Personal projectors keep getting better — thank new technology and lower cost — and ViewSonic is one of the main manufacturers leading the way. I reviewed its M1 portable projector and came away quite impressed with the picture delivered by the size of hardware, and I now have here the PX706HD gaming projector, a larger device designed to fulfill every role in your home's entertainment room. Let's take a look at whether or not this projector is worth the $800 price tag.
Bottom line: It's a multipurpose projector with few flaws. If you want a huge picture for movies and games and don't want to invest in another TV, the PX706HD is an attractive option.
- Bright enough to use during the day.
- 1080p picture.
- Auto keystone adjustment.
- Plenty of customization options.
- Single speaker could be louder.
What you'll love about the ViewSonic PX706HD gaming projector
The ViewSonic PX706HD has a boxy design that's relatively light at about six pounds (2.7 kg). It has a sizeable footprint — it's about as large as a standard piece of paper and about 4.5 inches thick — but setup remains versatile thanks to a short throw distance. Set the projector about three feet away from a wall or screen and still get about a 60-inch picture, or set it seven feet away to get a picture twice the size at about 120 inches. Any further and you're into blurry territory that ViewSonic doesn't recommend. Zoom and focus controls right on the projector allow you to quickly get a clear image.
The picture, which I projected onto a bare wall most of the time, is outstanding. The 1920 x 1080 (FHD) resolution makes games, movies, and TV shows look crisp and clear, and the 3000-ANSI-lumen bulb allows use during the day. You'll notice a bit of wash when using the brightest setting, but it's really only necessary if you can't at all block sunlight. In any other case, especially in a dark room, Eco mode is usually bright enough for a great picture. You can enable automatic keystone adjustment and there's a bit of digital zoom, but I found that the projector needed minimal tweaking before it was ready to go.
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Brightness||3,000 ANSI lumens|
|Picture size||60 to 120 inches (1.5 to 3 metres)|
|Throw distance||3 to 7.2 feet (0.9 to 2.2 metres)|
|Lamp life||Up to 15000 hours (eco-mode)|
Two HDMI 1.4
3.5mm audio (in and out)
Composite RCA (in)
|Weight||6 pounds (2.7 kg)|
|Size||11.5 inches x 8.7 inches x 4.5 inches (293 mm x 220 mm x 115 mm)|
Presets keyed on the remote control make for quick switching if you're not satisfied with the picture, and there are built-in controls on the top of the projector itself. Movie mode makes colors much brighter, while Sports mode and Standard modes seem to have a different hue overall. If you're not satisfied with these presets, you can always tweak levels yourself until you hit the sweet spot. The PX706HD will even project 3D movies, which you do need proper glasses to see.
And then there's Gaming mode, which is really what this projector is all about. Enabled, input lag drops down to about 16ms, plus contrast and brightness are automatically tweaked so you can see into dark areas. I tested a few games on the PX706HD, and altogether came away impressed. This isn't going to replace the performance of a true gaming monitor with a 1ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate (and for this reason I wouldn't recommend it for esports), but playing Minecraft and Forza Horizon 3 was a blast with no discernible lag between my keyboard, mouse, and controller and what I saw on-screen. The only thing you really have to deal with when switching to gaming mode is keystone adjustment. It's disabled when gaming mode is active, meaning you need to have a setup that doesn't require a steep angle from projector to screen.
Actual setup of the projector is a breeze — you plug it in, connect a device, and pick a picture mode — and there are plenty of ports on the back. USB-C 3.1 can be used to connect mobile devices or PCs, while two HDMI, VGA, RCA, and RS232 leave you with options for connecting consoles and legacy devices. A 3.5mm audio jack (out) makes connecting a set of speakers likewise a breeze. There's plenty of room so you can keep everything plugged in at once, perfect if you plan on mounting the projector up high. As icing on the cake, the projector will power on automatically when it senses a signal from VGA or HDMI, and will power off after awhile when the signal is gone.
What you'll hate about the ViewSonic PX706HD gaming projector
Altogether, the PX706HD is an outstanding projector, but there are a few things to acknowledge that might sway your decision. After using it for a couple of weeks, I'm convinced a permanent installation is best, especially if you plan on using it for gaming. Keystone adjustments are killed when you enable faster input — though keep in mind that you can enjoy games without Gaming mode enabled with an input lag of just 33ms — and you might go nuts looking at an unsquare picture. Set the projector up once without needing much (if any) keystone adjustment, and leave it there.
Using it casually, set up on my coffee table, I found that the threaded foot on the front of the projector is a bit flimsy and doesn't quite offer the height I prefer, especially when lying back on the couch. It's a minor nitpick, but most of the time I had a book set under the foot to get it right.
Finally, you will hear the fan, especially with brightness cranked up. It's not deafening and most of the time it won't overpower the single 5W speaker, but it's still there. As for audio, I do recommend setting up a secondary speaker system, especially if you're going for a cinema experience. There are apparently some audio refinements that help with spatial awareness, but I didn't really notice them and mostly left the single speaker quiet in lieu of headphones. Once a gamer, always a gamer.
ViewSonic PX706HD gaming projector bottom line
With a lamp that's rated for 15000 hours in SuperEco mode and 4000 hours in Standard mode (lamp replacements cost about $160), a three-year limited warranty, and a one-year lamp warranty, dropping $800 on a projector isn't quite as scary as it first seems.
It can and will replace your standard TV, and it's set up to handle movies, TV, and gaming with ease. The 1080p picture is crisp and has great color, and it's bright enough to use at any time of day. No, the speaker isn't amazing and it's best suited for a permanent setup, but the ViewSonic PX706HD is altogether an impressive device for anyone looking to recreate a cinema experience in their home.
Should you buy this projector? Yes, but it makes the most sense in a permanent setup due to its size and price. Overall it delivers an outstanding picture and plenty of brightness, and the reduced input lag from its Gaming mode allows you to use it in just about any situation.
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