Hisense PX1-Pro Review
Hisense set out to create a ultra short throw projector designed for dedicated cinemas and in my opinion they succeeded in their goal with the Hisense PX-1 Pro. It provides a very sharp and detailed image with good contrast for this class of DLP projector due to its high ANSI and inter-image performance. The PX1-Pro may have poorer contrast than other technologies, but the sharpness and color volume which you can’t get with those really stands out here.
The PX1-Pro's image is more refined and natural without needing to do as many adjustments right out of the box like other RGB USTs. If you have a dedicated, light controlled environment yet yearn for the many benefits of RGB TriChroma lasers and everything it brings over lamp and phosphor based standard throw projectors, then this is the ultra short throw for you!
- Out of this world BT.2020 colors
- No color or phosphor wheel, with true RGB lasers
- Great ANSI and inter image contrast
- Three dimensional, sharp and detailed image
- Easier to calibrate than other RGB and laser phosphor USTs
- Made for dedicated, light-controlled environments
- Full Fade to Black lasers in SDR Mode
- Built-in TV tuner
- ALLM Low Latency Game Mode
- Still no native Netflix App
- Elevated black floor in HDR Mode
- No Full Fade to Black in HDR Mode
- No Dynamic Tone Mapping
- Should tone map HDR to SDR for best performance, using outboard capable device
- No 3D support
- No screen included (*this could count as a Pro, depending on your situation!)
Hisense PX1-Pro In Depth Review
The Hisense PX1-Pro is the Home Theater version of their prior UST, the L9G Tri-Chroma laser TV, which features true Red, Green and Blue laser diodes as its light source to produce greater than BT2020 colors on screen.
This new PX1-Pro UST projector is based on the same chassis and uses the same RGB laser light engine but it’s tailored for a dedicated and dark home theater environment and features some new, sleek styling.
The peak brightness has been lowered to 2,200 lumens, from 3,000. This allows for ultimately a lower black floor and in theory, better native contrast, if done correctly using laser dimming. This or any other UST projector that we know of, doesn’t feature an iris in the lens path.
Hisense's First Variable Screen Size Projector
You can use variable sized screens with this model, 90-130” unlike the prior L9G, which was limited to 100” and 120” screens included with that projector, without the variable focus adjustment now included on the PX1-Pro.
The reason for not including a fixed screen and size is because it is designed for dedicated home theaters, so in most cases this will not need an ALR (Ambient Light Rejecting) screen surface to reject ambient lighting from windows, lights, etc.
You should be able to use your existing dedicated theater screen, which is usually a white screen of neutral gain up to about a 1.3 gain, but be careful as higher gain screens may cause hotspotting. Standard, lower gain grey cinema screens should work well too, if you would like to help the black floor even more, but make sure you take into account that you will also lower the peak brightness with these grey screens by the same factor, so native contrast will be the same.
One thing to keep in mind by using a traditional projector screen, instead of one engineered for UST projection is that you may be lighting up your ceiling by virtue of the angle of reflection. A traditional projector screen will diffuse light in all directions, whereas a specialized UST screen surface will take the light coming up from the steep angle of the projector and direct it outwards specifically towards the audience.
If you do decide to use it in a room with ambient light or wish to watch something like sports with lights on, then there are numerous options available for ultra short throw ALR projection screens - just contact the experts here at ProjectorScreen.com to find the right fit for you!
Hisense has always prided itself on the aesthetic design of their ultra short throws because they know these devices are meant to be the centerpiece of your media or living room. You can tell they put that thought into the PX1-Pro.
We love that they went with a slate gray finish instead of a white one like many of their competitors such as Samsung. This unit has more of a matte finish than the Hisense L9G. This is better because you get less light reflection bouncing off the unit’s body from the shiny surface.
While not as sleek, Hisense further differentiated it from the L9G by giving the PX1-Pro a more boxy design. The protrusion on top is angled to avoid light bouncing off the projector and back at the bottom the screen, though functional, it gives the unit a clunkier look and feel.
That said this projector is designed for the dark so who cares what it looks like, right!?
It features a perforated plastic front to hide the built-in speakers and the lens is recessed in the body with a dust reducing louver design.
We really like that it has 4 independently adjustable feet for easy and more precise alignment to your screen.
Advanced DLP Chipset
The PX1-Pro is a “4K” home theater projector by design. It uses the Texas Instruments 1920x1080 native .47” DLP Imaging Chip with their quad e-shift functionality, which differs from other .67” e-shift standard throw and UST projectors that shift in only two directions but feature a larger sized and higher resolution DLP chip. These 1080p quad shift projectors are known to have worse native contrast than their .67” counterparts. We will see how this home theater centric UST stacks up and performs in this arena and if it really matters, so read on!
2,200 Lumens of Brightness
At a rating of 2,200 lumens the Hisense PX1-Pro isn't the brightest ultra short throw projector out there which makes sense because this device was designed with home cinemas in mind where the ambient light in the room is better controlled. This allows for ultimately a lower black floor and in theory, better native contrast
Because of this lower lumen output the PX1-Pro isn’t the best choice for well lit livingrooms with big windows
However, when you pair this relatively bright 2,200 lumen cinema projector with a UST ambient light rejecting projection screen you get a vibrant enough image for all but the brightest of rooms in your house. It's certainly bright enough with the ALR screen for lights on viewing in a home theater.
ANSI Lumens (*Laser power at 10 for all modes, stated specs 2,200 Lumens):
Theater Day: 1,379
Theater Night: 1,233
*Measured brightness uniformity was 82%, which was better than the prior L9G due to the lower peak brightness, so there was less chance of discoloration and non-uniformity that you get with higher light outputs which can’t be tamed as well.
True RGB Triple Laser Light Source
The Hisense PX1-Pro Tri-Chroma laser TV is powered by true Red, Green and Blue laser diodes as its light source to produce stunningly vibrant colors on the cinema screen.
Since this projector features separate and distinct RGB lasers, there is no need for a color wheel, as normal lamp and laser phosphor based projectors require. This triple laser design gives the new Hisense UST tremendously vivid and accurate colors.
This is also an advantage because the laser diodes can cycle between them much faster than a color wheel can, which in turn reduces what is known as RBE, or the “Rainbow Effect”. This is color separation artifacts that you can see, like separate red, green and blue flashed lines, especially in bright scenes with dark backgrounds, such as a street lamp at night. Some single chip DLP projectors are worse than others, and RGB tri-chroma laser projectors like the PX1-Pro are generally the best at this. Some people are more susceptible to this DLP phenomena as well. Any DLP color separation artifacts are hardly noticeable on the PX1-Pro. This is most likely due to a combination of its lower light output as compared to other USTs, which are designed to overpower ambient light in living rooms to be a TV replacement, and the RGB tri-chroma laser design.
The laser light source is the same one used in the L9G, which provides a rating of 25,000+ hours, which is dependent on the laser brightness modes used throughout its life. This projector features SDR, HLG and HDR10 capabilities with support for Rec709, DCI-P3 and full BT.2020 color gamuts.
Hisense reports a dynamic 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Though as with all manufacturer reported contrast ratio it should be taken with a grain of salt.
We did our own sequential contrast ratio measurements and found the sequential on/off contrast at 1,184:1. Which was actually a little disappointing compared to other projectors like the Samsung LSP9T.
However where the PX1-Pro really shined was the ANSI contrast which refers to the difference between black and white when they’re on the screen at the same time. It rivaled the ANSI contrast of some other regular throw home theater projectors like the JVC NZ5 and the Optoma UHZ65.
We measured contrast in the HDR mode, off the ALR screen to give real world results. As is normal with recent single chip DLPs, it measured 1,027:1 sequential ON/OFF contrast. In HDR the lasers do not go to Full Fade to Black like they do in SDR mode. Nothing I tried got them to go to full shutoff, except lowering the gamma value at 5% to -11. This resulted in of course an effect on everything below 5% and when adjusting Brightness, there were no 2% or 5% PLUGE bars visible in the pattern, so this trick isn’t advisable. Knowing that the lasers do go full off in SDR mode, so I switched to SDR, put up a single white pixel on a black background pattern to avoid the lasers going off and giving an infinite:1 contrast. In this configuration we measured a little better at 1,184:1 ON/OFF.
For ANSI contrast, you need to take into account the environment the projector is installed in. Our demo room is done in all dark greys and when the lights are off, it’s about as dark as it gets short of using triple black velvet. That being said, the ANSI measured very well at 456:1. In comparison a recent JVC, the NX5, measured only 244:1. This equates to the mids and brights having more depth of field and intra-image contrast.
Sharpness & Resolution
The sharpness on this is extremely good, especially when you consider it is a 1080p native, .47” 4-way shifter compared to the larger .67” DLP chip with higher native resolution. This PX1 rivals those larger chips and even exceeds some. This is one of the sharpest DLPs we’ve seen, and that includes standard throws as well. We believe the fact that with USTs at least, it is such a short travel from lens to screen, so sharpness is easier to maintain.
In the same vein as above with a .47” chip DLP, the resolution also appears great even though there is some overlap of the pixels due to the nature of the 4-way shifting design. You don’t get this with native resolution imaging chips like the JVCs and Sonys of the world use, but their Achilles heel is convergence of those native pixels of the 3 separate SXRD/LCoS imaging chips, which also affect the appearance of sharpness and resolution on screen.
Some of what is seen on screen was chromatic aberration, most likely from the lens. There was some red and blue fringing artifacts bleeding out form the white lines in our patterns, but this is something you’d be extremely hard pressed to see in real world video content.
The motion handling on the Hisense PX1-Pro was overall excellent, especially after some setting tweaks. Fast-moving images appear smooth and crystal clear with very little judder.
That said, using a custom motion setting of 2 to combat judder and 2 for motion blur gave a smooth presentation without any real Soap Opera Effect visible. It looked very natural and smooth, similar to native and appearing better than the JVC NX5 available here.
According to Hisense, the lag time on the PX1-Pro is very similar to its predecessor the L9G, which is reported to be in 35 millisecond range, which is not bad.
The Hisense PX1-Pro supports 60 FPS 4K gaming, making it a perfect match for the latest gen consoles like the PS5 and Xbox series X. It also does 120 FPS in 1080p.
This projector also does have ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), so there is no need to do any manual picture mode adjustments. It automatically detects when a game console is connected and it adjusts the settings on the projector automatically for optimal game performance.
A big measurement for projectors that is often overlooked is the noise emanating from the cooling fans. This noise can pull you out of your movie watching experience very quickly if it is excessive. The good thing about the PX1-Pro is that this is not an issue! I attempted to measure it from the standard 1 meter distance, but wasn’t able to get a reading, let alone an accurate one. So I decided to move the meter to one foot away from the front of the chassis. The reading I got was about 30.8 dBA. This number appears lower than the L9G, most likely because the total light output is less, which means less heat is being generated, requiring less cooling.
Apps and Connectivity
The PX1-Pro is based on an Android TV platform, so you will have all your favorite apps from the Google Play Store, although I personally like to use stand alone streaming boxes, like an Amazon Firestick, on all my displays for reasons we won’t go into here, other than they support Netflix unlike these Hisense USTs. You can though cast Netflix from your phone using its built in Chromecast feature.
It has Google Assistant built in and works with Alexa.
This Hisense projector features two HDMI 2.1 ports with eARC, one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one Optical Digital Audio output and one “F” type RF antenna coaxial input for clear QAM and OTA antenna signals, making this a true “TV” instead of just a monitor, if that matters to you. Connectivity includes WiFi Direct, ethernet and Bluetooth.
The remote is the same one used with the L9G with all the same action and sponsored dedicated app launch buttons such as YouTube, Disney+, Tubi, Prime Video and Google Play. It has the Google Voice button for searches and the same Home, Play/Pause, Mute, Volume and Channel up/down, Menu, Back arrow, direction arrows and OK/Select to choose what’s highlighted on screen. It also has a dedicated “FAV” button to go right to your favorite apps/channels. There is a “123” button which brings up an on-screen number selection menu. You can select which source you want to watch from the RF Coax input for your OTA antenna signals for example, or whatever is plugged into the HDMI 1 or 2 jacks such as your favorite streamer, UHD or HD Bluray player, DVR or any other HDMI capable source device.
This projector has a 0.25:1 throw ratio, which means that the front of the projector’s chassis should sit at .25 times the width of your screen, or ¼ the width, out from the screen wall in order to fill it correctly, in a 16x9 format. For example, if you had a 100” screen, the front of the projector would be about 25” from the wall. I wish for simplicity’s sake they would just give you the measurement from the back of the projector, but it is what it is.
Choose your size to view your placement guide:
First and foremost, it is always better to setup and adjust the projector physically and manually by hand so as to be square and plumb to the screen in all directions and in all corners of the screen. You do this mainly by squaring it up and placing it initially at the specified distance from the wall for your particular screen size, as mentioned previously. The quick setup guide has a very nice procedure to follow, so I won’t get into it here and I advise you to refer to the guide, even if you’re a man and it goes against your natural instincts to take time to actually read the manual!
The PX1-Pro features Auto Geometric Correction mode. It uses your smartphone to help align image onto your screen. You scan a QR code while on the same network as the projector. Then take a picture of the entire screen and image, which you then upload. The projector then does the rest! There is also a manual Geometric Correction menu should you choose to do so.
Even though these geometric setup options are available, my professional opinion is you definitely want to avoid using it and any other sort of keystone or warping adjustments whatsoever to electronically fit the image to your screen since this is a home theater projector and not a business machine showing PowerPoint Slides and the like. These electronic adjustments can destroy your image quality and resolution while wasting the native pixel structure. So you’re essentially throwing away the extra funds you invested in a 4K projector, only to have image quality more akin to 2K or less if you use too much electronic manipulation.
Once you’re square to the screen and have all sides and corners aligned, then one big benefit of this new model is the ability to adjust focus based on the screen size you have and the distance from it the projector is located. This allows you to dial in the image and pixels to a razor sharp focus to give your picture more depth, detail and three dimensionality.
My first experience with this projector was in the HDR mode, where I made my initial calibration. I went through and tested every mode in HDR, which includes HDR Vivid, HDR Standard, HDR Energy Saving, HDR Game, HDR Sport, HDR Theater and finally FILMMAKER MODE. I did an HDR Analysis Workflow from CalMAN on each mode in succession.
Normally for a calibration on a lamp or laser phosphor based projector, which don’t have an extremely wide full BT.2020 color gamut using full power RGB lasers like the PX1-Pro and some other UST projectors, I would automatically go to the mode that tested the closest to D65, etc. for my mode to begin calibration. Now, with full bandwidth RGB lasers I decided to try a mode like Vivid and see how it would react to trying to be “tamed”.
Suffice it to say, I was shocked at the results! You can see for yourself in the Calibration Charts. This also bears out in my testing with source material such as Fury Road, Guardians of the Galaxy II, et al.
As you can see and is what’s normal in modes like Vivid, it leans very blue/cool.
White Balance, Adjusted
After Greyscale calibration, Delta E’s are now well below 1 and RGB Balance is under 1% off. Both are incredible results, especially for a mode such as Vivid!
Greyscale Tracking well below the DeltaE threshold of under 3% across the board. EOTF “Gamma” tracking is showing a little low and I wasn’t able to find settings that helped this, but in real world visual examination the errors are too small to see with the human eye. I believe a more gradual curve such as this provides a more pleasing image than a sharp and hard knee that clips.
Color Management System (CMS) at 50% Sat/50% Lum levels
The Color Management System (CMS) at 50% Sat/50% Lum levels tracks incredibly well for a mode such as Vivid!
Color Checker Analysis
The Color Checker is a torture test for most displays, especially projectors. The results here are quite good, all things considered. There are only a few colors with DeltaE’s larger than 3, with the worst of them being about 5.5. They appear to be the ones that involve some green. My thought is that these are due to using a mode such as Vivid, but in my mind it is worth it for HDR to get the higher, punchier image that bodes well for this.
BT.2020 Saturation Sweeps
The BT2020 tracking here is great for a mode like Vivid. I know I sound like a broken record, but this needs to be stated each time for emphasis since Vivid normally blows these measurements out.
DCI-P3 Color inside a BT.2020 Color Gamut
This is the same basic results as the BT2020 Sweeps.
BT.709 Color inside BT.2020
Very similar results as the P3 and BT2020 sweeps, but ever so slightly worse. Most likely due to having to work harder to remap from a very wide BT2020 gamut down to BT709, which is the defacto standard for HDTV and HD Blu-rays.
Similar results in a post calibration run to what you see in the prior, separate tests. No DeltaE’s over 3 for greyscale and none over 2 for colors, with the EOTF (Electro-Optical Transfer Function, similar to SDR Gamma but for HDR. This is an absolute “gamma”, versus relative for a Power Law Gamma) being below specs. This appears to be a manufacturer’s choice to get the look they’re seeking for HDR on their projector. I may run this calibration again using offsets to see if this can help rectify this.
PX1-Pro Post-Calibration Settings
As can been seen in the chart above, the biggest change is switching to the LOW Color Temperature, from the Vivid default of HIGH, which really pushes the image into the blue range. As you can also see, doing this makes it very easy to pull other parameters in line, such as the RGB Gains and Offsets, where it shows the maximum change is no more than 2 clicks. Lowering the Color control down a couple clicks to 48 also helped CMS adjustments and getting the Saturation Sweeps to track as nice as they are.
You may notice the note in the comment section mentioning that “*All color bright(ness) at 0”. I did not adjust color brightness using any normal offsets for HDR. I have found with many manufacturers they each have their own way of displaying and processing HDR, its tone mapping, curve, etc., so I basically do not take into account color lumens/brightness and just let the manufacturer’s engineering decision on this matter for this display/projector take over. Plus, the end user will be using many different screen types, from ALR, to grey to neutral white or one with some gain, depending on their environment. The type of technology also plays a factor in this, such as DLP sequential single chip, LCD, SXRD/LCoS, etc.
SDR viewing is best done using the standard mode, which gives a nice balanced image that is bright enough to overpower any ambient lights that may be on while watching your favorite drama or sporting event. We didn’t calibrate in this mode yet, mostly because less critical viewing is being done, but we will so as to cover any HD Blu-rays you may want to play. A quick two point greyscale could do wonders as the tracking is good on the PX1-Pro.
A big advantage of this UST and why it’s called a TV is because of the inclusion of a TV tuner capable of tuning in antenna and cable signals, as mentioned previously. We don’t have an antenna in our demo labs, so we couldn’t run it through any channel scans.
There is an ambient light sensor which adjusts the laser brightness levels based on the room’s lighting conditions. This was disabled though to give the maximum amount of light for good TV viewing and to emulate that flat panel TV this may have replaced. This is definitely a season to taste type setting though.
One huge thing that was discovered after the calibration and during writing of this review, which may even dictate a second look at this fine projector, was turning off the HDR Metadata on the Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray player we had on hand for real world testing after our calibration. I stumbled on this while trying to get some updated contrast readings and to get the HDR mode to go to full fade to black. This caused the projector to not go into its HDR mode and reverting to SDR Vivid mode. The image took on a whole new level of shadow, highlight detail and sharpness that literally took my breath away!
It appears the SDR mode is so much cleaner and with less processing that the image appears so natural and clean. It also seemed to do some form of tone mapping. When I played the infamous Horse in the Snow scene from the Spears & Munsil UHD Test Blu-ray, even at 10,000 nits setting and selecting the 10,000 nit version of the video scene, there was no blown out highlights from the snow! Normally this scene would be a blown out mess, where you would only see the horse and then a solid white background with no detail, let alone being able to see the trees in the background. This was not the case after disabling the HDR metadata and making the projector go into its SDR mode.
So my conclusion is that the processing isn’t quite up to the level of their SDR. This is borne out by two things I observed in my limited time with this projector. No full fade to black in HDR mode, and just the unbelievably clean, detailed and tone mapped image when the PX1-Pro is in its SDR mode but being sent an HDR BT2020 signal. One key thing you have to do here though is set the Target Luminance under the HDR menu of the Oppo to something below 200 nits so the colors are rendered correctly. I went back and forth between 75-100 nits since the calibrated peak luminance I measured was about 63 nits. You also can tailor the look and tone mapping using the HDR to SDR Mode. I found Mode 1 seem to be best in my testing , but I would test these yourself for the best balance in your environment.
You can clearly see this projector’s lineage shine through (pun intended!). It is in most respects equivalent to the L9G, just with a fine tuned light engine designed for dedicated cinemas. This was intentional by Hisense, and in my opinion they succeeded in their goal.
They built another very sharp and detailed image producer with better than typical contrast for this class of DLP projector, namely due to its exemplary ANSI and inter-image contrast performance. The discrete RGB lasers that this and many other USTs are starting to employ really gives a leg up, closer to the standard bearers of dedicated home theaters like the JVC LCoS and Sony SXRD lines. They may have poorer ON/OFF sequential contrast and a higher black floor, but the shear sharpness and color volume that you can’t get with those technologies really stands out. When taken as a package overall, it is now hard to say one is easily better than the other given each’s strengths and weaknesses. It is now a simple decision based on what is best for you and what you like and enjoy better and what type of content do you watch the most and in what environment.
A competitive unit also boasting a true RGB laser design is the Samsung LSP9T. While the LSP9T appears to have brighter more vibrant colors overall, it appears to be too much and you can notice it with things like laser speckle, especially in reds. It takes a lot to tame the LSP9T, but when you do the image can be breathtaking. With the PX1-Pro, the image is more refined and you don’t need to do that right out of the box. It right away comes across as a more natural and refined image, even though the colors upon checking and calibrating are also overblown as they are on the Samsung.
I don’t know if it is the lens or just more control of the laser light, the filters it passes through and how concentrated they are when they hit the DMD chip, but the PX1-Pro just appears sharper and more detailed than the other USTs.
If you have a dedicated, light controlled environment yet yearn for some RGB TriChroma DLP goodness and everything it brings over the stalwarts like JVC, Sony and Epson, then this is the UST for you!