The Joys of Laser Projection Big Screen With TV Seating Facility
one minute review
The Hisense 100L5 isn’t exactly your average TV. This becomes a lot clearer once you look at the fact that it gives you a massive 100-inch screen for less money than many regular 75-inch TVs.
The main reason it can offer so many inches for your buck is that it’s not strictly speaking TV. Rather it’s an ultra-short throw projector combined with a rigid 100-inch projection screen that’s designed to reject ambient light so you don’t have to darken your room every time you look at it.
The projector is a DLP case illuminated by Laser Lighting, which means it can be brighter than regular lamp projectors and reach a wider range of colors. It won’t need to replace its laser during its lifetime, unlike lamp projectors, and can be switched on more or less instantly, without significant warmup or cooldown times, unlike regular projectors.
It even surpasses most regular projectors, along with several major streaming apps, by including both a tuner and a built-in smart TV system.
All of this fits perfectly with the 100L5’s bid to feel more like a TV than a projector. The amount of brightness and color it can retain on its specially designed screen even when the lights or curtains are open is truly striking. Despite not being pixel perfect for a Pixel 4K projector, it manages to give 4K sources a very solid 4K look.
With a speaker system cleverly built into the back edge of the projector, sounding good enough to outperform most TV audio systems, the only big catch with the 100L5 for its money is that it’s well suited to dark home theater conditions. To be is not the opposite.
price and availability
- Hisense Laser TV range is available in 88, 100 and 120-inch sizes
- The 100L5 costs £2,999 / AUS$6,999 / €3,499 / $3,699 . is
- It is available – with minor changes – in most major global regions
Hisense has really started to get its market localization act together in recent times, so it’s no surprise to find a relatively esoteric and expensive AV product like the 100L5 now widely available around the world.
What’s more surprising is how cheap the 100L5 is in all the areas it shows up. You might be considering spending five to 10 times more than the 100L5 costs to buy a regular 100-inch LCD TV. That kind of bang for your buck is sure to come, and has undoubtedly played a big part in Hisense receiving despite the potential difficulties associated with displaying and installing its latest ‘laser TV’ proposition at mainstream retailers around the world. able to do. Such a unique product.
- 100-inch rigid screen fits your wall
- Ultra short throw projector sits just inches from screen
- Includes a powerful speaker system in its rear edge
Since it ships in two parts—the projector and the screen—the 100L5 costs little more than a 100-inch TV directly mounted to your room. That said, while the screen is thinner than most LCD TVs, the projector can actually sit within nearly touching distance of your wall. So certainly not the usual projection problem causing the projector to sit in the middle of your room or near your seating position.
The projector is big enough, for the usual ultra-short throw design. There must be some room for light to bounce around inside the unit, before emerging through the slit on the top edge of the projector. It wears its shape well, though, thanks to the silver and gray two-tone design and rear-mounted, felt speaker section. Given that the projector sits right against your wall, this back is actually the part of the projector that is most visible from your sitting position.
The 100L5 has a sensor that can turn off the laser if it starts to bend over the image aperture, so that no one is blind.
Ultra short throw laser projector systems can be suitably designed to set up, as it is more difficult than regular projectors to position the image and focus perfectly on the companion screen. However, while Hisense has tried to make installation easy thanks to an autoinstall app that fixes the picture based on a simple photo of your image taken on your phone, impressively the brand offers a free one with every 100L5. Also running home installation service. All you need to do is register your purchase online and book an appointment for the installation. This makes the 100L5’s price even better.
Connections on the 100L5’s projector include four HDMIs—the same number you’d expect to see on a TV, and two more than you’d normally find on projectors. None of the HDMI is made for the 2.1 standard, however, with no support for 4K at 120Hz, variable refresh rate or eARC. However, regular ARC (Audio Return Channel) is supported, and there’s also a pair of USB inputs for multimedia file playback, an optical digital audio output, a headphone jack, and both Ethernet and Wi-Fi network options.
Many of these connections again aren’t the things you’d expect on a projector, but a lot you’d expect on a TV. As is the most unexpected connection discovery of all: an RF port for the built in digital TV tuner.
Smart TV (VIDAA)
- Direct and Responsive VIDAA System
- Good service localization (including Freeview Play in the UK)
- There is currently no support for Disney+, Apple TV or Now TV
Although Hisense isn’t averse to using the Android TV or Roku TV smart platform on its TVs, it has opted to use its own VIDAA system for the Ledger TV. It has some upsides and some downsides.
On the contrary, VIDAA works effectively. You can navigate around its simple, icon-driven menus without any sluggishness, and apps boot and update unobtrusively.
Hisense has struck deals with a number of big streaming players – notably Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Rakuten TV and, in the UK, Freeview Play. There’s currently no support for Apple TV, Disney+ or Now TV, but Hisense tells us it expects to be able to add the first two of these services to VIDAA before the end of 2021.
The VIDAA system is in some ways not as sophisticated as the best rival smart TV platforms. For example, there’s no real effort to learn your viewing habits and automatically build a ‘bespoke’ content recommendation system, and there’s no voice recognition support. But I suspect that VIDAA’s simplicity will actually be very welcome for many users.
Starting our tests intentionally by running the 100L5 in regular living room conditions rather than the completely blacked out rooms typically required for projector testing, the first impressions of the Hisense 100L5’s pictures are seriously striking.
The projector’s high, laser-induced brightness combined with the benefit of the screen and the shorter distance the projector’s light needs to travel before it reaches the screen results in a picture you can still really enjoy. When you have a significant amount of ambient light in the room. Bright images still look punchy and vibrant, with surprisingly full-blooded colors and eye-catching intensity levels the projector just shouldn’t be able to manage in a light room.
Brightness is also matched by an impressively wide color gamut, helping the 100L5 avoid the mild, washed out colors you typically see when you try to view a projector in bright rooms.
Along with making the 100L5’s photos exceptionally viewable in bright conditions, the combination of high brightness and wide color range helps it produce some of the most effective, solid High Dynamic Range (HDR) pictures we’ve seen on projectors. Have seen since today. As always where a projector is included, there’s no support for Dolby Vision or HDR10+ active HDR systems, but Hisense’s processing handles more basic HDR10 and HLG systems well.
The lightest parts of the 100L5’s pictures are so rich and bright that they manage to reassure even the darkest areas. The sense that the 100L5 can deliver good black levels, it turns out, is an illusion created by the combination of the system’s high brightness, vibrant colors, and the screen’s light-rejecting qualities. But as soon as the confusion goes, it’s good.
The way the rendered screen uses a lenticular surface structure to prevent ambient light from interfering with the picture is one of the ‘you need to see it to believe it’ AV success stories. It’s hard to believe Hisense’s claims that the screen can reject more than 90% of ambient light, but that’s certainly enough to align with the 100L5’s desire to be viewed as a larger-screen TV than a projector. Works well enough.
Despite the difficulties associated with achieving flawless focus and geometry on an ultra short throw projector, the 100L5’s photos are crisp and sharp. Native HD sources are magnified in a systematic way without exaggerating the source noise, providing additional density and sharpness. Even better, native 4K sources actually look like they have four times more pixels than HD images—the projector doesn’t actually provide a native 4K pixel count, despite the single-chip DLP optics.
The so-called double flashing system that the 100L5 uses to create the 4K effect is actually confirmed by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) as being capable of delivering a true 4K experience. And while the results are pretty much a match for Sony and JVC’s latest native 4K projectors in their urgency and clarity, they’re good enough for a projector/screen system that’s giving you so much for so little cash.
Good Although the 100L5’s performance is in regular living room conditions, there are some relatively minor niggles. For example, if you have to look at the screen from a very high angle, the 100L5’s images drop a bit in sharpness. I sometimes felt…