Not all budget DLP projectors are created equal. Sure, they all equipped with similar chipset components from Texas Instruments, but the reasonably priced ViewSonic PX701-4K is somehow worth more than the sum of its parts. Coming in at less than a thousand bucks you really do get a gaming projector that provides some conveniences you’d often need to pony up an extra $500-$800 for. We are off to a good start already.
Right off the bat, this looks incredibly similar to the PX-727-4K from a couple years ago, and coincidentally the very first ultra high-definition projector I reviewed to then-glowing acclaim. Not too much has changed with the exterior, it remains a plastic white body with flow venting on each side and basic zoom/focus dials above the main lens that now has a bottom lip. There’s also the usual control panel on top that provides access to the menu options, in case you don’t have the remote close by.
Connectivity on the PX701-4K is as marginal as it gets, only catering to the bare necessities for modern devices. You’ll have to settle for just two HDMI (ver2.0/HDCP 2.2), USB Type-A, 3.5mm audio jack, and a serial RS232 port for custom installations. Good enough for hooking up a gaming console, PC or standalone Blu-ray player and not much else.
The PX701-4K serves as the newest entry-level choice in ViewSonic’s 2021 4K projector lineup, effectively replacing the PX727-4K from a few years ago. Coincidentally, the PX727 was also the first 4K DLP I ever reviewed, and the PX701 shares a lot of standard specs with its predecessor. You can expect a 3200 ANSI lumen count and 12000:1 contrast ratio, but there are minor differences such as the 1.5-1.65 throw ratio, efficient 203 light wattage, and moderately improved bulb life (6000 hours normal/20000 hours Dynamic Eco).
One of the best features of the PX701 has to be the automatic horizontal/vertical keystone correction. For people who have entertained the idea of buying a projector but loathe and/or intimidated by having to physically set one up, this projection will properly orientate itself to appear straight and perfectly proportioned. This includes compensating for off-angle and non-centered placements, and a feature not usually reserved for projectors in this price range. Audio on the other hand isn’t fantastic coming from a mono 10W speaker, it’s tinny and flat, but there if you need audio in a pinch.
Sharper Image + Gaming Smoothness
Compared to other budget projectors, ViewSonic attempts to punch above its own weight to respectable results. it’s not groundbreaking performance but picture quality does inch above the Optoma UHD38, or nearly equal against the BenQ TK700STi and LG HU70LA without the premium.
Default sharpness and contrast is exceptionally defined and elements such as shadow detail are acceptable in optimized dark environments, which is typically dull due to the inherently mediocre black levels of many DLP projectors—although you can cheat by toying around with the Gamma presets (menu => image => advanced) as an effective band-aid method. Either way, the PX701-4K is just cleaner looking out of the box, moreso than some other models that cost a few hundred dollars more, and with less picture options built in (i.e. Super Resolution is omitted).
Color performance on the PX701-4K is surprisingly good even though ViewSonic utilizes a simpler RGBW wheel for cost-saving measures, which is a debatably fair tradeoff for improved brightness. To the naked eye however, most people won’t complain about the money saved and won’t mess around with anything beyond the color mode presets, in fact some options like color adjustment aren’t available depending on what’s connected like an AV receiver or PC. That last irregularity is odd and leaves only the color temp presets to work with. HDR is basic too, with the only choices being ‘Auto’ or ‘OFF’, and three EOTF modes when HDR/HLG is enabled, it works fine but don’t expect flexibility if you’re a picky viewer.
Gaming mode enhancements are something budget DLPs are really trying to push for added quality, and the PX701-4K is another contender here. Identical to the UHD38 from Optoma, you are treated to a picture preset dedicated to 1920×1080 resolution, with a 4.2 millisecond count at 120Hz and 9.1ms at 240Hz for PC and PS5/Xbox consoles. Of course, you’ll have to sacrifice things like customized picture adjustments, keystone/corner corrections, and 0.8X ~2.0X digital zoom optimizations, but it does work as intended if high refresh rates is a top priority.
ViewSonic impressed me before with their initial consumer 4K projectors, and the updated PX701-4K continues the theme. The pricing is even more attractive, and they’ve kept the overall performance that surprised me from a few years ago. Amazingly, the image quality that the PX701-4K produces is noticeably sharper and even beats out some of the other comparable DLPs I already covered and/or in the middle of reviewing right now—with those costing relatively more. Granted, a lot of the miscellaneous options are stripped away on this projector, but the included quick auto keystone adjustments and high refresh mode for video games make this is a value-oriented standout that’s easy to work with.