LG HU85LA CineBeam ThinQ 4K UHD Projector - Performance

August 13, 2019 / By Art Feierman

LG HU85LA 4K Home Theater Projector Review - Performance: Brightness, Brightness and Color Temperature, Color Temp Readings for Cinema Mode, Post Calibration Color Temp Readings for Cinema Mode, Gamma Measurement, ECO Mode: Affect of Brightness, Sharpness

Brightness

The HU85LA beat its brightness claim. True, by only a small fraction, however, in a world where most projectors come up short - some 15-30% below claims, and some very low-cost projectors (under $200 ones) often drastically below claims, achieving claim, is considered above-average performance.

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Of the LG's modes, the three bright modes perform almost identically in brightness, and color temp. They do vary though in terms of saturation and other areas, so that they look very different, but not in color balance. As mentioned, Vivid is pretty over the top, in a darker room, but works well to cut through "too much" ambient light.  Standard, is more moderate, while Cinema Home is pushed just slightly. Most folks will find Cinema Home fine, even in a pretty dark setting.

Picture ModeLumensColor Temp. (Kelvin)
Vivid274111883K
Standard274111883K
Cinema19808383K
Sports274111883K
Game262711883K
HDR Effect274111883K
Expert Bright19808513K
Expert Dark19808513K
Cinema - Calibrated17506506K
Expert Dark - Calibrated19426511K

Eric chose to calibrate Cinema for best viewing HDR content, and Expert (dark) for the best mode for non-HDR content.  We did not calibrate a "brightest mode" for this projector.  The just under 1942 lumens calibrated in Expert Dark is a ton of lumens for standard SDR content.  (Consider you only really need about 450 or so lumens to fill a typical 100" screen in a fully darkened theater.  Having almost 5 times the minimum makes the HU85LA a true light canon.  If you find the LG too bright for night time viewing, switch to a more economical mode.  Strangely while most companies refer to those as eco modes, LG goes the opposite way - they describe full power as Energy Savings: Minimum (the other two are Medium and Maximum).

We calibrated the LG's Cinema mode, and it still measured a powerful 1750 lumens as our "Best" HDR mode.  Since the LG is quieter than most projectors, there was no need to even consider calibrating it in an eco mode to reduce noise, especially since you want all the lumens available for the best HDR performance.

 

Brightness and Color Temperature

The same chart above shows the color temperature of each mode when measured. These numbers are all pre-calibration, except for the last two.  Note that all the modes doing either very cool - bluish whites, or extremely so. The projector definitely needs adjustment to look even close to its best.  Of course, you'll find our calibration recommendations on the next pages. Enjoy!

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Many folks like a cooler temp for sports viewing - I count myself among those, so I tend to prefer something around 7000K but never more than 7500K.

Color Temp Readings for Cinema Mode HDR P3

IRE RangeColor Temp. (Kelvin)
100 IRE8762K
90 IRE8852K
80 IRE8871K
70 IRE8762K
60 IRE8897K
50 IRE8646K
40 IRE8656K
30 IRE9190K
20 IRE9374K
10 IRE8474K

The color temp of a projector primarily tells you whether the picture leans toward more blue or less blue and more red.  Green however doesn't affect the color temp much.  That means you can have a good color temp - say 6500K, but have way too much green, so that the picture looks very greenish.

Fortunately, despite the overly cool temp of all the modes, the overall balance was pretty good.  So, the picture still looks pretty good just being short a good bit of red.

Once calibrated, the overall balance is excellent, with the entire range staying very close to 6500K, and with green being properly balanced.  (BTW the standard that calcuates in the green is D65, which you hear about in the cinema theater industry too.

Post Calibration Color Temp Readings for Cinema HDR P3 Mode

The measurements below, showing our post calibration "best mode" for 4K HDR content (or technically any HDR content, as we may be seeing HDR with 1080p content going forward as well.  Note the very tight set of numbers around our 6500K target, with less than a 300 degree range from 10 (almost black)  to 100 IRE (white).

Even more impressive in terms of how well the LG calibrates, note that from 40 IRE up, the variation is less than 130 degrees of color temp.

IRE RangeColor Temp. (Kelvin)
100 IRE6506K (1750 lumens)
90 IRE6543K
80 IRE6471K
70 IRE6487K
60 IRE6451K
50 IRE6414K
40 IRE6487K
30 IRE6688K
20 IRE6694K
10 IRE6501K

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ECO-Mode: Affect on Brightness, Power Consumption

Power ModeLumensColor Temp. (Kelvin)
Minimum Energy Savings (Full Power) Vivid Mode274111863K
Medium Energy Savings (Mid Power) Vivid Mode302811243K
Maximum Energy Savings (Low Power) Vivid Mode156110786K

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From any color mode, switching from full power (Minimum Energy Savings) to Low Power (Maximum Energy Savings), results in a measured drop in lumen output of 43% which is a bigger drop than most projectors.  Of course as this is a laser, they could provide brightness adjustment in in much smaller increments such as 20 levels.  Lamps run into issues at lower power, including flickering when dropped down much more than 30%.

Lens Position: Distance vs Screen Size

Size of ScreenDistance to Screen from BackDistance to Screen from Front
90" Diagonal2.2 inches15.8 inches
100" Diagonal3.8 inches17.5 inches
120" Diagonal7.2 inches20.8 inches

In addition to the close placement of the HU85LA projector, remember it sits below the screen, as well as being inches out from it.  For our smallest sized screen the LG supports - the 90", the top of the projector should be placed 7.1 inches below the bottom of the screen surface.  For the largest official size the LG supports - 120" diagonal, that distance down from the screen increases to 10.1 inches.  That's not a whole lot of difference.

You have a little bit of flexibility if you use the LG's alignment process to fill the screen fully, but I still recommend spending the few extra minutes to get the alignment perfect but adjusting the position of the projector and not using digital correction which does degrade the picture slightly.

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