Viewsonic Precision Pro8100
It's hip to be square
- Huge array of advanced features and controls, excellent image clarity and colour fidelity, quiet operation
- It's one of the biggest space-hogs we've seen
The home theatre projector has fallen on hard times of late, but don't let that stop you from considering this exceptional model. Both user-friendly and feature rich, it delivers an incredible high-def movie experience for the asking price. Ignore the industry doomsayers: Viewsonic's Pro8100 will make willing converts of anyone who sees it up and running.
Price$ 3,999.00 (AUD)
The meteoric rise of the widescreen TV has robbed home theatre projectors of much of their former allure. Once considered the ultimate in cinematic luxury, they have since become something of an endangered species — rather like the bearded, middle-aged men who swear by them (you know the type we’re talking about: most of them are also fans of Betamax and/or LaserDisc).
However, there’s no need to beat the funeral drum just yet. If ViewSonic's LCD-based Precision Pro8100 is anything to go by, there’s still plenty of mainstream mileage to be made from projection technology. Granted, at $3999 this isn’t something you’d go out and buy on a whim, but it does manage to bestride the gulf between the consumer and enthusiast markets. Sporting ‘full HD’ 1080p resolution, PCS Color Enhancement technology, two HDMI v1.3 inputs, 10-bit colour processing, a 13,000:1 contrast ratio and 33 levels of gamma correction, it is one of the most feature-rich LCD projectors in its price range.
Before we peek under the Pro8100’s shiny hood, let’s take a look at the overall design. From the very first glimpse, there’s no mistaking this for anything other than a high-end projector. When we showed it to some passing friends, the words "Juggernaut", "Colossus" and "Behemoth" were uttered in hushed, awe-filled tones (admittedly, they were on their way to a Ray Harryhausen movie marathon, but that’s neither here nor there). With dimensions of 543x136x388mm, this is a truly gargantuan piece of kit that will form the (rear) centrepiece of any home theatre setup.
Its tapering oblong design is finished in a sleek midnight black, with superfluous lights and logos kept to a minimum. This helps to give the device an appropriately professional feel, with the saucer-sized lens dominating proceedings. (For those who’d prefer something a bit more colourful, ViewSonic also offers red, grey and white versions of the same model.) All up, we don’t have any qualms about the Pro8100’s design, although finding somewhere to store it could be a bit of a problem. (Mind you, if you’re the type of person who can afford a $4000 projector, house space probably isn’t much of an issue.)
Thankfully, the superb level of build quality also extends to the user interface. Whether you prefer a ‘bums-on-seats’ patron experience, or the hands-on role of a professional projectionist, the Pro8100 has you covered.
The number of colour-tweaking options on offer is particularly impressive, with the ability to adjust individual skin tones, picture modes, grey scale optimisation, colour saturation, hue and temperature (with a choice between presets or full customisation), isolated colour calibration, plus no fewer than 33 segments of gamma correction — and that’s just scratching the surface. You can also adjust the level of blackness via five separate presets, including the Spinal Tap-inspired ‘Blacker Than Black’.
Zoom and focus are controlled digitally via a side-mounted directional pad. Unfortunately, because both functions are represented by a single button, it’s all too easy to adjust the focus when you want to adjust the zoom and vice-versa (despite the brief appearance of an onscreen icon). We feel a separate toggle switch wouldn’t have gone astray here, though it’s a small quibble to be sure. Naturally, vertical/horizontal shift can also be achieved via the directional pad.
A clearly focused image can be projected from as close as 1.25 metres, up to a maximum of 9.36 metres from the screen or wall. The projector is able to project a maximum image size of 300in; this compares favourably with other projectors in this price range. While brightness from the unit is a comparatively low 1100 ANSI lumens, it should be acceptable for use in a moderately lit room.
To test the Pro8100’s high-definition capabilities, we hooked up the device to an Olin ODBP-1000 Blu-ray player using the included HDMI cable. We then watched the rubbish Kevin Costner action movie The Guardian, which was the only Blu-ray move we had to hand. (The things we do for our readers…)
Even with default settings enabled, the level of detail was nothing short of remarkable. Each crevice on Costner’s weather-beaten face was etched in terrifying detail. Never one to pass up a scientific opportunity, we paused the film during a close-up shot and attempted to count every individual wrinkle (for a total of 36). Kidding aside, the sharpness and clarity exhibited was exceptionally impressive.
Likewise, colour reproduction was uniformly excellent, with the system’s 10-bit colour processor and professional-level HQV video scaler upping the vibrancy while reducing image noise. This is further enhanced by the projector's Precision Colour System, which automatically finetunes and corrects colour errors in any given image. We can’t stress enough how good this projector’s output looks. But the jewel in the crown is arguably its near-soundless operation: perfect for those tense silent bits in movies just before somebody gets shot.
The Pro8100 comes with a solid selection of connectors: two HDMI 1.3 ports, a pair of component inputs, a D-Sub PC port, S-Video and a composite video jack, along with a USB and RS-232C port for additional home theatre integration. In addition to the projector itself, the New Zealand-sized sales package includes a power cable, component cable, user guide, a micro-fibre wiping cloth, a velvet projector dust cover, a remote control (with batteries) and an HDMI cable.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 3 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
- 5 Parrot Mambo Drone review
Latest News Articles
- Sony’s new liquid-cooled 4K home video projector delivers 5000 lumens of brightness, costs $60,000
- BenQ targets Epson with revamped home entertainment projectors
- LG's new Laser Display gives you 100in of full HD glory
- Vivid Sydney 2012 gets some love from will.i.am
- InFocus releases cheap short-throw projector
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTFinancial Planner - Sydney CBDNSW
- TPIT Document Writer And TrainerVIC
- CCProject Manager - Cabling, Network Sys Design and DeliveryNSW
- CCNetwork Solution Designer/Architect - Finance - Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCIngres DeveloperNSW
- CCPerformance Test AnalystSA
- FTRF EngineerNSW
- FTDevelopment Manager / Engineering Manager - Canberra RoleACT
- CCBusiness and Reporting AnalystWA
- TPProjects Planning ManagerQLD
- FTSecurity ConsultantQLD
- CCPlatform Services EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Architect, Financial MarketsNSW
- TPSHAREPOINT SPECIALISTQLD
- FTAngular DeveloperSA
- TPBusiness Systems AnalystQLD
- FTPMO Coordinator - Permanent Opportunity!NSW
- CCMiddleware SpecialistACT
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCSupport OfficerSA
- CCSolution Designer and DeveloperNSW
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- FTSolutions Architect - Data Centre/ NetworkNSW
- CCInfrastructure Architect - Immediate Start - Migration Project -Hyper-V & VMWareNSW
- CCProject Finance Analyst (Contract)VIC