen and then adjust the angle using the foot at the front (there’s a choice of 115 or 130% offset). You also have the option of rear and ceiling installations, but given the portable nature of this beamer, these seem unlikely.
Since this projector uses a short-throw lens, it can produce a fairly big image from a surprisingly short distance – for example, you can get a 120in picture from just 2.12m away. You can also adjust the eye-protection feature to trigger between 50 and 100cm. The X10-4K is bright enough to use in an environment with ambient light, but for best results the room should be as dark as possible.
Turn on the projector and it will focus itself, applying any keystoning if necessary. Once installed, all you need to do is connect to your network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi and plug in any physical sources. For this purpose ViewSonic includes HDMI and USB-C cables in the box, which is welcome. Setting up the Wi-Fi is easy, and so is choosing a source or pairing with a Bluetooth device.
Then all you need to do is select the appropriate Colour (picture) mode: there’s a choice of Brightest, TV, Movie, Gaming and User 1-2. The Movie mode will give you the most accurate starting point, and there are calibration controls for selecting the gamma, correcting the greyscale and tweaking the colours (although a professional calibration seems unlikely on a portable projector).
The majority of the other controls can be left at their default settings – but remember to turn off frame interpolation for movies (although it can be effective with sport). You can also choose between an EOTF setting of low, medium or high for HDR. Depending on the ambient light or the brightness of the HDR images, there’s room for experimentation here.
Finally, you can choose between using the projector’s integrated Harman Kardon sound system or an external one of your own. If you decide on the former, there are two Audio modes: Movie and User. The Movie mode is probably the best choice for most people, although the User option does allow you to adjust different frequencies from 100Hz to 10kHz.
Related: What is 4K and Ultra HD?
ViewSonic X10-4K performance – Bright and punchy images with an impactful HDR performance
The ViewSonic X10-4K might be marketed as a portable projection system, but it actually delivers a good enough picture to be considered as a permanent solution for those with limited space. The LED light source ensures the images are bright and punchy, with suitably saturated colours; the short-throw lens produces a big-screen experience from minimal distance; and the single-chip DLP XRP processing renders the picture with incredible sharpness and detail.
Watching regular TV broadcasts, the X10-4K reveals big and natural-looking images that can handle a degree of ambient light. The LED light source also means that lamp life isn’t an issue, so you can happily watch TV for as long as you like. The Rugby World Cup looks spectacular, with the projector effectively scaling the Full HD source and filling the wall with an immersive picture.
Motion handling is also excellent, and while there’s a frame interpolation option, you don’t really need it – the motion is already smooth and free of judder. This impressive motion processing is ideal for sport, but for movies you should always ensure any frame interpolation is turned off. And as already mentioned, for the best results try to get the room as dark as possible to give the images a suitably cinematic impact.
If DLP has one major weakness it’s in terms of black levels and contrast performance. As a result, the letterbox bars on movies tend to be a very dark grey, rather than black. Shadow definition is limited, too, and it’s hard to distinguish details just above black. However, this is more obvious in a totally blacked-out room; in the average lounge it won’t be such an issue.
For the most part the X10-4K delivers impressive big-screen images, whether it’s in SDR or HDR. With the latter the picture steps up a gear, although there’s the usual caveat that projection isn’t ideal for HDR, so don’t expect the same kind of brightness highlights that you get with a TV. That being said, the images certainly have impact, with plenty of detail and rich colours.
A film such as Aquaman is a riot of colour that the ViewSonic handles extremely well, producing deeply saturated and enjoyably over-the-top images. The level of detail is also exceptional, especially with a native 4K disc such as the BBC’s Planet Earth II. You can practically count the hairs on some animal close-ups, and the landscapes are breathtaking.
The LED light source appears to have eliminated the colour fringing artefacts (sometimes called rainbows) normal associated with DLP. However, if you’re particularly susceptible then you might want to try to demo the X10-4K first. Despite ViewSonic’s claim that this projector is super-quiet, the fan noise is actually noticeable, even on the Eco LED setting.
The latter observation may be less of an issue than usual, because the integrated Harman Kardon sound system is a revelation. Ordinarily, the kind of built-in sound system found in a projector should be avoided, but the X10-4K is the exception to the rule. Despite the diminutive nature of the projector, the audio has real size and depth, with enough power to fill a room.
It’s certainly good enough for watching TV, and handles sporting events with some style. However, for movies a proper audio solution is required to deliver the kind of blockbuster soundtracks designed to accompany those big-screen images. Overall, though, the X10-4K certainly delivers on its promise of being an all-in-one smart theatre system.
Related: What is Ultra HD Blu-ray?
Should I buy the ViewSonic X10-4K?
The ViewSonic X10-4K is the ideal projector for those who have limited space or simply want to hold an impromptu big-screen event. Cosmetically, it’s attractive enough that you actually wouldn’t mind leaving it out on a coffee table – and, thanks to its short-throw lens, you can get a large image even in a small room.
It’s also highly portable and very easy to set up thanks to its autofocus feature, allowing you to whip it out of the cupboard when needed. It also includes some useful picture and sound presets that will get you up and running in no time at all. Best of all, the picture is impressive, with the LED light source delivering bright and punchy images that boast saturated colours.
Technically, the X10-4K might not be native 4K, but the single-chip DLP XPR technology is highly effective, with the resulting images detailed and pin-sharp. Motion handling is a strength with DLP, and this projector is no exception, making it ideal for sport. The HDR performance is also good, allowing for the limitations of a projected image.
There doesn’t appear to be any rainbows, which is good news, but there’s some fan noise. The only real disappointment is the contrast performance, but that’s to be expected with a DLP beamer.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is how good the integrated Harman Kardon audio system sounds. While not a substitute for a dedicated outboard sound solution, it’s certainly good enough for ad hoc screenings where a larger audio system isn’t an option.
The X10-4K also offers a built-in operating system that provides a host of streaming services, along with all the connections you’ll ever need. So whatever you want to watch, and however you want to watch it, this excellent projector has you covered.
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