Got mine in today. I am on the fence about keeping it. Initial impressions:Cons:
Not as "vibrant" as I'd like (combination of brightness/saturation)
Not quite as sharp as I'd likePros:
Tiny (and lightweight)
Fast boot time (~5 seconds)
Reasonably quiet (I guess it'd be loud if you hadn't owned a projector before)
Large screen size
Onboard speaker is way better than expected
My biggest complaint is that it isn't as vibrant as I'd like. I think it has to do with the brightness and saturation, but I'm not exactly sure. I can tweak the brightness, but then it blows out (and still doesn't look super bright); I can tweak the saturation, but then people start looking funny
For comparison, my previous projector was a Mitsubishi HD1000u: (1500 lumens, 2500:1 constrast ratio, also 720p)
The Viewsonic site says that LED lumens are perceived as 2.5x to the human eye, so I should be seeing around 1250 lumens in theory (for reference, my testing was done on a white wall with a WDTV Live Streaming network media player). The PLED-W500 definitely has better contrast for lighter scenes. "Bolt" usually blows out the whites on the dog's fur, but it did a good job keeping up. Black/dark sequences were a bit of a struggle until I tweaked the settings. Seems to struggle a bit on the really dark scenes though (ex. Bourne movies). Mostly, as far as the vibrance or brilliance thing goes, it almost looks like it's being shot through a piece of tinted glass - like when you look out the car window on a sunny day and you know it's bright, but it's being darkened. Like the vibrance has been sucked out of it a bit.
My assumption is that this mostly has to do with the 500 lumen count. However, in some shots, it seems plenty bright. For example, when the blue Viewsonic logo with the birds first appears, it looks plenty bright. In some shots, like in the flying scenes in "How to Train your Dragon", it looks well-lit. The saturation of the colors just doesn't "pop" like my old bulb-based DLP did (and this is testing in a light-controlled, pitch-black room). I'll try my laptop and a Bluray player and see if perhaps I can get a different amount of brightness out some other way (spent awhile tweaking the projector settings with limited success). Mostly I suspect this is due to the low lumen count. It should really just be a lot more vibrant, especially the stuff like How to Train your Dragon (but then again, it is a business-travel projector, and it's already doing more than I anticipated!).
The second, and lesser, complaint is that the sharpness is like a hair
off. It's like when you get your eyes tested and it's one lens click before they nail your prescription (if you wear glasses). However, I mostly only notice it for text - movies seem fine for the most part. So a little soft but not terribly soft.
It does blow up well. The largest I could go in my room was 190" and it looked pretty good there. It is somewhat annoying not having a zoom on the lens, but it's so small and light that it's not really a big deal. I also really like the auto-keystone feature (worked out of the box); that made it easy for repositioning and not having to tweak it. The onboard speaker was surprisingly good; much better than my laptop speakers. I didn't mind the fan noise - it's a projector, it has to blow hot air out. Is it somewhat "loud"? Sure. Not as bad as my last projector, and I couldn't hear the fans over even the onboard speaker.
I really like the fast bootup time. 5 or 6 seconds to a screen. Super awesome. Wish it had more vibrance - more zing/color pop. Very mild softness is no biggie. I'll play around with it some more. I'm on the fence about keeping it because of the brightness issue...it's going to live in a light-controlled room when I'm not using it for presentations and I was hoping for a wee bit more of a "pop" with the picture. If I remember, I'll follow up in a couple days after some more testing.Edited by Kaido - 8/8/12 at 7:18pm