Friday, May 31, 2013

ViewSonic PJD7820HD Review by Mike Fackrell

It is nice to have a product that comes out every once and a while that just makes you step back and say AWESOME.  The ViewSonic PJD7820HD is just one of those products!  Now don’t get me wrong it is not like ViewSonic has invented a new projection system that just blows everyone else out of the water.  What they have done is put together a well-rounded and versatile HD projector with some great specs at a price point that is just … AWESOME.

When I first got the projector I was under the impression that it was around $1000 retail and the specifications on the projector (full HD, 3000 lumen, multiple inputs, 3D…) all added up to support that price and then some. When I realized it was going for $750 or even less I was pleasantly surprised!  ViewSonic is marketing this as a business class projector and it does that quite nicely but I have also found that it performs surprisingly well in the home theater and the game room.  My thought of a perfect consumer for this projector would be someone that makes frequent business presentations who would also like to take it home and hook it up to a game console, computer or 3D Bluray player and have a blast with it.

Features and specs:
  • 3,000 ANSI lumens with 15000:1 contrast ratio for clear, razor-sharp images
  • Full HD 1080p delivers stunning picture quality
  • BrilliantColor technology provides exceptional display quality
  • 3D Blu-ray ready with HDMI
  • DynamicEco technology for total control of audience’s focus
  • Virtually maintenance free with filter-less design
  • Long-lasting reliable picture quality & superior color performance
  • 6-segment color wheel design, auto source detection, support HD signals & integrated speaker
  • PC 3D-ready & up to 120Hz refresh rate powered by DLP Link Technology
  • Long lamp life up to 6,000 hours*
  • Environmentally friendly Eco-mode saves money and power
  • Small & light for easy portability
  • Industry-leading warranty: 3-year limited warranty on parts and labor, 1-year on lamp, and free 1st year Express Exchange service**

Build Quality and Packaging:

The box it comes in is more than adequate for protecting the projector.  Foam padding completely surrounds the projector to keep it from being damaged even in the harshest shipping conditions.  The projector was a little lighter than I expected but for a portable business class projector that was a welcome surprise.  It comes with a standard VGA cable, Power cable, and remote control.  There is no carry case included but I would highly recommend getting one to protect the nice high gloss finish of the projector.

Connections and Setup:

The projector will support all international video formats including PAL and NTSC.  There is a full complement of Analog inputs with S-Video, Composite Video, Component Video, VGA and RGB inputs.   Hooking up a WII console was very easy and the video quality was very good through the regular composite video input.  For digital video inputs we have one HDMI port that will handle your video and audio to the projector.  Video modes that it will support include 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 480i, 576i, 576p and yes the 1080p looks amazing.  Audio connections include a 3.5mm audio in and out port and it includes a mono 2 watt speaker.
Setup was easy, simply plug in to your video source and it is detected automatically or if for some reason it is not it is easily selected with the source button on the remote or on the top of the projector.  Using the buttons on the top of the projector can be a little tricky in the dark so get a good look at the orientation before the lights go out.  My first connection was to a WII console via the composite video connection.  As soon as it displayed Super Mario Smash Brothers up on the screen all I heard was ohhs and awes from my living room!  The picture was excellent for just being from a SD video source.  Colors were very vibrant and the brightness/contrast was very good … maybe a little too bright at first, (good problem to have) kids absolutely LOVED it.  One thing that was missing was some of the color correction features were greyed out.  When connected to the composite video and even VGA connection these features are not available.  Not a huge deal to me because these connections in my opinion are secondary and it is the HDMI connection that I would be using the most on an HD projector.

My next video source was from my Home Theater PC via HDMI connection.  I have an ASUS bluray burner that is 3d capable and really wanted to see how it looked 10ft wide in my living room!  HDMI connection is very simple and it was detected right away and was displaying in full HD.  The initial image looked AWESOME and was very crisp, saturated and bright .., again almost too bright.  Viewsonic provides a setup image, accessible from the projector menu, for you to adjust brightness and contrast to the correct levels for your viewing environment. I used that image to get it close but then pulled up a similar image on my computer to do my fine tuning and grey balance.  I found that the settings shown below gave me the best color and black level for an amazing viewing experience.  For not being sold as a home theater projector it did very well.

-User mode, brightnes, contrast


-Color balance - gain

The BrilliantColor technology from ViewSonic is amazing.  The picture looked so much better when this was turned on and from what I understand it is using more colors to process the projected image.  Typical projectors use red, green and blue to “mix” and produce your colors.  The PJD7820HD uses up to 6 separate colors on the color wheel to give you a better “mix” and produces a much better looking image. With this enhanced color wheel I did not see any “rainbows” (caused by color wheel not moving fast enough) even during fast action scenes that changed in brightness and color very quickly.  Some people can see these “rainbows” easier than others so your experience may vary.  I have seen them on other projectors though but not on the PJD7820HD.  The six segment color wheel may have something to do with that.

3D performance

Because this projector is so bright I was expecting it to perform well in 3D mode … and it did!  I purchased some 3D classes for DLP projectors from for less than $50 and they worked great with this projector.  One note on 3D glasses, you can find them from many other manufactures and some are even slightly cheaper, but make sure you get glasses that are designed for DLP projectors.

When you switch into 3D mode on the projector the image becomes very washed out and pale looking.  When you see this don’t panic, the projector is actually making the image better!  In 3D mode the projector projects two separate images, one for each eye, cutting the effective brightness in half.  If it did not increase the brightness the combined image (in your brain) would look too dark.  I have a photo below that helps to illustrate just how this looks.  I shot this through my 3D glasses and you can see the image outside the 3D glass lens is much brighter but the image through the lens looks awesome.  It really does. I was very happy with the results and liked it even more that sitting in the movie theater.  Again for a “data” projector the PJD7820HD does really well in the home theater!

Data projection

I used the projector in various presentations (medium and small venues),  and it did very well and even got comments on how much brighter and clearer the image was than before.  As mentioned earlier the projector is very light and easy to move around.   I used to have an older JVC projector that was a beast to move around and very hot and loud, the ViewSonic PJD7820HD is a dream come true.  It is less than 5lbs. and operates much cooler and quieter.  The fan is not silent but it was not a distraction either.  The long life bulb (4000 – 6000 hrs) make you feel much better on those very long presentations that seem to go on for hours and hours, knowing that the bulb is going to last and not going to cost a fortune to replace.  I found that running in eco mode was totally acceptable in normally lit or slightly dimmed rooms, further increasing the bulb life.  However rooms with windows did need that extra punch with the eco mode off.  There is another really cool feature in reference to the eco mode, it is called DynamicEco.  It dims the projector brightness automatically when the projector is not in use or currently active.  During some presentations you often have long periods where the image on the screen is not the focus of the presentation and when it sits for a while with no change on the display the projector automatically dims down to 70% brightness with DynamicEco mode turned on.  This turns the focus back to you and significantly reduces the power consumption and wear on the bulb.  Once the image changes on the screen it jumps back to full brightness and you are back to normal presentation mode.

The PDJ7820HD has a fairly short throw lens with a 1.3x zoom which means you can get a good sized projection on the wall or screen without having to be 20-25 feet back.  I was able to project about a 10ft wide image from only about 11ft away, perfect for presentations.


The PJD7820HD is feature packed and with an amazing MSRP price of $779 ($750 or less street price) you get a great value with this projector.  The image is very clear and vibrant and has plenty of brightness and the color is amazing, which I think is mostly due to the ViewSonic BrillianColor Technology.  The black levels were very good in darkened rooms, especially for a “data” projector.  I think this would be an excellent projector for a business professional or teacher and has an added bonus of being a solid performer for home theater or gaming use.   In fact I can see many people purchasing this for use as an entry level 3D home theater projector or for taking it to the next level on your favorite gaming console.  The value of the PJD7820HD truly is amazing! Well done ViewSonic!   Based on it's design, features, quality, and performance, the Viewsonic PJD7820HD has earned our Value Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at


Light weight (4.6 lbs)
Very Bright (3000 lumens)
Excellent image quality/sharpness (True HD)
Amazing price (<$750 Street price)
Good 3D performance
Full range of video input options (HDMI, VGA, Composite Video, S-video, Component Video)
Excellent all around projector


Limited color correction in some modes
Weak built in speaker