LED projectors have been around for quite some time and over the last couple of years, these projectors have gotten even more popular. Price was a big reason why LED projectors never took off, when they were first announced and now in 2012, prices have reduced drastically. LG, the brand that is famous for their mobile phones, televisions and household appliances also have a portfolio of projectors. The brand is no stranger to this segment of gadgetry and have recently announced the HW300G LED DLP projector. Here is what we felt about this portable projector.
Vents help in the cooling of the projector
Design and Build Quality
LG claims that this is an ultra portable projector and it is true to the actual sense of the word as it can be carried around easily it weighs a mere 780g. This is quite light as far as projectors are concerned. However, it cannot be classified as a pocket projector as it is a lot larger than the really small ones. When we say it can be carried around, it's roughly the length of a hardcover novel and its width is approximately the size of a chalkboard duster, thus making it impossible to be put in a pocket. LG provides a carry pouch so carrying it with you is easy. This bag comes with ample room for the power cable and the remote control.
Finished in glossy black
The projector is finished in two colours and the front panel has a gunmetal finish, while the rest of it is coated in a glossy black finish. At the front, the only feature of the projector is the lamp which is located at the front left side. The sides of it have vents which aid in keeping the projector cool. The connectors for the LG HW300G are located at the back and these connectivity options include connectors for USB, HDMI, VGA, component, AV as well as a headphone jack. Like with most projectors, the brand has added the connectivity options on the top, allowing one to easily navigate through the different options without needing to search for them in the dark. The overall body of the projector feels sturdy and so does the remote.
The main feature of this DLP projector is that it uses LED technology as opposed to cathode lamps that are generally found on projectors. There are various advantages one can find by the projector using LED bulbs as opposed to cathode lamps such as the ability to last much longer in comparison as well as being able to consume a lot less electricity. The life of these bulbs is a lot more as well with LG rating the lamp’s life at 30,000 hours.
The native resolution of this projector is 1280 x 800 while the maximum input resolution is 1680×1050. The brightness is 300 ANSI lumens while the contrast ratio is rated as 1000:1. As is the case with most projectors, the aspect ratio found here is 16:10 however, one can view content in a 16:9 aspect ratio as well. The projector features a throw distance of 1.5 – 9.1 metres with the image size ranging from 121 – 729 cms.
The remote is very responsive
A neat feature of this projector is that you can attach a USB drive and play media formats such as DIVX, MP3, JPEG and MPEG4 on it. The interface for the USB menu is well designed and is almost similar to the interface the brand uses with their television and home theatre systems. The sense of uniformity here is great and if one is accustomed to the recent LG interface then navigating through it will be a breeze. For those who have not used any of LG’s recent products, even then using this interface is a walk in the park. The only difference here is that it does not feature as many widgets as found on the range of televisions and home theatres systems.
The onscreen interface of the projector is pretty intuitive considering the size it comes in. It features a quick menu as well as a main menu. One can easily adjust the various settings such as picture mode, LED mode, sleep timer, colour temperature mode and other miscellaneous features. This comes very handy when one wants to adjust the different presets. However, if one wants some more, then the main menu features the ability to tweak settings further. In the picture mode, one can adjust settings such as contrast, brightness, sharpness, as well as advanced picture settings like noise reduction, dynamic colour, levels of gamma and black levels. In the main menu, the ability to adjust various settings like aspect ratio, PJT mode and keystone is also present. LG have thrown in a number of games in the projector such as Sudoku and Invader amongst a couple others. The ability to put games in a projector shows that LG is keeping in mind the entire family when they introduced the projector. There are two speakers in the projector, both firing at 1W.
USB connector located at the back
Overall, the features for the LG HW300G are good and one will have a fair amount of fun using this projector based on the features only.
The performance of the projector was tested by running the DisplayMate test along with viewing text and presentations through it. We also ran a number of video clips as well and connected a Blu-ray player to it to guage the video quality. To begin this bit of the review let us start by saying that even though this projector is bright, it is advisable to use it without ambient lighting turned on. In fact it's best when there is no light here altogether as this is when the projector will truly shine. The remote control that came along with it is great to use and one does not need to sit in front of it to activate the projector. One can sit anywhere in the room and press the remote control while pointing in the general direction and it will respond perfectly. The fan used to cool the projector is noisy and there's a low humming sound but even after considerable usage, it doesn’t get overly hot.
The well designed keypad on the top
While running the DisplayMate test, we noticed that text didn't appear detailed in the the standard picture mode. The overall image quality in this setting was pretty dull. However, colours were natural, although dull and faded in comparison to other displays and projectors. While running the test we observed that the projector does not fare well at all where complex patterns were rendered. Hence, we suggest using the projector carefully while working with presentations with a lot of complex, closely knit lines and circle patterns. In coloured text, there is no detail present at all making it look very blurry. The black levels are good and most of the dark grey blocks are visible. While checking the primary colours an issue we faced again was that all colours appeared dull with no vibrancy to it whatsoever. While checking the colour intensity scales we noticed that there was no colour bleeding across any of the bars.
The projector reads drives formatted in FAT32 as well as NTFS. The load time for the external drive is quick and it had no issues in reading the drives in either format. The layout of the interface is in the form of thumbnails. It can read almost all file formats including MKV which we found impressive. While running videos through the drive we noticed that the video quality though good appeared a bit faded and dull throughout. This can put off those interested in using it as a solution for a home theatre system.
We connected our in house Philips Blu-ray player to the LG HW300G using an HDMI cable and we ran our test demo disk. We noticed that during video playback, the projector does a lot better in comparison but that slight dullness is still present. Skin tones and colours appeared natural. Compared to other portable projectors, this model does stand its ground and delivers solid performances throughout. The black levels of the projector are really good and there was nothing to really complain about regarding the overall video quality. The speakers of these are not the best but in a quiet room they will be sufficient. There is a lot of jarr noticed though and it's better if one pairs this projector with a separate speaker set.
Gunmetal finish at the front
Priced in India at an MRP of 60,000, the LG HW300G is on the pricier side as compared to other portable projectors. The ability to read USB drives is a neat feature which can certainly benefit many potential consumers. The feature list of the product is impressive as well. However, as far as performance goes, the projector doesn't handle colours well, which will take away the movie experience. When it comes to regular text and presentations, the performance is OK, nothing more, nothing less. However, if one is in the market willing to spend over half a lakh on a projector that offers convenience as well as a wide range of features, then this would be an ideal choice. Let's not forget the fact that LG claims 30,000 hours of life for the LED lamp, much higher than almost all cathode bulbs used in other projectors.
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