So, many of us are buying "transition" projectors that will hold us over until projectors that better tap the 4k spec are available at a reasonable price, with solid state light source, 4K UHD resolution, 3D, HDR10, 2500+ lumens, and 95%+ DCI-P3 coverage. There is basically nothing under $10k that does all of this.
So, for my transition projector I (re)purchased the Vivitek H9090. I originally bought this unit and returned it within the 4hr test period due to some significant artifacts I discovered with the Dynamic Black mechanism, even at 4x setting (the lowest). However, with the extremely low price AVSCIENCE has now (a large amount less than what I originally paid for it the first time, actually the price I paid does not fit this subforum
), it was a no brainer as I very much needed a solid state projector immediately for reasons I won't get into.
So here are my impressions; I am not going to get into measurements, calibrations, etc - Art Feierman's projector reviews review does all of that much more comprehensively with this model than I have the time to do if you want to check it out. But below I will detail my subjective impressions after using the unit frequently for a couple of months.
1. THE LIGHT SOURCE
I cannot express how joyous it is to not have to worry about a projector bulb. No worry about lamp strikes, fear of whether you left the projector on, checking of bulb hours, or measurements/remeasurements of brightness to see if you have to redo your settings to make up for the lamp dimming, and no messes to clean up since there is no chance of bulb explosion. ...Ever turned off the projector but wanted to turn it back on to check a setting quickly, but didn't want the lamp strike? Well guess what, no worries anymore with solid state just turn it on as no lamp! I left the projector on for around 36 hours the other day - who cares! Its very nice not to be tied down to bulb life. The LED light source also exhibits beautiful color for Blu-ray in rec709 mode and could potentially be used for bt2020 with the right equipment in native mode (I haven't tried the latter yet due to lack of time). Startup times are like 15-20 seconds and shutdown is near instantaneous - no need to run this on a UPS to protect the bulb in power outages like a lamp projector. Projector puts out around 800 lumens calibrated, which works great for SDR on my 119" 0.9 gain screen in fully darkened room.
2. THE LENS
The lens on the H9090 is top notch. While not perfect, the chromatic aberration on a 1 pixel white grid is extremely low. Sharpness and color is killer with this projector - my cousin was over watching "Gatsby" and within 3 or 4 minutes said "This is a 4k projector, right?"
It is so sharp and colorful, it fooled my cousin into thinking he was watching 4K HDR. Gatsby is actually a great demo piece for this projector; it fully exposes its sharpness and beautiful color rendering. Add a 0.95" DC3 DMD into the mix and things get even sharper. There also is a generous amount of lens shift which helps with placement.
3. RAINBOW EFFECT
I have watched many movies, played many games, etc. Rainbow effect is essentially nonexistent on this projector. While RBE doesn't bother me with typical 4x RGBRGB wheels I can see it. This projector's LED cycling speed is approximately 18x, so even for things that would typically generate RBE like high contrast white on black, you really don't see it here.
Extremely quiet, just a very low hum of the fans (25db at max power). Remains extremely quiet for 5-6 hours of continuous use. Ramps up a bit after its been on for over 6 hours, but then will settle down a little after cooled.
5. BLACK LEVELS and DYNAMIC BLACK
Like most DLP projectors, black levels without dynamic black are not spectacular. However, with Dynamic Black at 4x the black levels are very convincing. Sadly, there are instances where you will notice brightness pumping and stepping; usually this happens when there is a instant back-and-forth between dark and bright scenes that the projector needs to dramatically alter the LED levels back and forth. An example of this is in THE DARK KNIGHT where Harvey Dent and Rachel are tied up in the warehouses and Batman has to choose one of the two to save. When Harvey and Rachel are communicating back and forth, Rachel is in a dark room and Harvey a super bright room. You can see some "steps" and pumping here. Another example I noticed an artifact was the credits of Blade Runner; since blade runner uses a dim red font for the credits, at one point the dynamic dimming engaged and brought down the peak level due to a very short name - this was noticeable as it deviated in brightness from the previous credit. Despite these examples, these artifacts do not occur for every movie and when they do occur its usually only 1 or 2 instances per entire movie. For black and white movies, you also will get better accuracy with dynamic black disabled. It is the one and only weak spot I see of this projector, but it is something I can live with given the new price and the projectors other great benefits. Despite the artifact here or there, I leave this enabled at 4x due to how great it works 95% of the time.
Motion is spectacular with this projector. Smooth and natural at 24p, with its Gennum processing. Fast action also remains sharp and detailed, such as when watching sports.
7. 3D, HDR, 4K, FI
It has none of these. IMO 24p/30p/60p are so smooth natively it doesn't need FI.
This projector also excels at gaming with its 16ms input lag time. This is essentially 1 frame lag at 60fps, can't ask for much better than this. Great for competitive FPS games.
9. BUILD QUALITY
Built like a tank, literally. Full aluminum enclosure looks like it could be run over by a car and still work just fine. Lens looks and feels like a professional piece of equipment.
I am extremely satisfied with the projector at its current price point and this gives me some time to sit and watch the prices drop and features build in the 4K solid state market. I can reap the benefits of solid state projection right now without spending a lot of money or having to buy used - note that the H9090 comes with a 5yr warranty! While I can see this projector not being for everyone, for someone who wants a transition projector where solid state as a priority, but doesn't want to buy used this is a great deal!
I suspect my "transition" period might be quite a while as after using this projector for some time I am extremely satisfied, moreso than I thought I would be based on my initial 4hr demo. This is great as it gives me time to watch the 4k prices fall and features rise while I enjoy my current pj. While it has some weaknesses, as an entire package for its current price it is hard to beat.