Due to its TriChroma laser light source, the L9G can reproduce an incredibly wide color gamut. It's one thing to be able to produce a massive range of colors but it's another thing to utilize this ability accurately. Hisense is a major flat panel TV manufacturer with lots of experience in critical color tuning so the L9G's color reproduction out of the box is very good.
The Hisense L9G has a total of 8 preset picture modes for SDR and 7 presets for HDR (the two theater modes in SDR and only one in HDR). The THEATER DAY and THEATER NIGHT modes were the most accurate factory SDR picture modes and were nearest to my color temperature target of 6,500K.
While these modes listed above deliver more accurate colors in SDR, they also produce less brightness. The VIVID, GAME and SPORTS modes are the brightest and are designed to fight through high ambient light. The one thing you might notice is that these brighter modes are clearly bluer in tone. In addition, Hisense also includes an Energy Saving mode.
Overall, the Hisense L9G Laser TV preset picture modes deliver picture quality that will satisfy most folks considering it for their homes.
While the color reproduction of the L9G out-of-the-box is better than most Laser TV and DLP projectors, I still calibrated the THEATER NIGHT Mode for SDR.
Since your room and screen material can have a major impact on the overall picture, I don’t recommend using someone else's calibration adjustments. If your room is brighter/darker or your walls are a different color, copying someone else's results can cause more harm than good. However below are the before and after results in my room.
To test the projector's color accuracy we use Portrait Displays Calman color calibration software.
Pre-Calibration Color Sweep and Grayscale
Out-of-the-box, the color tracking of the projector's Theater and Filmmaker Modes were good and their grayscale (RGB Balance) was better than most Laser TVs that I have tested. When measured, the color temperature was just a few hundred degrees off my target of 6500K.
The L9G performed much better than average Rec. 709 color tracking out of the box. Greens were slightly over-saturated with a slight color shift in Cyan with increasing warmth (reds) at higher IREs/brightness levels. These issues were quickly corrected using the projector's CMS adjustments.
Picture Mode: THEATER NIGHT
Color Temperature: 6151K
Average Grayscale dE: 3.2
Average Color dE: 2.04
Post-Calibration Color Sweep and Grayscale
We switched the COLOR TEMP setting to Low. The L9G offers both 2pt and 20 pt adjustment in grayscale, but during calibration, I only needed to use the 2pt to fine-tune the image. I reduced the RED OFFSET slightly while increasing the BLUE GAIN to produce a very good grayscale (RGB Balance).
To achieve my gamma target of 2.2 on my ALR screen in my room, I left the GAMMA to 2.2. The L9G also offers CMS adjustments which we utilized to improve the projector's color tracking of Red and Cyan.
Picture Mode: THEATER NIGHT
Color Temperature: 6524K
Average Grayscale dE: 1
Average Color dE: 1.27
Delta E, as a measure of grayscale/color accuracy, of 3 and under is considered ‘Excellent’ and imperceptible by the human eye. Even before calibration, the average grayscale dE for the THEATER DAY and THEATER NIGHT modes was around 3.2 which is great. The FILMMAKER mode average grayscale dE was also below 4.
I left color temp at the default "Low," which resulted in an average CCT of 6524K. After calibrating the THEATER NIGHT mode for SDR, L9G had an average grayscale dE of 1 which is outstanding.
For HDR viewing, we selected the THEATER HDR picture preset. Just like with SDR we have to increase the BLUE GAIN to achieve good HDR grayscale tracking.
The Hisense L9G Laser TV has a rated brightness of 3,000 ANSI lumens. Just how close did the L9G come to hitting that target? I set the projector to Vivid mode, the brightest picture mode, and I set the Light Level at 10, which is the laser's maximum output. I then took three to four readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens.
Hisense L9G Brightness (Vivid Mode, Maximum Light Level): 3,225 lumens
The L9G measured 3,235 lumens which are 235 Lumens brighter than Hisense's brightness claim. I also measured the brightness of several preset picture modes.
Most home theater projectors would have to depend on a color filter to display the DCI-P3 color gamut but this filter can reduce the overall brightness by up to 45%. When viewing HDR on a projector I believe brightness is more beneficial than a wider color gamut so I always recommend disengaging the color filter.
Since the L9G utilizes an RGB laser light source it can easily reproduce DCI-P3 color space commonly used in HDR content without a color filter so you don't have to choose between wider color gamut reproduction and brightness. The benefit is that the L9G can display brighter more saturated colors than most projectors on the market.
Prior to calibration, the L9G in THEATER NIGHT Mode produced around 113.76 nits (34 fL) on my 100" Screen Innovation 0.6 gain ALR screen. After SDR calibration, the maximum on-screen brightness was reduced slightly to 108 nits (32 fL) which is still bright enough for use in a room with some ambient light.
The L9G laser output could be increased in increments of one to the highest output of 10 with surprisingly little impact on the projector's grayscale performance.
The screenshots below give a rough idea of the color accuracy for each picture mode. However, when viewed in person, the skin tone will look better than these photos show. Included are a variety of screenshots showing skin tones under different scene lighting.
The THEATER DAY, THEATER NIGHT, and FILMMAKER picture modes produced the most accurate skin tones out of the box. Overall, skin tones were excellent.
Above are images of a variety of videos and photos in 4K and HD resolution. Like all our photos, they remain unadjusted for color, so they do not look as good as the projector produced. All the HD and 4K images were taken with the L9G set to either Vivid or Standard modes which are the best-preset modes for non-SDR viewing in a room with ambient light.
BLACK LEVEL AND SHADOW DETAIL
The L9G blacks were darker gray, not deep black, which is typical of DLP projectors. Some traditional home projectors in the L9G price point can provide better black level and shadow detail, but they are not nearly as bright, nor are they ultra-short-throw units.
We have reviewed several home theater projectors with better black levels and higher contrast, but these are only beneficial in a darkened theater or room with a lot of light control.
The bottom line is that most Hisense L9G Laser TV owners will likely place the projector in family rooms or spaces with higher ambient light so that ultra-deep black levels won't be visible anyway. In those environments, the extra brightness and dynamic color will be the priority.
Those users desiring the deepest blacks possible should opt for an L9G package that includes one of the 0.4 gain ALR Cinema screens. This screen prioritizes deep black level and wider viewing angles over maximum ambient light rejection.
In addition, the longer life and lower need for maintenance provided by a DLP-based Laser projector will likely be more beneficial to customers.
4K HDR10/HLG AND SDR VIDEO QUALITY
The L9G supports 4K HDR10/HLG. The preset modes are clearly something that Hisense has paid attention to. Each projector's preset mode is tuned differently depending on the type of content you are viewing (SDR or HDR). The presets change names depending on whether the content is in 4K HDR or SDR.
In past projector reviews, seeing a difference between HDR and SDR has sometimes been challenging. Since projectors cannot reproduce the brightness range found in HDR content, good tone mapping is critical. On many projector's I think HDR content looks worse than SDR because the image is either too dark or the highlight detail is clipped.
The L9G could benefit from the ability to dynamically tone map HDR content but the projector did a good job balancing the need to deliver good full-screen brightness while still producing bright highlight detail. This high level of performance can be directly attributed to the Hisense years of producing 4K HDR flat panels and Laser TVs.
There is a clear difference in performance between HDR and SDR on this projector. While most Blu-ray UHD content is available in HDR10, a lot of 4K streaming material is still only 4K SDR. The L9G had no problem delivering sharp, detailed 4K imagery as well.
HDR content looked better on the Hisense L9G than most 4K HDR projectors I have ever reviewed so the L9G ability to produce a wider color gamut than most projectors really paid off when viewing HDR material.
HDTV AND SPORTS
The fact is most TV shows and live broadcasts will likely continue to be produced in HD for several years, so good 4K upscaling is a critical feature. The L9G's upscaling is excellent. Whether I watched 720p sports from ESPN or 1080p Blu-ray content, it all looked terrific.
Motion Estimation Motion Compensation (MEMC) technology uses an advanced, algorithmic technique to predict where a frame is in video content and, through the algorithm, insert an additional frame between each of the originals. MEMC is a type of frame interpolation technology designed to smooth out the blur when watching content that requires a clearer image, like sports and video games,
The L9G includes six motion compensation presets (CUSTOM, FILM, CLEAR, STANDARD, SMOOTH, and OFF). You also have CUSTOM mode, where you can make manual adjustments.
The FILM mode was designed especially for a movie shot in 24p, and it eliminates 3:2 Pulldown for more cinematic motion. When viewing 30p or 60p material, the L9G was set to Clear mode, and I did not notice too many motion artifacts.
Game Mode on the Hisense L9G is a massive movie screen experience.
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), or Game mode, lets gaming systems automatically switch to a low-latency, low-lag mode. When low latency is no longer needed, the source disables the signal, and the display reverts to its previous mode for watching content such as movies and TV shows.
HDMI Quick Frame Transport (QFT) reduces latency for smoother no-lag gaming and real-time, interactive, virtual reality. QFT transports each frame at a higher rate decreasing "display latency," improving the responsiveness of games. One example is the lapse between pressing a button and observing the resultant action on the screen.
Variable Frame Rate (VFR) leverages VRR. It allows game designers to code various frame rates at different game points because while high resolution and high frame rates are excellent during gameplay, cut scenes are just fine at 24 fps.
When you turn on the L9G Game Mode, input lag is reduced to about 35ms when playing at 60fps. This is fast enough to make gaming on the L9G feel tight and responsive. Since the L9G is equipped with ALLM, the L9G's game mode is triggered automatically by a PS5 or Xbox Series X as soon as gaming content is detected,
While the L9G has HDMI inputs that can accept a 4K/120p, due to the speed of the DLP imager, the maximum displayed frame rate in 4K is 60fps. The L9G can display HD content at frame rates up to 240fps which Hisense claims an input lag of just 10ms.
The sound quality on the Hisense L9G is clearly not an afterthought like it is on most flat-panel TVs and projectors. Hisense worked hard to provide excellent sound performance.
The L9G features six out-of-the-box presets: STANDARD, THEATER, SPORTS, MUSIC, SPEECH, and LATE NIGHT.
I watched a variety of content from Dolby Atmos demo content and movies, both new and old. Surround sound modes that I found very impressive. The L9G is one of the best sounding projectors I have reviewed in the last two years.
The front of the L9G cabinet holds a 40-watt multi-driver array, and Hisense makes good use of every watt. Hisense has managed to build in a sound system that has better range and more dynamic sound than many standalone soundbars under $400.
When it comes to bass performance, the L9G goes deeper than i expected for a Laser TV should be able to go, and it does it without adding in audible distortion. I'm not saying this L9G wouldn't benefit from adding a sub-woofer, but the sound that the L9G produces is better than most competitive Laser TV, projector, or television I've ever heard.
The L9G is a very quiet projector. Even set to its highest Light level, I could barely hear the unit's fan from my sitting position during quiet scenes. This performance is tied to the excellently engineered cooling system that Hisense has developed for the L9G. The bottom line is that you don't want it to sound like a jet taking off while you're watching a movie. It's a balance between keeping the unit reliably cool and not drawing attention to itself. Based on how incredibly quiet this system is, it seems that Hisense has struck the perfect balance.