As the model name implies, the ViewSonic PX703HD ($649.99) home entertainment projector has a lot in common with the ViewSonic PX701HD ($589.99) that we’ve also reviewed. It shares most of the specs—including a 3,500-lumen brightness rating and native 1080p resolution—and the PX703HD’s list price is only a little higher. Like its cousin, it’s a more than reasonable low-cost choice for home entertainment or home theater. If you’re deciding between the two, the key improvements to note are the PX703HD’s greater zoom range for the lens (1.3x rather than 1.1x) and improved color accuracy for crisp, color-accurate images right out of the box.
The PX703HD uses 1,920 by 1,080 pixels on a 1,920-by-1,200 DLP chip to give it a 1080p native resolution for video sources. The extra pixels on the chip let you shift the image up or down by a total of 10% of the image height to more easily match the picture to your screen during setup. A PC providing WUXGA input can take advantage of the full 1,920-by-1,200-pixel resolution.
The white panel on its red-blue-green-cyan-yellow-white (RBGCYW) color wheel produces a brighter image but can hurt color accuracy compared to projectors without a white segment; the cyan and yellow panels help correct for that. The six-segment wheel is designed for use in bright rooms, such as a family room with a lot of windows. If you’re equipping a darkened home theater, you should consider DLP projectors designed for viewing in a dark room, such as the BenQ HT2150ST, that omit white panels for improved color accuracy.
Gamers need a fast input lag, and the PX703HD delivers. Using a Bodnar meter, I measured a 17.7ms input lag at 1080p 60Hz with the projector’s 3X Fast Input setting on. That’s a hair slower than the 16.4ms that many projectors in this class deliver—including the PX701HD and the BenQ TH585—but the difference won’t matter to any but the most serious gamers.
The onboard 10-watt speaker sounds a bit tinny, and the volume is only enough to fill a medium-size room. If you want truly immersive sound, you’ll need an external sound system.
The PX703HD is small enough for easy handling during setup, at just 5.8 pounds and 4.3 by 12.3 by 8.7 inches (HWD). ViewSonic doesn’t supply a carrying case, but the projector’s light weight makes it easy to carry to a friend’s house, move from room to room, or store when not in use.
The 1.3x zoom and ability to shift the image on the DLP chip add flexibility for positioning. Digital keystone correction is best avoided, since it lowers brightness and can introduce artifacts in the image, but you can use the +/- 40-degree vertical keystone control to square off the picture if you have to tilt the projector to aim at the screen. Inputs include two HDMI 1.4a ports.
I set the projector up for a 90-inch image at 7 feet, 4 inches from the screen. That’s a full two feet closer than the PX701HD’s 1.1x zoom allows, which makes the PX703HD a much better fit for a small room. Another notable difference between the two is a small lip across the bottom of the PX703HD’s lens. Scattered light spilling out past the edges of a screen can be distracting, particularly at the bottom. If you shift the image to the bottom of its range, the lip eliminates any possibility of that happening.
All but one of the predefined color modes delivers acceptable color accuracy with default settings. The aptly named Brightest mode was the exception. It tends to blow out highlights and has a greenish-blue color shift that made a splash of sunlight on a hand look more like frostbite. As with most projectors, the brightest mode is best reserved for use only when you absolutely need it to combat a whole lot of ambient light.
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Most people will judge the Sports, Standard, and Gaming modes as watchable with default settings, at least for casual viewing. However, all are blue-shifted to varying degrees, and Gaming mode lightens most scenes to the point where brightly lit ones are on the verge of looking washed out. For dark scenes, this can be an advantage in games, since it lets you see what’s happening in the shadows more quickly. However, it can rob photorealistic images of contrast and diminish three-dimensionality. For movies and video, Movie mode delivers more visual impact for dark scenes and the best color accuracy of all the picture modes.
A color management system lets you adjust hue, saturation, and gain separately for each primary and secondary color. However, you’re not likely to need to. The only time I saw color wandering outside of a realistic range—a slightly turquoise sky—was in one short clip. That one glitch was easy to fix without creating issues with other colors, simply by adjusting the Hue setting for Cyan. This is a considerable improvement over the PX701HD, which had frequent color errors in our testing.
Based on the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommendations, 3,500 lumens is bright enough to deliver a suitably bright 270-inch-diagonal 16:9 image using a 1.0-gain screen in a dark room, or a 150-inch image in moderately bright ambient light. The modes you’ll actually want to use aren’t that bright, but they work fine for most home uses. Movie mode was easily bright enough in a dark room to fill a 90-inch screen for my formal testing. And in a family room with lots of windows, it was bright enough to fill an 80-inch 1.0 gain white screen for nighttime viewing with lights on.
For daytime viewing, colors were noticeably less saturated, but the picture was still highly watchable, particularly for brightly lit material such as sports, news, and game shows. Also keep in mind that you can get higher brightness, with only a slight reduction in color accuracy, by switching to Sports or Standard mode.
As with most 3D projectors in this price range, the PX703HD offers one 3D picture mode and works with DLP-link glasses only. I didn’t see any crosstalk in my tests and saw only minor 3D-related motion artifacts.
One potential issue is that the PX703HD showed more rainbow artifacts in my tests than most current DLP projectors do. If you see these artifacts easily or find them particularly bothersome—or don’t know whether you do—be sure to buy the projector from a source that allows returns without a restocking fee.
The ViewSonic PX703HD is best understood as a slightly-more-than-entry-level 1080p projector designed for gaming and movies with the lights on. It doesn’t support HDR or accept and downconvert 4K input, which you can find in somewhat more expensive models such as the Optoma GT1080HDR and the Optoma HD39HDR. However, it’s more convenient to set up than less expensive models with similar image quality, including the BenQ TH585. If you don’t need the additional features available with the next step up in price, but you want a little more than the next step down, the PX703HD is right in your sweet spot.Source