Home theater projectors offering 1080p (1,920 by 1,080) native resolutions have become commonplace; movie buffs and many typical consumers would settle for nothing less now. What’s unusual about the ViewSonic Pro8300 as a full HD projector is that it’s geared to business use, and our testing showed that it’s better for data presentations than video.
The Pro8300′s 1080p resolution is at a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Its light engine is DLP-based. At 3,000 lumens, the Pro8300 is brighter than the 2,000-lumen ViewSonic Pro8200, which the company had billed as a home-theater projector. The added brightness makes the Pro8300 more suitable for PowerPoint and other data presentations, and less so for video screenings in dark rooms.
The Pro8300 measures 4.3 by 13.1 by 10.4 inches (HWD) and weighs 8.4 pounds. You may want to permanently install it, or at least use it on a cart, but for the occasional trip, it comes with a carrying case. The lens has a generous 1.5x zoom ring and a focus ring; both were responsive, and it was fairly easy to bring the projector to a good focus.
It has the same selection of ports as the Pro8200: 2 VGA-in ports plus a monitor pass-through and a serial port; 2 HDMI ports S-video; a full set of RCA jacks for both composite and component video jack; 2 audio-in and one audio-out jacks, and one for a microphone; its USB type A port, which fits a USB thumb drive, is strictly for firmware upgrades. It lacks the networking capabilities that many higher-end data projectors support, but has a good selection of ports for both data and video.
I tested the projector from about 7 feet away from the screen. The test image, measuring about 60 inches diagonally, stood up reasonably well to a fair amount of ambient light.
In our testing using the DisplayMate suite, the Pro8300′s data image quality was decent though not spectacular. I noted some pixel jitter when using an analog connector. Text quality was passable, though not what I’d expect from a hi-res data projector; the smallest two sizes of white-on-black text were a bit blurred, even when I moved very close to the screen, with the smallest size barely readable, and the smallest size of black-on-white text showed some blurring as well. Some white and light gray areas showed a slight greenish tint, while some darker grays appeared a bit reddish. Some tinting appeared in all color modes except the relatively dim Dark Room mode.
The main advantage of higher resolution in a data projector is to display fine detail, and in that context the text quality in particular was disappointing. Although its data image quality is easily suitable for typical business presentations, it may not give you much of an advantage (if any) over a WXGA projector with good data image quality.
Video quality is suitable for short to mid-length clips to accompany a presentation. On the upside, detail was generally good in both bright and dark areas. You might be tempted to use this full HD projector to watch movies in hi-def; but although you could do so in a pinch, it’s not optimal for that role. Like many single-chip DLP projectors, the Pro8300′s video showed rainbow artifacts—little red-green-blue flashes—in scenes that tend to bring them out. Though this rainbow effect was not particularly severe, it was enough that it could prove distracting to people sensitive to it. If you know that you—or the people you’ll be watching with—aren’t sensitive to it, it may not be an issue for you.
The other problem with video is that colors were sometimes a bit off. There was an excess of red at times in some darker scenes; it was particularly notable in faces. In a hospital scene, the white gowns worn by patients and physicians frequently had a slight blue tint. It was reduced in some color modes, but switching color modes tended to throw other things off.
The Pro8300′s audio was surprisingly faint for its two 10-watt speakers, though of decent sound quality. It’s suitable for a smallish room, or if you’re close to the projector. If you want louder audio, at least the projector has an audio-out jack to hook up external powered speakers to.
When we reviewed the ViewSonic Pro8200 in 2011, we noted that although it was billed as a home theater projector, it actually functioned better as a data projector. The ViewSonic Pro8300, while otherwise nearly identical to the Pro8200, is brighter, making it even more suitable for data presentations as opposed to screening video in a dark room, and ViewSonic has marketed it as a data projector.
That said, although the Pro8300′s data image quality is easily suitable for typical business presentations, its text quality wasn’t as good as we’d expect from a 1080p data projector. If you need to project presentations with small type or fine detail, a WXGA projector might be at least as good a choice.
The Editors’ Choice ViewSonic PJD6683ws, a 3,000-lumen WXGA projector, showed excellent detail in data images, with both black-on-white and white-on-black text being easily readable down to the smallest sizes. It’s a short-throw projector, meaning that its image can fill a screen from just a few feet away.
The 3,000-lumen Editors’ Choice Epson PowerLite W16 3D WXGA 3LCD Projector
has very good data image quality, although it also had some problems with tiny text. As an LCD projector, its video is free of the rainbow effect. Unlike most LCD projectors, it can display 3D content.
The ViewSonic Pro8300 is a rarity among 1080p projectors in being geared to data projection. It’s bright enough for its image to hold up to a good bit of ambient light. It has a good selection of ports for both data and video, including two HDMI ports. It should have no problem in handling most business presentations with data or video, though its data image wasn’t quite as sharp as we’d expect for its resolution. Its combination of modest price, ample connectivity choices for both data and video, good brightness, and full HD resolution should make it attractive to companies looking for these attributes.
|Native Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Video Inputs||Component, Composite, HDMI, S-Video|
|Computer Interfaces||Analog VGA, HDMI|
|Rated Contrast Ratio||4000|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc