The ViewSonic PX727-4K is officially the most affordable choice in UHD DLP projector at $1299, and the first one ever I’ve reviewed for Popzara. It has taken a long time for the industry to make a home-focused 4K model without an exorbitant price, and until recently it was a matter of having an excessive amount of means to acquire one.
Thankfully, things have finally come full circle and this is easily the best projector from ViewSonic yet. But then again with HDR and a RGBRGB color wheel that they’re calling ‘proprietary’ it probably should be against other contemporaries like the BenQ HT2550/TK800 and the Optoma UHD50 that have made waves of their own.
Built to a Price
If you do find the lower-than-expected price to be suspicious then I wouldn’t blame you. The PX727-4K certainly looks up to the task with an straightforward white exterior that apes the appearance of bigger and more expensive projectors, except that the control panel and 1.5x zoom and focus dials are upfront with nothing complicated thrown in. Connectivity is equally straightforward and provides the necessary array of two HDMI (one optimized for 4K/HDCP 2.2), VGA, USB (9V – 1.5A and Mini), auxiliary (audio out/in), and 12V trigger port.
However, the overall design is blatantly simple and as a consequence the build quality is also elementary to achieve that oh-so-attractive pricepoint. Consumer-grade projectors typically have a plastic body built to take some abuse and the PX727-4K is no different, it’s just that the frame feels more hollow than expected and betrays the outward presentation. There’s also the matter of the height-adjustable legs that incorporate a thread-type mechanism for front throw angle, they’re constructed of even cheaper plastic and have a hard time supporting moderate weight.
Knowing this, the PX727-4K works better for ceiling-mounted fixtures than adaptable set top. At least the fan noise is kept to a light buzz, a minor annoyance that can be reduced when set to Eco mode.
Makes it Up in Picture Quality
But the PX727-4K is acceptable elsewhere, because even discerning eyes can see where all the effort when creating this projector. Like other mass market choice that have gradually been geared towards everyday usage this is rated at 2200 lumens, calibrated for versatile brightness for most environments. Diving into the basic suite of menu gives you the usual presets such as Standard and Movie that minimize light output for color balance, Bright which contrarily pumps up the lamp output to an almost cyan-like tinge in lieu of ambient light, and two customizable user mode to play with. Our PX727-4K seemed to calibrated with just a hint of warmer hues and/or magenta showing through and had to be reined in before settling into a neutral color profile.
Out of the box picture quality is good and hits the mark in edge-to-edge sharpness. For many viewers the added definition along with having a gargantuan screen size will be an eye-opening experience the first time, with the Super Resolution feature doing the heavy work in bringing out incremental detail. By default, the option is set to a lower level and looks clean in most cases, although this also has the unsavory effect of accentuating digital noise for older content (Ghostbusters 4K, Labyrinth 4K) or aggressive aliasing when set beyond 10 (out of 15) — other tweaks such as Skin Tone and Super Color are effective quick fixes, too. Rainbow artifacts have been a longtime characteristic of DLP technology and this includes the PX727-4K, although it largely depends on how uniquely sensitive your eyes are to the phenomenon, which for us was a nonissue.
Luminance gradients are adequate but nothing remarkable. There is a lack of depth when absolute black level and contrasts are concerned, darker elements have a tendency to appear solid while gradients fare better when the transitions are more subtle. It’s not an absolute standout. Other image properties like judder during scene panning and/or extreme motion does exude a film-like smoothness through the PX727-4K, and looks satisfyingly natural with standard 1080p Blu-rays.
HDR is another crowning byproduct of existing UHD content, essentially delivering a fuller palette that makes most color appear richer and less processed than what you’re used to. The PX727-4K in particular does an excellent job of producing 4K and HDR to noticeable effect, although the dynamic range won’t match expensive home theater projectors from Epson (Pro Cinema LS10500), JVC (DLA-X990R), or Sony (VPL-VZ1000ES), both of which require professional installation. We already knew this tidbit but the presentation is improved and dialed compared to the majority of flat-panel TVs, where the picture looks overly manipulated and fake. This isn’t true for certain OLEDs made by LG (C8PUA) and Sony (A1E) — but again, the PX727-4K proves that there are manageable exceptions to the rule and more ideal than most fixed displays.
In My Eyes
But what do I think of it? Well, it makes a great first impression as an entertainment machine and can bring the fun at relatively lower cost, which is a welcome surprise no matter your brand prejudices. Armed with a Pioneer BDR-211UBK Internal Blu-Ray drive I enjoyed finally seeing movies on a 99-inch screen (or whatever size your space allows). Everything just looks incredibly meticulous with movies equally crisp and vivid, with an emphasis on HDR pushing color to its absolute limit. This is probably how enthralling at-home cinema was supposed to be experienced.
Gaming is probably the biggest draw as I played HDR-compatible titles like Far Cry 5 in all of its wondrous glory, with so much going on at any time it was fantastic to experience the insane Montana frontier with such clarity, while the facial details and magic effects of Final Fantasy XV were stunning to behold. One immediate trade-off for hardcore gamers is that input lag is a little behind at 53ms and stereoscopic 3D is woefully absent for theater buffs, and we also dislike the thin-sounding 10W onboard audio. These omissions make the PX727 a loss leader of sorts.
Why the Wait: DLP XPR
So, why did it take this long for models like the PX727-4K to happen? You can’t blame ViewSonic for this because a lot of the engineering involved Texas Instruments (TI) and waiting on them to develop their latest 0.47-inch DMD (DLP470TP) chip, which has the same physical dimension as their existing DLP chips. The difference is that it’s able to achieve UHD-like images when combined with an optical actuator used for pixel shifting. It a cheat but this piece allows for cost-effective manufacturing and 4K DLPs to exist in current form, along with TI’s XPR processing that requires a 60Hz frame rate. The resolution is still a native 1920 x 1080 but it is a clever application of mirror pattern oscillation that manufacturers assure us meets the technical definition of 4K, approximately.
Considering that all 4K DLPs utilize identical tech, ViewSonic’s PX727-4K Projector is a affordable winner thanks to that sweet sticker price of $1299. For all that undercutting though, there are a gripes to point out in build quality and options, which is probably why a this projector like this has such an attractive price point. Conveniently for casual viewers, the PX727-4K remains on-point for an enormous and fairly detailed screen.