AWOL VISION LTV-2500 4K review
A few months ago, we wrote that AWOL VISION LTV-2500 4K sought to challenge the status quo of projection in our article AWOL Vision LTV-3500 First Impressions, and they appear to still be doing that with the UST projector they have sent us for review, the AWOL Vision LTV-2500. We’ve worked with the founders and engineers of this company and they’re not new to the projector industry, but they’re not new to product development. AWOL’s Indiegogo campaign is so successful because of our confidence in them.
In the same way as we did for the LTV-3500, we also received this lower 2,500 lumen unit to be evaluated. In addition to the CalMAN Calibration software from Portrait Display, we used the VideoForge Pro Pattern Generator, their C6 HDR-2000 Colorimeter and their i1Pro2 Spectroradiometer to make some very quick adjustments and measurements.
Although it is a triple laser unit, the light output is less at 2500 peak lumens, making it similar to other ultra short throwers. In addition to supporting SDR, HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG, it is rumored to support Dolby Vision with the same update the LTV-3500 will receive before these units ship. No native Dolby Vision content was currently available for testing at the time of this writing. This projector displays an image from 80 inches to 150 inches with the same variable focus as the LTV-3500.
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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.
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After two point white balancing, I moved on to grayscale tracking across the entire range from 0 to 100% stimulus. I was surprised to find that this model did not track as well as the 3500. A 10+ point grayscale adjustment seems necessary to improve performance with this lower lumen model, compared to the calibration shown here.
The grayscale tracked fine in the lower ranges, but only in the higher ranges, where the colors cross over, at the 80% point when white balancing was applied. As shown in the calibration chart, the EOTF followed the ST2084 curve, but was always low without Dynamic Contrast, which was the case when Dynamic Contrast was disabled. In-line post-calibration gets much better, as shown in the Post-Calibration measurement.
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The Native ON/OFF Contrast Ratio of the 0.47″ XPR DLP is 935:1 when calibrated with Vivid Mode, which is the same as the other 0.47″ DLPs. As a result of the blue being so much higher than the red and green, the top end of the display was much brighter before calibration, which resulted in a much higher contrast ratio. As a result, even if the bottom end stays the same, even if the brightness drops, the contrast ratio suffers. It is in the 800-1,000:1 range of these 0.47″ DLPs, so we are right there. Low on/off contrast only affects our eyes when the scene is extremely dark and there are no bright images to confuse us. Although I did not measure ANSI Contrast during this very quick first look, the ANSI inter-image contrast seems just as good as others. I measured 458:1 as my previous UST.
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Color Management System (CMS)
The colors on this projector were also not oversaturated when we opened it up like the LTV-3500. It also covers 107% of the BT.2020 RGB Laser UST color gamut, just like the LTV-3500. It took very little adjustment to get the 50% saturation points within their respective boxes, but they were off when the LTV-2500 was out of the box. Color Management System (CMS) calibration was relatively simple for this UST.
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BT.709 Saturation Sweeps inside BT.2020 Gamut
We then examined the coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut within the format’s BT.2020 specifications using materials with a wider color gamut, such as those from the state of the industry. There is a similar alignment and tracking between the DCI-P3 Saturation Sweeps and the BT.709.
We now move to BT.2020, the widest gamut available for the foreseeable future. BT.2020 Saturation Sweeps look similar to the other units, showing that great attention was paid to color tracking accuracy, as with the LTV-3500. We were able to achieve these results with just adjusting the CMS to 50% saturation for each color. A lot of manufacturers just want 100% saturation points to fall into their respective boxes, or they oversaturate using the native color of the laser diode, without considering whether their product accurately tracks these colors from the D65 reference white point to their respective peaks, and every point in between. As evident by these AWOL units, this isn’t the case here.
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Color Gamut Coverage Analysis
Our calibration process allowed us to measure the BT.2020 and UHDA-P3 Color Gamut Coverage percentages. The chart below shows that the average BT.2020 Gamut percentage dropped to around 83% after calibration. In the beginning, this was due to the calibration process and the need to pull back many colors. With RGB lasers, you should know that the laser light source is also tied to the colors more so than a lamp or laser phosphor unit that uses filters, color wheels, prisms, etc. The color coverage can be obtained and adjusted.
The grayscale can also be affected by one of the laser colors, so it is much more difficult to adjust things in a manner that doesn’t destroy one thing while trying to get something else in line, like grayscale sweeps and CMS sweeps. It’s likely I could get these much closer if I had more time to dial in each and every color individually. The UHDA-P3 (Closer to DCI-P3, but the reds are slightly different) is nearer to 100% anyway, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Nearly all content in BT2020 is graded to DCI-P3 levels.
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In light of everything mentioned previously regarding the performance of this UST, you can see it performs better than its peers in this price range after another quick, interim calibration. So far, it performs better than its competitors. Since the LTV-2500 has a lower overall brightness, which helps with contrast in a dark, light controlled room, its sharpness, depth, and detail clearly outperformed them.
Despite the LTV-2500’s low brightness, it produces a lovely, vibrant image. Like most projectors, the LTV-2500 leans towards blue out of the box, but with calibration and effort, it is often corrected.
The AWOL LTV-2500 is more accurate out of the box than the LTV-3500, but has incredible, saturated and vibrant colors of its RGB lasers.
The image appears noticeably sharper, more detailed and deeper as you did with AWOL’s other UST product after your first impressions of lower brightness but still vibrant colors. The AWOL engineers designed these excellent UST units to be purposefully in control and tamed to ensure that colors aren’t blown out as they would on most displays with RGB lasers. In contrast, the LTV-2500 and LTV-3500 USTs have a more pastel, oversaturated, smeared appearance, almost like water colors that stray outside their lines.
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Final Thoughts On The AWOL Vision LTV-2500 REVIEW
The MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation) settings of this unit were also set off, resulting in good motion handling with minimal judder during our limited time with it. Despite the fact that we here at ProjectorScreen.com are not fans of what is known as the soap opera effect or HFR (High Frame Rate), we do turn these settings on for reviews, though.
UST or not, the native contrast and black floor are a major issue with recent single chip DLPs, especially in full-field black images with 0% contrast. For greater performance in darker scenes, the On/Off Contrast should be improved and closer to the Chinese ALPD brands. It is likely that this AWOL will compete with the Hisense PX1-Pro, one of our favorite USTs and priced $500 less than the LTV-2500.
However, like its big brother, the device has great ANSI/inter-image contrast to compensate for its low on/off contrast, giving it a deep, almost 3-dimensional picture when both bright and dark content are displayed simultaneously in the midrange levels. You will smile when you see it because of the sharpness and detail I talked about earlier.
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