LG CineBeam HU715Q 4K Laser UST Projector Review – Performance

February 21, 2022 / By Project Reviews Staff

COLOR REPRODUCTION

The HU715Q’s color reproduction is good out of the box but not highly accurate. The LG HU715Q has nine SDR preset picture modes and seven HDR preset picture modes.

VIVID, SPORTS, and BRIGHTEST are the three brightest modes. They are designed to fight through high ambient light. The EXPERT (BRIGHT SPACE, DAYTIME) mode delivered the best balance of brightness and color reproduction. STANDARD Mode, the default picture preset, was on the cooler side with slightly boosted contrast. The content creator’s visual intent is designed to be preserved with FILMMAKER mode. Bringing the home viewing experience as close as possible to an actual theatrical release. I toggled between EXPERT (DARK SPACE, NIGHT) Mode and FILMMAKER mode to achieve the best SDR and HDR image in my personal viewing areas. I also had the Color Temperature set to Warm. Warm was the least bright mode, but it delivered the most accurate colors. 

Below is an assortment of screenshots showing color reproduction. The overall color balance is reasonably good.

While the LG HU715Q does not deliver the color accuracy of more expensive Laser TVs like the BenQ V7050i ($3499 SRP), its color reproduction was better than most Laser TVs retailing below $3000. Most target customers would be happy with the color accuracy of the unit's Cinema, Filmmaker, and Expert modes.

Since the HU715Q utilizes a version of LG's WebOS, it is equipped with advanced settings for color adjustment which are lacking on most lower-priced Laser TVs. The HU715Q offers a wide range of adjustments. In the projector's Advanced Settings menu, you can adjust lots of image parameters including Gamma, RGB White Balance, and CMS (Color management/tracking)

We used these controls to calibrate the CINEMA Mode for SDR viewing. Since your room and screen material can have a major impact on the overall picture, we 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 Philip's 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 temperature of the projector’s CINEMA, FILMMAKER, and EXPERT modes were about five hundred degrees off our target of 6500K. The grayscale (RGB Balance) out of the box was better than most lower-priced Laser TVs but the image was deficient in Red at high IREs resulting in a bluish-looking image.

The Rec. 709 color tracking of the HU715Q was pretty good. Blue and Green were slightly over-saturated and there was a color shift in Blue, Green, Cyan, and Yellow. The good news is the HU715Q has the necessary CMS adjustments to reduce these color tracking issues.

Post-Calibration Color Sweep and Grayscale

The HU715Q has 2pt, 10pt, and 22pt color temperature adjustments which can be used to improve the unit's grayscale (RGB Balance). To achieve the best RGB Balance, we had to dramatically increase the Red Gain while reducing the Green and Blue Gain. However, making excessive adjustments to the higher IREs has a negative impact on Grayscale at lower brightness.

To achieve my gamma target of 2.2 on my ALR screen in my room, I left the GAMMA at its default of 2.2. We utilized CMS adjustments to reduce the color shift and improve the projector’s overall color tracking.

We left color temp at the default of “WARM”. After adjusting the projector 2pt white balance settings, the CINEMA mode's average CCT of 6535K.

Delta E, as a measure of grayscale/color accuracy, of 3 and under is considered ‘Excellent’ and imperceptible by the human eye. After calibration, the average grayscale dE for the CINEMA mode was around 2.5 which is good.

While more expensive Laser TVs like the Benq 7050i delivered a more accurate image after calibration, the HU715Q, because of its suite of color adjustments, looked better than any projector that we have reviewed for under $3000.

BRIGHTNESS

LG lists the brightness of the HU715Q 4K UHD Laser Ultra-Short-Throw (UST) CineBeam Projector at 2,500 ANSI lumens. I also measured the HU715Q’s brightness. To measure the brightness, I set the projector’s Picture Mode to Brightest and its Energy Saving Mode to Minimum, which is the projector’s brightest settings. I then took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the screen.

At maximum brightness (Picture ModeBrightest, Energy Saving ModeMinimum), the HU715Q measured 2602 ANSI lumens, which is higher than LG’s claimed 2500 ANSI lumens. I measured all nine available SDR Picture Modes and all seven HDR Picture Modes; my measurements are below.

LG HU715Q Brightness SDR Picture Presets

SDR Picture Mode ANSI Lumens
Vivid 1974
Standard 1901
Cinema 1734
Sports 1873
Game Optimizer 1869
Filmmaker 1763
Brightness 2602
Expert (Bright Space, Daytime) 1747
Expert (Dark Space, Night) 1715
HDR Picture Mode ANSI Lumens
HDR Vivid 1854
HDR Standard 1775
HDR Cinema Home 1643
HDR Cinema 1656
HDR Game Optimizer 1901
HDR Filmmaker 1709
HDR Brightness 2551

As mentioned for SDR Picture Mode, Vivid Mode is pretty over the top, in a darker room, but works well to cut through “too much” ambient light. Standard (User) Mode is more moderate, while Expert (Bright space, daytime) is slightly pushed. Many will find Expert (Dark space, night) will still work in most watching environments even though it is the darkest setting.

The look of the HDR Picture Modes essentially mirrors the SDR picture modes. As such, Vivid Mode is still over the top, in a darker room, and works well to cut through “too much” ambient light. Standard Mode is more moderate. Many will find Cinema Home (User) and Filmmaker Mode deliver the most accurate color reproduction and will look the best in most watching environments.

CONTRAST / BLACK LEVEL

The HU715Q’s blacks were closer to dark gray than deep black. This was more noticeable when watching darker scenes at night in my room. Home projectors in the HU715Q’s price point can provide better shadow detail and black level, but they are not as bright, nor are they Ultra-Short-Throw projectors.

When evaluating a projector’s picture, I also like to consider the unit’s likely usage case. Even though the HU715Q’s black level could be better, UST projectors like the HU715Q are not designed to compete against high-end home theater projectors found in blacked-out media rooms. Instead, the HU715Q would most likely be used in a room with higher amounts of ambient light, meaning the ability to replicate deep blacks would not be critical. The extra brightness would probably be more advantageous to the end-user in higher ambient light environments.

When paired with my Screen Innovations Solo Pro 2 Unity AT Pure White 1.3 gain screen and Elite Screens Aeon CLR® 3 Series, 103-inch ALR screen, the HU715Q produced good-looking images in my testing environment, even with ambient light. The Aeon CLR® 3 Series screen material has a gain of 0.8 and improved the black level when watching content in a darkened room and in a room with ambient light. Keep in mind that the increased black levels come at the expense of some screen brightness. Sacrificing some brightness, however, is not a problem for the HU715Q because it has an ample amount of brightness to spare, as evident in the ANSI lumens testing.

4K HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE (HDR)

The HU715Q can dynamically tone map HDR10 content, and this feature did a good job maintaining highlight detail. However, tone mapping (whether dynamic or not) requires the projector to compromise something (highlights, brightness, contrast, color, or black level). The HU715Q chooses to sacrifice some brightness when HDR Tone Mapping is engaged. Since the HU715Q was a brighter projector, overall, I still preferred viewing HDR with the setting switched on.

The LG HU715Q also supports Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), the HDR standard developed for live broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in conjunction with Japan’s national broadcaster, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK). Unfortunately, most broadcast TV does not yet support 4K, let alone HDR. Nonetheless, with HLG, you are all set to enjoy sports and award shows when the networks start broadcasting content in HDR. As a matter of fact, NBC Sports features 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) with HDR and Dolby ATMOS sound for its 2022 Winter Olympics coverage, marking the first time the broadcaster has used the enhanced format for the Winter Olympics.

VIDEO QUALITY

While most Blu-ray 4K content is available in HDR10, a lot of 4K streaming material is still only 4K SDR. The HU715Q delivered sharp and detailed images without any problems. The HU715Q uses a DMD Texas Instruments (TI) DLP chipset to deliver its 4K (3840 x 2160) displayed resolution.

Since a 4K UHD DLP chip does not physically have 8.3 million mirrors, the HU715Q uses pixel (mirror) shifting to deliver the perceived sharpness of 4K resolution. Pixel shifting actually works very well. It is challenging to see a difference in sharpness when comparing a 4K DLP projector like the HU715Q to a native 4K LCD/LCoS model from normal viewing distances. Numerous 4K movies do not have enough fine detail to make the difference between viewing 4K SDR and HD very obvious in the first place. Nevertheless, I would classify the overall picture quality of the LG HU715Q as pretty good.

Live broadcasts and TV shows will continue to be produced in HD for numerous years, making good upscaling an important feature. The HU715Q’s capability to upscale is great. Content in 1080p and Sports in 720P looked excellent on the HU715Q.

The LG HU715Q’s video quality was good out of the box. However, changing the Picture Mode and Energy Saving Mode can significantly alter the on-screen image. I found myself leaving the Projector’s Energy Saving Mode on Minimum and then switching between Filmmaker Mode and Expert (Night space, night) Mode. I used the Expert (Night space, night) Mode to fine-tune the HU715Q’s image to better suit my viewing environment.

SOUND QUALITY

I can count, on one hand, the number of projectors that sound as good as the LG HU715Q. The LG HU715Q is definitely one of the best sounding videos projectors I have heard. Yes, you can buy a better 3rd party sound system and utilize the HU715Q’s HDMI eARC. With eARC, the projector can send multi-channel audio from the projector’s internal apps to a connected external audio system for those wanting a more powerful audio system. However, many end-users conditioned to the sound provided by most flat-panel TVs would be more than satisfied with the HU715Q built-in audio performance.

While we do not measure audible noise, I measured the fan noise produced by the HU715Q between 32dB and 35dB. I placed the Picture Mode in Filmmaker Mode and the projector’s Energy Saving Mode on Minimum then Maximum for the fan noise measurements. Maximum Energy Saving Mode had the lowest dB reading at 32dB, and Minimum Energy Saving Mode had the highest dB reading at 35dB. I could not hear the HU715Q as I watched movies and shows approximately 12 feet away from the projector.

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