As we said in our AWOL Vision LTV-3500 First Impressions article, we noted that AWOL Vision seeks to rebel against the status quo of the projection world and with their latest UST projector they’ve sent us for review, The AWOL Vision LTV-2500, they appear to be continuing to still do just that. These guys may be new to the projector industry but not new to product development. We’ve worked with the founders and engineers at this company and they are the real deal. We’re so confident in AWOL, that we’ve partnered with them on their Indigo-go campaign to help get the word out about these great, new projectors.
We also received this lower 2,500 lumen unit to be evaluated and also put this one through its paces as we did for the LTV-3500. We did some very quick adjustments and measurements once again using Portrait Display’s CalMAN Calibration software, a VideoForge Pro Pattern Generator, their C6 HDR-2000 Colorimeter and an i1Pro2 Spectroradiometer.
This is also a triple laser unit, but with less light output at 2500 peak lumens making it similar to other ultra short throws on the market. It supports SDR, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and reportedly soon will support Dolby Vision with the same update as the LTV-3500 is getting, again hopefully before these units even ship to new owners. At the time of this writing, we weren’t able to test any native Dolby Vision content still. The variable focus on the LTV-2500 is the same as the LTV-3500, which allows the projector to display an image from 80 inches up to 150 inches.
It contains a powerful 36 watt, built in soundbar. It features a total of three HDMI 2.0 ports, one of which is hidden inside a trapdoor in the back, designed to hold the included FireTV stick, making this a Smart TV.
OK, enough of the boring specs, let’s get on with it!
The first measurements we did were some quick lumen measurements while in Bright Lamp HDR Mode, center screen only. These are the values we measured, in Lumens:
Two-Point White Balance
2-Point White balance calibrated well below DeltaE of 1.
After 2- point white balancing, I moved on to grayscale tracking across the entire range from 0 to 100% stimulus. I was a little shocked when I saw that it didn’t track as well as the 3500. It appears with this lower lumen model that you’ll need a 10+ point grayscale adjustment to improve performance to make it better than what this calibration shows.
Grayscale tracked OK in the lower levels, but only tracked well in the higher range at exactly the 80% point used for white balancing, where you can see the colors cross over each other. The EOTF followed the ST2084 curve, but was always low when Dynamic Contrast wasn’t engaged, which is what this calibration chart depicts. It does get much better in-line post-cal, which you will see in the Post-Calibration measurement.
I measured the Native ON/OFF Contrast Ratio next. It is on par with the other 0.47” XPR DLPs at 935:1 in its calibrated Vivid Mode. Prior to calibration I read a much higher contrast ratio of 1384:1, but that was due the blue being so much higher giving a lot more brightness on the top end. Once you bring it down so it balances with the red and green, you lose brightness, so even if the bottom end stays the same, the contrast ratio suffers, as it shows. These 0.47” DLPs are usually in the 800-1,000:1 range, so this is right there. The negative effects of low on/off contrast only show up in extremely dark scenes without any other bright images in the scene to bias our eyes. I didn’t measure ANSI Contrast during this very quick first look, but the inter-image ANSI contrast appears as good as others perceptually. It appeared as good as the prior UST I measured at 458:1.
Color Management System (CMS)
When we opened this one up and turned it on, like the LTV-3500, it was clear that the colors on it were also not over-saturated like the other BT.2020 RGB Laser UST projectors. The AWOL LTV-2500 is also spec’d to cover 107% of the BT.2020 color gamut. Out of the box the 50% saturation points for BT.2020 were a little off, but it took very little adjustment to get them within their respective boxes. This was still one of the easier USTs to calibrate, especially its Color Management System (CMS) here.
BT.709 Saturation Sweeps inside BT.2020 Gamut
The BT.709 (HD Standard) saturation sweeps within the BT.2020 Container tracked pretty well.
DCI-P3 Saturation Sweeps inside BT.2020 Gamut
Next we move to wider color gamut material, like those from the state of the industry, we checked the coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut within the format’s BT.2020 specifications. The DCI-P3 Saturation Sweeps are tracking nearly identical to the BT.709 sweeps and follow a similar alignment.
BT.2020 Saturation Sweeps
Now we transition to the widest gamut available today and for the foreseeable future, BT.2020. The BT.2020 Saturation Sweeps look similar to the others, showing that, as with the LTV-3500, great time and care was given to the color tracking accuracy on this unit. These results were achieved with only adjusting the CMS at the respective color’s 50% saturation points, which is pretty great! Most manufacturers just seem to want to get the 100% saturation points to fall into their respective boxes, or they way oversaturate using the laser diode’s native color, and don’t give any thought or care whatsoever as to how well their product tracks those colors from D65 reference white point all the way out to their respective peaks, and every point in between. These AWOL units show this is not the case here.
Color Gamut Coverage Analysis
After calibration, we measured the BT.2020 and UHDA-P3 Color Gamut Coverage percentages. As you can see in the charts below, the BT.2020 gamut percentage dropped to an average of about 83%. This was of course initially due to the calibration process and the result having to pull back many of the colors to get them to spec. One thing to know with RGB lasers is that the laser light source is actually also tied to the colors more so than a lamp or laser phosphor unit, which use color filters, color wheels, prisms, etc. to get and adjust color coverages. If you adjust the grayscale using one of the laser’s colors, it also affects the color gamut/CMS, so it is a much finer adjustment process to not destroy one thing while trying to get something else in line, such as grayscale and CMS sweeps, etc. I am sure I could get these much more in line with more time to dial in each and every color to the best possible extent. This isn’t too much of an issue though as almost all content is graded to DCI-P3 levels within BT2020 anyway, and as you see the UHDA-P3 (Close to DCI-P3, but reds are slightly different) is nearer to 100%.
After another quick, interim calibration, you can see the results of everything mentioned in prior comments as to how this UST performs compared to its competition. So far, this UST performs better than its peers in this price range. The LTV-2500 clearly bested them with its sharpness, depth and detail, considering its overall lower brightness which can help with contrast in a dark, light controlled room.
Final Thoughts On The AWOL Vision LTV-2500
To sum it all up, the LTV-2500 gives a nice, vibrantly colored image at a lower total brightness than its big brother, the LTV-3500. It does also lean a little blue out of the box, as most projectors do, but this can be corrected with a bit of calibration and effort.
It has incredible, saturated and vibrant colors with its RGB lasers and it does so without the typically overblown colors of nearly every other RGB laser UST. Unlike the LTV-3500 though, the AWOL LTV-2500 isn’t quite as near to accurate out of the box.
After your first impressions of the lower brightness but with still vibrant colors, you start to again see the noticeably sharp, detailed and deep the image appear as you did with AWOL’s other UST offering. Most other displays with RGB lasers have blown out colors without the lasers being as purposefully in control and tamed as the AWOL engineers designed these great UST units to be. Those have more of an oversaturated, smeared, pastel look, almost like water colors that run past the lines of where they’re supposed to be. This is not the case with the LTV-2500 and LTV-3500 USTs.
In the limited time we had with this unit as well, with its MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation) setting off, we saw good motion handling with very little judder. As I said before, we here at ProjectorScreen.com aren’t fans of what is known as the “Soap Opera Effect” or HFR (High Frame Rate), so we hesitate to turn on these settings, but we do for reviews.
One negative which plagues all recent single chip DLPs, UST or otherwise, is the native contrast and black floor, which is noticeable, especially in a 0% full field black image. The On/Off Contrast could definitely be better and more similar to the ALPD Chinese brands, for greater performance in darker scenes. The direct competitor for this AWOL is probably the Hisense PX1-Pro, which is one of our favorite USTs and retails for $500 less than the LTV-2500’s MSRP of $3,999.
What makes up somewhat for this low on/off contrast is that, like its big brother, it has great ANSI/inter-image contrast which gives this a deep, near 3D picture in the midrange levels where there is both bright and dark content on the screen simultaneously. This, combined with the sharpness and detail mentioned earlier, will make you smile when you see it. If they get the native contrast of these AWOL USTs into the 2,000:1 range, they will easily beat out those ALPD units since other attributes they possess are already superior to them which brings them to an equal footing overall.