ViewSonic LS500WHE: An Ideal Projector for Business and Education?

When it comes to computer displays, it is impossible to ignore ViewSonic’s massive presence in the market. The company’s line-up of monitors, commercial display screens, digital whiteboards, and projectors – just to name a few – has been wowing customers and the tech industry since the 1990s, and the LS500WHE 3rd-generation LED projector looks like another solid addition to ViewSonic’s product range.

Projectors usually find themselves used in quite specific circumstances, such as in educational institutions; or in office and other business settings; or in some instances, as part of a home theatre/entertainment system setup. This gives them distinct characteristics to watch out for.

At a svelte 2.45 kg, the LS500WHE is approximately the average weight for projectors. The footprint is also pretty small, all things considered, and you could always wall or ceiling mount it to save more space. This also makes it quite portable – you could easily carry it around on a motorcycle, for instance.

Using a projector requires you to prepare a screen on which the image will be displayed… or a white wall, which is what I did. The first thing you will notice is that this thing is bright! ViewSonic claims a brightness of 3,000 ANSI lumens, and even at noon on a sunny day, the picture (subtitles included) could be clearly seen when projected from about 20 feet away onto a blank wall with the brightness set at less than 75%. Of course, the brightness does depend on the reflectivity of the surface you are projecting onto, so your mileage may vary.

The other thing I noticed is that being a projector, unsurprisingly it gets warm even in an air-conditioned room. After prolonged use, you might want to let it cool down a little before moving it around – more for your comfort than anything else.

Inputs/Outputs

The LS500WHE’s video I/O options are quite simple, as you might expect from a projector. There is a HDMI 1.4 port… and that’s it. This is fine for most purposes; however, if you are using older machines that only support VGA (not entirely impossible in a school setting), or newer devices that only support DisplayPort or USB-C for video, you may need to use additional hubs or converters to make it work with the LS500WHE.

Audio I/O is handled via standard 3.5mm jacks, allowing you to use the LS500WHE in a passthrough fashion if you prefer to use your existing audio setup over the built-in speaker. Yes, the LS500WHE has its own speaker, but at 2W, it’s realistically not going to wow any audiophiles out there. That said, if you don’t mind mono sound, the speaker is quite audible – even across a door – and in a quiet meeting room, will do in a pinch.

The LS500WHE does come with a USB ‘service’ port, which really just means that it can be used to update the projector’s firmware, as well as deliver power (5V/2A) to, say, a wireless HDMI dongle. It also includes a serial port (RS232) as well as a remote control – quite handy if you don’t want to be using the controls on the projector itself all the time.

Setting up the LS500WHE

As mentioned earlier, you can use the buttons on the projector to make the necessary display and audio adjustments, or the remote control. The on-screen display (OSD) is quite logical and well laid-out, and in my opinion fairly self-explanatory as well. From the OSD, you can change the usual settings you would expect (brightness/contrast), the keystoning, audio settings, power settings, and so on.

General work/home usage

This is a projector designed for (home) office and educational use, and the LS500WHE does quite well in those settings. One thing of note is the relatively short start-up and shutdown times; ViewSonic claims that the LS500WHE can actually turn on and off within 3 seconds – an achievement when one considers how long the usual DLPs take to do the same thing (up to 5 times longer or more). In my testing, the projector really can turn on within that time… occasionally. From standby, it takes anywhere from 3 to 11 seconds to display actual content. This is comparable to the 6 seconds it takes my smart TV to do the same (my previous smart TV took even longer at 15-20 seconds).

The LS500WHE can be wall and ceiling mounted, and can display in a 360o fashion – so on both horizontal and vertical planes. This is not recommended for most other projectors, and makes the LS500WHE a more versatile option in special circumstances.

Video/gaming performance

Yes, there are projectors designed for gaming – ViewSonic even makes some of the better ones – but the LS500WHE is not one of those; in fact, ViewSonic says so upfront. Its native resolution of 1280×800 and input lag of 16ms just doesn’t quite cut it. There are other ViewSonic projectors designed for that purpose, if that’s what you’re specifically looking for.

That said, ViewSonic boasts 125% coverage of the Rec.709 wide colour gamut for the LS500WHE, using Cinema SuperColor+™ Technology. This makes colours more vivid, vibrant, and true-to-life, even in brighter environments. Its refresh rates of up to 120Hz also makes for buttery-smooth video playback.

The cost advantages

Being an LED projector, the LS500WHE is more economical to operate over the long term than conventional DLP (lamp-based) projectors, and ViewSonic has the figures to back its claim up. For one thing, the LS500WHE is rated for 30,000 hours (at 8 hours of use a day, that’s over 10 years). This is a staggering lifespan – especially when compared to DLP projectors, whose bulbs have a lifespan of a mere ~5000 hours on average.

Thanks to ams OSRAM’s Ostar Projection Power LED technology, ViewSonic says the LS500WHE positively sips electricity, using 156W when operating normally, and <0.5W in standby. My power meter bears that out, measuring less than 120W while I was watching a Korean drama with the sound pumped all the way up, and 0.3W in standby. As conventional DLP projectors can draw up to 350W, this is quite remarkable.

The LS500WHE will also offer free maintenance and free labour costs, likely thanks to the fact that there are fewer ways it can fail. For instance, its advanced sealed optical engine prevents dust from entering and affecting the thermal system, granting it the IP5X dust protection certification.

All of these added up point to lower total cost of ownership, which is great news for budget-conscious schools and businesses.

Summary

All things considered; this is a decent projector for the purposes that it was designed to handle. The lack of other inputs besides HDMI is baffling, but can be remedied with the appropriate accessories. The maximum 1080p resolution it supports is sufficient for business and academic use, and it’s bright enough to get the job done too, especially in environments where you can control the ambient lighting but even if you can’t. Colour accuracy has always been my gripe with projectors; you spend all your time putting together a dazzling presentation, and then people can hardly see it because the colours are washed out or something. This isn’t something you have to worry about much with the LS500WHE, although ambient lighting still plays a role.

It retails for RM3899, featuring a 3-year warranty and on-site pick-up service; just call ViewSonic’s service centre at 1-800-888-997. The LS500WHE can be bought at online at Lazada. For more information on the LS500WHE, visit https://bit.ly/3QomHeA.

Disclaimer: The reviewer has no commercial relationship with the product manufacturer or its affiliated companies. The review product was returned after the conclusion of the review period.

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