We’ve said this before, sales of home projectors have seen an upswing in the post-pandemic world. It’s not just premium projectors that are seeing this surge. We’re seeing the home projector segment mature with multiple product categories that address different segments of buyers at varying price points. Home projectors were considered a ‘risky’ buy at a sub Rs 1 lakh price point. Most of the concerns revolved around service issues and longevity (will the lamp last long enough). That’s changed as customers get used to faster product replacement cycles for all categories including TVs and smartphones and as projector manufacturers have addressed these concerns with clear communication around lamp life and service. ViewSonic’s LS500WHP makes a play for first-time projector buyers with a product that’s also tailored for the educational segment in many other global markets.
Most manufacturers will tell you that their projectors are truly portable. I tested this claim with the LS500WHP. I actually fitted this projector into a tote bag (with the cable) without damaging the bag. With a 2.45kg footprint, this projector is easy to move around. Perfect if you want to round up your wolf pack at a friend’s place for live sports action. This projector is compact enough to fit into your living spaces and looks elegant with large ventilation grilles. You get multiple buttons and status LEDs on the top but you’re unlikely to use these buttons given the intuitive remote that’s bundled in the box.
I must confess that I toned down my expectations around the picture quality based on the price tag (Rs 72,000) and yet this projector surprised me with the overall image quality. The projector supports content with resolution from VGA (640 x 480 pixels) to Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). ViewSonic pegs the maximum brightness at 2,000 ANSI Lumens/3,000 LED Lumens with a Dynamic contrast: 3,000,000: 1. You can achieve projections of 30 to 300 inches. Colours are quite good while blacks are quite deep; we’d recommend ‘Movie mode’ for the best results.
I used one of the HDMI ports to hook this projector with a Google Chromecast and it worked like a breeze. One of the downsides of this projector is the in-built speakers (2W) that don’t quite do justice to the large screen action. ViewSonic doesn’t offer a Bluetooth connectivity option either; I had to rely on a physical cable to connect with a soundbar. This should work for most users who use a soundbar or a conventional home theatre system. We found the fan of the cooling system to be quite silent and unintrusive.
ViewSonic estimates the lamp life at 30,000 hours. That should address any apprehensions potential buyers have around longevity and one of the key product attributes that makes this a compelling option at this price. Set up is easy, colours are quite vibrant and most of all this is a compact projector that slips into your backpack or tote.
The ViewSonic LS500WHP costs Rs 72,000.