ViewSonic FULL HD DLP Projector (PJD7822HDL) Review
The ViewSonic PJD7822HDL is a Short-throw Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector that in English means it can beam up to Full HD content (when connected to supported devices) to your wall from about 1 meter to 5ft away. At these distances you get roughly a 40/60” screen; but the further away you get the bigger the image! Mind you I have only tested the projector fully from closer range.
For the most part the projector is designed for the Home consumer market and with a price tag of £479.99 from select online stores the PJD7822HDL does have a lot to offer.
In the box
Inside the box you get supplied with a VGA cable, a UK mains cable, a European mains cable, a Remote control (with batteries), a Quick Start Guide and a ViewSonic Wizard DVD (User Guide/Driver).
You next get to take the projector out of the box and in white the projector does look a sexy bit of kit (if you pardon my cheesy explanation). It also feels light to hold, yet has a certain weight behind it (2.1KG) so as not to portray its lower price tag.
The projector itself is not that large either with dimensions of 268 x 221 x 84.4 mm (WxDxH) and it could easily be transported from A to B. The only snag is you don’t get a travel case in the box, so you either need to borrow one or keep the retail box handy.
To the front of the projector you will find a small infra-red port which sits next to the DLP lens and Viewsonic Logo. To the opposite side you get a front mounted fan. Above this you get zoom and focus controls to aid smaller living rooms; thus you can use the zoom control to get a wider image from a shorter distance.
To the top right side of the projector - towards the back - you also get some manual controls, such as power and menu. These are etched into the casing in a stylish way.
Either side of the projector provides ventilation and this continues around the back - alongside an integrated 2W speaker.
On the underside of the projector you have a mounting point if you want to attach the projector in a traditional fashion onto your ceiling. Additionally towards the front part there is a foot stand that can be adjusted to increase the elevation of the projector itself - when used from a desk.
This system is again pretty handy if you are running the projector in a smaller room. Though it’s here that you do need to use the remote control to adjust the projected image (more about this and the remote functions later).
Extra thought: The white finish of the projector also helps the device blend in with traditional white ceilings.
I must admit you do get a lot of connectivity options that the average consumer will appreciate. Only hardened Hi-Fi enthusiasts will be disappointed by the lack of a 5.1 Digital audio-out.
However for the most part you will find two HDMI-Out connections which is more than adequate for most setups; such as a Cable box and console. On top of this you also have a 5v powered USB port which is another great touch.
With this I could use the Micro PC from Hannspree I had been reviewing to plug this into the HDMI-out port and then use the projector's USB port to run the show.
This also makes the projector a handy option if you own a Google Chrome cast device or the Amazon Fire stick.
To the left side of the HDMI ports you have an RS232 Serial port and a mini-USB connector*. To the right of these you will find a Computer (VGA) In and Monitor (VGA) Out port. Then you will find an S-Video, Composite video port, line-in and line-out (headphones etc).
I have to admit that from my point of view there was just about enough connectivity options here.
TV purists though will have to make do with a cable or separate TV box as the device does not come equipped with a HD TV Tuner.
It does however have the capabilities to display 3D films, but sadly no glasses were supplied in the box. For testing therefore I was scuppered, but I did enable the 3D mode on my Xbox One and played Street Dance 3D through it. I can confirm the film was definitely showing in 3D.
On the plus side the 3D element does use the DLP Link protocol, which in English makes it compatible with a wider range of 3D glasses. Mind you Viewsonic recommend a pair of PGD-350 Active-shutter Glasses for this box, which are not exactly cheap (something like £81). Thankfully due to the technology used you can grab cheaper alternatives and go for a pair as low as £8 if you shop about (but you get what you pay for as the old saying goes). At least you have multiple options to go to 3D technology if the need arises.
Setup & Remote
I’ve already mentioned how you can adjust the stand and lens to make it wider/improve focus, but the main setup of the projector is basically controlled from the remote (though you do have your manual controls to).
The remote itself is small but thanks to some thoughtful design touches it sits comfortably in the hand and the inclusion of the non-slip rubber coating for all the buttons is another welcome touch. The only downside is the buttons are not backlit, but to be honest the white lettering and characters used are viewable from the light of the projected image and there are not that many adjustments needed when you get fully setup anyway.
I have to admit plugging in my Micro PC. Gaming PC or Xbox One console into the projector was relatively straight forward. The device will auto-detect which device is plugged in, but if you have more than one source the remote can be used to quickly select the correct option.
If you adjusted the stand like I did then you will need to utilise the Keystone correction option - via the remote. Basically in laymen's terms it straightens the image when it’s beamed onto a wall at an elevated angle. Additionally I had to physically angle the projector on the desk itself to get the image displaying correctly. Thankfully all of these adjustments were pretty painless.
Stop for thought
Once the projector was on and connected to my source it was at this point that I stopped to take in two noticeable features. For example the DLP lens can throw out some pretty impressive brightness and this certainly helps the screen achieve a viewable picture even when there is a lot of ambient light. In fact it’s really impressive just how easy the screen is to view in ambient light - especially with a large window behind me!
Sadly the second thing that hits you is the not so inviting noise from the front fan. With such brightness comes added heat and the fan is certainly working itself hard to keep the innards cool. As a result you do get a lot more heat dissipated from the front of the device - so don’t put your chocolates there! - plus more noise in the bargain. Note: Mind you this does reduce when running in Eco mode.
I must admit I was worried if the noise would be a killer blow for the projector but I’m happy to say it wasn't, as you tend not to notice it as much (well I didn’t) when you are immersed in a film or game! More on this in a moment.
Back to the options for a moment. The projector has a few colour pre-sets such as PC, Dynamic PC, Movie, Dynamic Movie and two user pre-sets that can be configured to adjust the viewable image (there is even an advanced colour pattern correction option if memory serves so you can get improved accuracy with the right tools). For example you can adjust brightness, contrast, sharpness, colour and tint.
I was surprised though by the lack of a dedicated mode for gaming, but the PC options were good enough for most purposes (as was the two user modes). Pretty much the colour mode button will be used most during its lifetime.
You also get options for adjusting the Dynamic contrast (only if used in User modes) and setting the projector into Eco mode - which automatically puts the brightness down by 70% (useful at night). The latter also helps with the TCO (total cost of ownership); as does the lack of needing no air filters to clean or change.
You also get a mode to adjust how the projector is placed, so for example if it’s upside down stuck on the ceiling you have an option to tell it how to project the image.
Additionally you get a zoom function on the remote (1.3x) which should not be confused with the wider zoom lens control at the top of the projector.
The zoom function is pretty good when watching movies with larger bars at the top and bottom of the display as it can eliminate these. You also have an auto-pan function in this mode if you find the picture is not tracking properly.
Towards the base of the remote you get basic volume controls to adjust the built in 2W speaker output and there are a couple of other handy options which I liked including a Pattern mode which produces a number of patterns that can help you setup the picture correctly i.e. focus.
Finally you get a freeze mode (which freezes the picture in place) and a blank option to display a black image - handy if you don't want to be blinded when you come back into the room!
I probably have missed out a few options but I have included pretty much all of the choices in the image gallery which you can view at the base of the post. However from a consumer point of view I think the projector pretty much takes care of most of your needs. So once it’s in place and focused properly you just leave it and concentrate on adjusting the colour pre-sets and volume.
Note: I also forgot to mention that the remote has a 'My Button' mode which can be set in the menu option to quickly perform a particular function quickly. For example display info, enable Auto off, DCR or switch to 3D sync mode. Thus you pretty much get your own custom option. Additionally the remote worked in front and behind of the projector, so it does have a respectable line-of sight does this little remote. I think on the whole the remote does a grand job!