Why the LG-PB60G LED Projector is Awesome
My Former Predisposition Against Projectors
Being a youthful man, it stands to reason that I will have an opinion on everything in this world and most of my opinions will be horribly flawed. When it came to video projectors, my bias against them was strong and I felt that my case was equally as competent because I believed:
- Projectors require a COMPLETELY blacked out room
- Projector prices are well beyond most reasonable budgets
- The lamps are very expensive and have a very limited lifespan
- The visual quality can never compare to most normal monitors
- You have to use a special reflective screen (and pay a painful price for it)
- You have to wait for the lamp to be ready before you may use it
The thing is, however, my beliefs were mostly only valid because of two factors. The first one was my lack of knowledge and the second was that the projectors that I had based these beliefs on relied on a UHP or Ultra High Performance lamp as a light source. The introduction of LED's or Light Emitting Diodes as a light source, has changed the game completely.
First of all, the reliability and consistency of output from a LED results in an expected lifespan of 30000 hours as compared to the standard 1000 hours for a UHP lamp (according to AAXA Technologies). To put that into perspective, 3 years contain 26280 hours back-to-back. I'm sure that dangerously exceeds the recommended dosage of viewing time for any human. The reliability of LED's also means that, unlike their UHP equivalents, the picture quality won't deteriorate over time. LED's also operate at a tenth of the temperature and take up a fraction of the amount of space taken by a UHP lamp.
By now, you're probably thinking that there must be some kind of catch... Well, I'm sad to say,there is. When you consider that a projector has to violently and accurately hurtle light at a large surface from a reasonable distance, you realize that brightness would definitely be a deciding factor when comparing projectors. Brightness (apparently) is measured in ANSI Lumens (abbreviated "Lm"). An entry level UHP projector typically operates in excess of about 2000Lm where the LED competitors peak at about 500Lm. However, this is where I decide to stop looking at specs and let the projector's performance speak for itself.
What's Your View on Projectors?
Would you replace your HDTV with a Projector?
The LG-PB60G In Action
When I initially received the projector, it was handed to me by someone that was doing promotions for the product. All I received was the projector, a nifty grey pouch, a power supply and a laughably short HDMI cable. I soon found out, though, that that was more than I actually needed. I instantly cleared the largest vertical surface I could find, connected the projector to a power source and connected my Lenovo S6000 tablet to the HDMI input. When I pressed the elegant power button for the first time, the projector was only about a meter away from the wall but the image quality was great.
I proceeded to move the projector back after reading in an online user manual that the maximum projecting distance was roughly 3,5 meters from the surface. What I ended up with was an image with a width of 2,5 meters (the equivalent of a 110 inch TV) and I was impressed. Before this, I had connected my tablet to a few LG, Samsung and Hisense HDTV's and they had all butchered the aspect ratio and cut off edges on all settings. The PB60G, did not do this.
Changing the settings was also extremely easy via the controls on the top of the projector. The auto Keystone function and the projector's step by step video calibration guide (a.k.a. 'Picture Wizard II) makes optimizing the image quality a breeze. The projector also has a wireless remote to control the functions, but my promo guy didn't seem to think I needed to have that, so I didn't. The user manual also claims that you can have a 3-D viewing experience if you have the appropriate DLP-Link 3D glasses and a capable video source.
I was also amazed that the PB60G had built in speakers. But I was immediately disappointed, because they were useless. However, the 3,5mm audio jack makes it very easy to connect your favorite headset or any set of desktop speakers for adequate sound of your choosing. However, you wouldn't expect great audio processing or output capabilities from a TV, so why judge that aspect at all.
Another nifty feature is the USB port on the back that allows you to connect a flash drive containing your favorite movies and watch them at high quality without connecting a single other external device (apart from some speakers maybe). The projector even claims to be able to open Microsoft Office Documents for more corporate applications.
The wall on which I was projecting wasn't white. It's a darkish shade of grey. That should lead to some disappointing results, but it doesn't. Comparing it to my 27 inch full HD PC screen and a 32 inch LG TV with 1366x768 native resolution the image was a little "soft" as they'd call it. Obviously you don't get the vivid, super bright and super sharp image of a LCD/LED screen, however, the image is still great. The detail at the 1280x800 native resolution is impeccable and the colors remain vibrant even against a grey wall.
The Knockout blow from the little projector, however, is this: This image can easily be viewed from the comfort of my bed, 7 meters away from the wall on which I'm projecting. Even from this distance every detail is still completely distinguishable. Did I mention that the projector also has to compete with a South African sunset bleeding through the curtains in front of my Westward facing window? I think the fact that you have this massive 110 inch display of decent quality and in circumstances that are far from ideal easily negates the slight lack of blinding brightness. Now that I think of it, it's almost painful to look at my PC screen after watching a movie on the projector. The projector is actually doing my eyes a favor by not being immensely bright.
5 Stars for the LG-PB60G
Is It Pricey?
The general price range for projectors can be anywhere from $300 up to many thousands of Dollars. However, replacing the lamp in a UHP projector would probably cost you the same as the projector itself due to the volatile nature of the lamps. The lower priced (under $1000) models would also generally not be too reliable and that could lead to major maintenance costs.
The PB60G prices at about $600 which - considering everything mentioned here and also taking into account the 30000 hour estimated operating life span - is a major bargain. If you further consider that your resulting image is equivalent to a 110 inch screen and that you'd typically struggle stealing a 70 inch (piece of rubbish) LCD monitor, it becomes clear just how much of a bargain this little projector is.
There are also many other models made by LG and other big names in the projector industry that boast the same specs on paper, so it might be beneficial to shop around a bit and get some extra features like WiFi connectivity or even better video quality. It's also important to note that the PB60G was launched in October 2012 and that the technology will only get better and more efficient with time.
For the average home user looking for a great viewing experience at a super low cost, I think LED projectors are revolutionary and in my opinion the little LG-PB60G serves as a pioneer for similar products that are slowly going to take over this antiquated market.