CineBeam Laser 4K review: The LG HU80K

The Korean manufacturer LG enters the competition of the video-projection with a 4K simulation.  LG proposes us a model which denotes on several points compared to the current production. It’s simple, its concept is unparalleled for the time and the lines and images of this new testbed will quickly make you discover why.

For several years, LG has been involved in the miniaturization of its broadcasters. Offering a range of LED or Laser DLP models equipped with loudspeakers and media players, or even battery packs; so many options that allow them to be free from any external source.

LG HU80KSW

If the device tested today certainly has a nomadic feature (a removable handle allows you to move it), its almost 7 kilos on the scale added to a length of 47 centimeters make its carriage a tad thorny. It is, therefore, a device that will have more room in a home installation than in your suitcase holiday. After this description, it is time to discover the craft in detail through the study of its characteristics and its performances; to know if it will make you prefer to spend a quiet holiday in your couch rather than to feed motorway tolls, zoo counters, camping places, to walk on the beaches.

PRESENTATION

The LG HU80K exists in two versions:

  • The “G” model: it is the least expensive (2499 €); it is covered with a black hull.
  • The “SW” version, also called “PRESTO”, comes with an all-white livery. It is the most accomplished but it costs 200 € more (2699 €).

While both variants use LG’s proprietary OS, the “WebOS-3.5”, only Presto integrates the application store that offers the ability to stream Netflix or Youtube 4K/4K HDR programs. This option makes it completely independent of any external source.

SMART TV MENU LG HU80KSW

One wonders whether the presence of this option justifies the extra cost of tariff white version compared to the black, with also the little game differences the remote “magic remote” whose color goes hand in hand with the version. Assuming that the black version of this LG is suitable for a dark interior (a dedicated room and moviegoer perhaps?) While the Presto has its place in the living room every day (multimedia atmosphere, WAF & geek is it?).

About resolution…

Both versions share the following characteristic: the use of a DLP 0.47 chip with 4K simulation. This is once again this now common 0.47 chip with XPR-2 technology that will increase with a factor x4 a native Full HD resolution. To summarize, it is certainly a technical device and it is not the native 4k but the visual result exceeds in precision what a 1080P DLP projector manages to broadcast.

However, I have repeatedly pointed out in recent months that the particular management of this recent Texas Instrument chip has some particularly deplorable effects to the image. Indeed, its exact native resolution is 2048 × 1200, but the projected image uses only 1920 × 1080 pixels. And so, so far, in all the models tested the projected light illuminated only part of the micromirror DMD corresponding to 1920 lines by 1080 points.

What makes that 60 pixels around the image contain nothing but remain active and enlightened, causing what I called the “defect of bright frame”, snake served to who better-better by the manufacturers and all the same difficult to swallow. However, O joy! LG seems to have found a solution and the image of this new projector is not affected by this visual defect. I reveal here a little early part devoted to the technical verdict but it is the enthusiasm that is expressed: after all these tests of models affected by this light pollution it is a treat to be able to start on a good basis.

LASER LIGHT SOURCE

The LG HU80K is equipped with a laser light source (2 rows of 6 blue diodes) with phosphor wheel, which must allow delivering 2500 lumens with a stable life in a time of 20 000 hours (consumption between 160 and 240 Watts per hour depending on the energy mode selected). This laser illumination, beyond its longevity compared to a conventional UHP lamp, also has the advantage of almost immediate switching on and off. It supports 4k HDR10 signals but on the other hand, end the deadlock on 3D.

DESIGN

Faced with devices whose size and volume are more like shoe boxes, the LG HU80K stands out by offering a long rectangular shape of 47cm long and 16 cm wide and deep, all this with a weight of 6.7 kg. Suddenly, the object is unusual and it is certain that it will raise questions for those who do not know his formidable vocation (is it a radiator? A speaker? … upright jealousy may see a trash can !?). But lying, standing, spreading on the wall or ceiling, the demonstration will surely fail to nail the beaks.

Where does it fit nicely?

Indeed, the optical block has a metal cover whose inner face is covered with a mirror. This is one of the original features of this model. The HU80K can be placed upright and project its image in reflection on the mirror to reach the screen. This is an interesting solution for nomadic use, remote, or if the projector should be stored after each use. Combined with an electronic and automatic keystone correction device, the geometry of the image is preserved. This design can also allow, if you feel like it, to project movies to the ceiling by watching them lying on your bed, why not the dizzying Star Wars saga, or that of Asterix to feel the fear that sticks to the Gauls!

 

LG HU80KSW PRESTO

Obviously, this laser projector is also perfectly suited to be placed on the ceiling in a dedicated room or placed on a table in front of the audience. In this configuration, the metal shutter with the mirror can retract completely by sticking against the shell.

Zoom (factor 1.2) and focus are fully manual and adjustable via two separate dials. To obtain a base of 2.50 meter in 16 / 9th format, you will need a setback between 2.88 meters and 3.40 meters.

LG HU80KG table position with mirror folded under the hull

CONNECTIVITY

They thought of everything at LG. At jacks accessible from outside the shell (1 HDMI, 1 USB, 1 headphone jack) are added connectors housed in a recess (1 HDMI, 1 USB, 1 optics). More importantly, it is here that comes to conceal the power cable of a length of 3m50 (excuse the little!) Which, like that of a vacuum cleaner, comes to wind completely in internal.

COVER DISSIMULATING THE CONNECTING TRAP

 

CONNECTING AND POWER CABLE

REMOTE CONTROL

The remote control is common to both versions, only the color diverges (black version “G”, white version “Presto”). It comes with a virtual mouse device that moves according to your movements. Since the projector has an internet browser, it is also possible to enter text from this control device.

LG HU80KSW Remote Control

THE MENUS

I will dwell more than usual on this part, by breaking it down into two chapters, the first devoted to the classic management of the image and video processing common to each projector and the second dedicated to the multimedia capabilities of the LG HU80K.

From the outset, the image settings and the video processing applied by this laser DLP leave unsatisfied any passionate desire for video projection. Judge for: 2 or 20-point grayscale dedicated settings, 3-dimensional Gamut CMS, dynamic contrast management, super-resolution, editable and active image interpolation on Full HD and 4K signals (a first at this price!).

LG HU80KSW ADVANCED PICTURE MENU OPTIONS

I would just quibble about marking the absence of a gamma editor and a more classic management ” Gain, Bias ” grayscale.

The projector also allows you to vary the power of the lasers on 3 levels, to increase the sharpness thanks to a mode “super resolution” and finally to fluidity the image thanks to 5 steps preset at the factory and a user mode in which it is possible to adjust the reduction level of judder and blurring.

The available picture modes (and all editable except the HDR mode) are: ” Vivid, Standard, Cinema, Sports, Game, HDR, Technicolor Expert, Expert LightRoom, Dark Room Expert”.

LG HU80KSW FACTORY COLOR MODES

In 4K the LG HU80K supports UHD signals (3840 × 2160p) and 4K (4096 × 2160p) YCbCr 4: 2: 0 YCbCr 4: 2: 01, YCbCr 4: 2: 21 to 8, 10 and 12 bits at 50 and 60hz.

LG HU80KSW PICTURE MODE HDR alien covenant

Compatible fortmats

Side multimedia capabilities, the new LG has the webOS PROJECTOR, a particularly comprehensive OS suitable for dematerialized content (streaming, USB sticks, network) and compatible with the following formats: Full HD video H.264 1920 x 1080 @ 60P BP / MP / HP @ L4.2 40Mbps, HEVC 1920×1080 @ 60P MP@L4.1, Main10 Profile@L4.1 40Mbps, ULTRA HD, H.264 4096 × 2160 @ 60P BP / MP / HP @ L5.1 60Mbps, HEVC 4096 × 2160 @ 60P MP@L5.1, Main10 Profile@L5.1 60Mbps.

LG HU80KSW MEDIA READER

The white version ” Presto ” gives access to LG TV Plus App and offers direct control from a mobile phone. To use the internet browser of the projector it is possible to connect a USB keyboard. The HU80K is also capable of rendering most of the audio codecs and image formats currently available.

TECHNICAL VERDICT

Operating noise

The “low and medium” laser power modes barely take off the needle from our sound level meter which remains partitioned between 29 and 30dB (measured at 50cm); only the switch to full power can exceed 30dB with an acceptable 33dB. The LG HU80K will not fit into the sad corporation of noisy devices, and that too is a point to emphasize as the silence of operation is sought by users.

Sharpness

LG HU80KSW 4K overscan pattern and sharpness

The results obtained in direct mode (without the mirror) are excellent. The image is precise and detailed. Only the edges show some slight chromatic aberrations but it is noticeable only on test patterns. On real images, this new LG amazed me. This is not native 4K resolution but the illusion is there and the rendering of the details goes beyond that of a 1080P DLP projector.

Small precision, even after activating electronic trapezoid correction mode the image remains just as accurate.

The super-resolution mode makes it possible to further increase the general impression of sharpness, but be careful not to overdo it because it tends to add details that are not present in the original image (video noise).

On the other hand, in the configuration “reflection of the image” by means of the mirror (thus in vertical position), the new LG Laser obviously does not give any measure of the precision of its image. I will, therefore, recommend that you avoid this configuration as much as possible. It should only be used occasionally, for example when traveling.

Fluidity

We reach excellence there, even with the aid of fluidity deactivated. I remember in passing that the LG HU80K is able to activate the interpolation of images on 4K signals and that few of its competitors are able to do the same, at least none in its price range. I also reassure all those who do not use this type of device because they do not like the look too “video” given to movies: it is possible to adjust very precisely its effects through the “user” mode.

Input Lag

With its 56.7 meters’ delay in display in its game mode, the LG HU80KWS does not stand out from the competition of other 4K simulation DLP; it is an average value that will not shine the eyes Gamers for which the lowest level of lag is sought, at least less than 30 meters. In other modes, this delay reaches 91 meters.

INPUT LAG LG HU80KSW GAMES MODE

HDMI synchronization

For some time, I have been measuring the time that images take to appear when we change sources. Some unpleasant experiences at JVC, Optoma, and Vivitek pushed me to do it because it is particularly infuriating to see a black screen for a few seconds while the film has already begun. The LG laser will not bother you on this point: a maximum of 3 seconds is necessary to see the image of your film.

LG engineers are the first to offer us a front diffuser 4K simulation without the damned luminous frame that surrounds the image. I do not know how they managed this feat but we must salute. Finally, a projector DLP 4K that broadcasts an image. I do not hide from you that this will be one of the motivations for the award of the Gold Award PHC.FR which will follow in the conclusion (damn I revealed the end!).

I also wonder if this device placed in front of the output of the optical block is not foreign (see photo below). In any case, it works and it is a first after a long series of tests with video projectors adorned with this unpleasant visual defect (Optoma UHD40, UHD51, Acer V6810, BenQ TK800, JVC LX-UH1).

LG HU80KSW OPTICAL BLOCK

Speckle

Laser projectors can be subject to the speckle effect: scab or speckle, more simply a set of small, rapidly fluctuating spots that appear in the instant texture of an image and give it a grainy appearance. But no problem here either: the image of the HU80KWS is clean and smooth if you do not activate the super-resolution mode in too high levels.

Overscan

No worries about the overscan, the video processing internal to the projector do not apply any trimming to the edges of the image. Our sight is restored in its entirety.

CIE expert technicolor

Most of the factory color modes are unusable as they are unless you are an unconditional lover of purple or green hues. To correct all this and to reach a color temperature of 6500K and a gamma of 2.2 with a Gamut HDTV, it is necessary to leave the factory mode “expert technicolor” and to correct the temperature of colors “average”. The gamut of the projector is slightly lower than that of the reference HDTV, with a red and a green under saturated. Despite the absence of a gamma editor, the values selected at the factory make it possible to reach the figures announced with well-linear readings, as well as for the well-managed HDR gamma.

RGB GAMMA EXPERT TECHNICOLOR

For 4K HDR signals, the LG Gamut does not achieve the reference values of the DCI-P3 color space (68.5%) and even less the rec.2020 (49.2%). The fault with the chromatic wheel with phosphorus. The various HDR modes make it possible to illuminate this type of sources.

Advanced CMS Technicolor Expert

Contrast and brightness

Contrast and brightness

The factory selections allow to approach 2500 lumens (2251 maximum) announced by the manufacturer with, however, inappropriate colors to watch a movie in good conditions. With the right settings I get 1110 lumens at full power and 628 lumens in economy mode. With natural colors this LG laser is able to illuminate image bases of 3m50 while maintaining 16 fL.

To increase the contrast, the UH80KSW comes with 3 modes of dynamic laser management. If the native contrast of the projector does not exceed 450/1, the dynamic contrast can raise this number to 1250: 1. Nevertheless the contrast is not the strong point of this diffuser and it will benefit from the combination with a gray technical screen.

I specify that with a laser light source these values are theoretically valid for more than half of the life of the projector is 10000 hours and then they decrease slowly with a drop in performance between 10 and 20%, not what panic beyond measure.

VERDICT SUBJECTIVE

  • Fluidity
  • Sharpness
  • Dynamism

These are the 3 main visual qualities that strike the viewer and user of this new 4K laser DLP. Spectacular movies will be thrilled to be screened in your living room. The long and ruthless traveling shot of the James Bond Ghost of the Fallen Spectrum is full of details and sunshine; as the image flows without any slowdowns or unpleasant artifacts that could disrupt your session.

The high-contrast Ansi of this 4k DLP arrives despite its average native contrast to give the change in the many nocturnal scenes of Alien Covenant. As for Gravity’s spatial scenes, they are illuminated by the dazzling brilliance of the stars while the blacks are still provided with a good depth.

TEST LG HU80KSW ALIEN COVENANT

The HU80KSW is not only comfortable with the 1080P sources it sublimates with the super resolution option, it is also with 4K HDR programs that take advantage of the dynamic image and especially the different modes HDR selectable by the user. A projector without much weakness, so that will deliver you long hours of beautiful cinema with its laser light source. You will understand, dear readers I fell in love with his image.

TEST LG HU80KSW ALIEN COVENANT

CONCLUSION

I admit having some apprehensions at the reception of the LG HU80KSW “Presto”. At the end of this test, I am happy to see that this frustration is now a thing of the past. The LG CineBeam Laser 4K is not only the first 0.47 chip model without the parasitic light frame; but it is also a device that offers after colorimetric adjustments a picture superbly detailed, dynamic and fluid.

At US $2796,99 (You can find this product on Amazon) you also have a remarkably complete system. It is able to project an image of very large size, without outside help and especially with the only mandatory cable that of the power supply.

  • Media capabilities
  • Laser source
  • Remote update by software
  • Silence of operation
  • Flexibility of positioning

All these elements make it a worthy representative of the evolution of the market of the video projection. Thus, it is by awarding the well-deserved Gold Award PHC.FR that we mark our satisfaction and recommend its purchase. Congratulations LG!

PROS and CONS

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Pros

  • The concept
  • The all-in-one video projection solution
  • The image dynamics
  • The menus and plethoric options
  • The sharpness
  • The fluidity
  • The silence of operation
  • The price
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Cons

  • The weakness of the contrast which requires the use of a technical screen
  • The colorimetry to be entirely revised by means of a suitable calibration

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