Laser projectors are starting to get a little cheaper, finally, thanks to 4K projectors like the LG CineBeam HU810P. It’s still on the expensive side, but it’s half the price of the laser projectors companies like LG were putting out just a few years ago.
That said, while the design of the projector isn’t all that unique, it will fit in any living room or home theater and the image quality on offer by the projector is very good. You’ll get a very bright image that can get up to a massive 300 inches, and in SDR and HDR content alike, the projector is able to display vivid colors.
The device also supports a range of smart home ecosystems, including Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa, plus it supports AirPlay 2 and Amazon Alexa. And, while we don’t recommend using the built-in speakers, they can at least get pretty loud – enough so at least to hide most of the fan noise.
Admittedly, the black levels aren’t as deep as we would have liked and it’s missing some major streaming services – both of which hurt its overall value compared to, say, the Samsung Premiere.
Generally speaking, the LG HU810P is an excellent projector, and if you’re building a home theater it’s well worth considering.
Price and release date
The LG CineBeam HU810P became available in the middle of 2021, after being announced at CES 2021. Unfortunately, however, it isn’t cheap – you’ll have to shell out a hefty $2,999 / £2,998 (around AU$4,000) for the projector. It’s available from LG and Amazon, though at the time of this writing it was out of stock on both.
Design and features
The LG HU810P offers a premium build quality with a design that should look good in any living room or home theater. It’s more or less just a big white box, but it’s a good-looking big white box, and elements like the gray base and black highlights help give it a more premium look. The white also helps the projector blend in if you mount it from the ceiling.
The projector isn’t small, but it’s not huge either – especially not compared to some of LG’s short-throw projectors, which are pretty large. The HU810P measures in at 13.3 inches wide, 16.1 inches deep, and 5.7 inches tall. Unlike many other projectors, this one is deeper than it is wide – so you’ll need to make sure you have a stand or tablet big enough for it if you don’t plan on mounting it.
On the front of the projector, you’ll get the main lens, along with sliders for zoom and focus. On the right, you’ll get a lens shift adjustment dial, which lets you change the direction the lens points. That helps make the projector more versatile, and able to be mounted, or placed on a table. It helps avoid the classic stack of books, even at relatively close range. On the back of the projector you’ll find a power button and joystick for software control, along with all your inputs.
Speaking of inputs, this projector offers plenty of them. You’ll get three HDMI ports, with one of those being a HDMI 2.1 port that supports ARC and eARC, along with two USB ports (both USB-A), an optical output, and an ethernet port. It’s a good selection of ports, and while it doesn’t quite reach many modern TVs, it’s more than enough for most.
If you’ve used an LG projector from the past few years, you’ll recognize the remote. It’s a relatively large remote, powered by two AA batteries, and it offers pretty much everything you’ll need, including voice controls, software controls, volume controls, and so on. The remote is also one of LG’s Magic Remotes, which lets you point it at your projection screen to control the software. It’s pretty smart, and often makes controlling the software easier – though some will end up just sticking to standard software controls.
Setting up the projector is relatively simple. All you really have to do is set it up in the spot you want it, then plug it in and turn it on. You’ll then need to use the lens shift, zoom, and focus controls to tweak the image, though doing so is relatively easy, and most should be able to easily figure out how to do so. You may find that things still don’t look quite right, in which case you’ll have to dive into the settings of the software and adjust the keystone, which helps make it look rectangular even if it’s physically not.
The LG HU810P may have plenty of HDMI ports, but you may not necessarily need to use them. That’s because the projector has LG’s WebOS 5.0 operating system built right into it, which allows you to access some streaming services without the need for a separate streaming box. WebOS works a little differently to many other smart TV operating systems, in that it’s not necessarily based on a big tile-like home screen. But it works very well, and allows you to quickly jump into different services.
Unfortunately, while WebOS 5.0 works pretty well, it doesn’t support many of the major streaming services. When we first plugged this in back in May, services like Netflix, Apple TV+, and HBO Max were all missing, and while they could be added in the future, it still feels like you might to buy an external device to make sure you have all your bases covered.
That said, there are other ways to get content on your projector if you can’t find the corresponding app: the device supports both AirPlay 2 and Google Cast, so you can stream content from your phone or computer.
The projector supports other smart services too. It can be integrated into Apple HomeKit, which allows you to power the projector on and off, and change the input. It also has both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built right into it. That’s good news for those who want to integrate the projector into their smart home.
Of course, if you’re spending this much on a projector, things like having to use an external streaming device are annoyances, but probably not deal-breakers. The main event is image quality – and that’s where the LG HU810P excels.
Laser projection technology is just now starting to get a little more affordable – let’s be honest, this projector is still $3,000. But that’s around half the price of LG’s own laser projectors from only a few years ago. It’s a good thing the tech is getting cheaper – the LG HU810P offers a beautiful image quality that will turn any living room into a home theater. There are some serious advantages to laser projection tech, including less maintenance and a longer lifespan.
The projector doesn’t offer native 4K images, but you’ll hardly notice a difference. Instead, the projector takes a 1080p image and applies an incredibly fast pixel-shifting technology to render a 4K image. It’s all very technical, but rest assured, the image looks excellent. The projector is able to display an image up to 300 inches, which is absolutely massive, and is rated at 2,700 lumens of brightness, which is very bright. As with any projector, you’ll get the best image in a dark environment, but we found that even in a relatively bright environment, the LG HU810P was able to display a decent image.
The projector excelled at displaying SDR content, and you’ll get a range of different color modes, which you can tweak depending on your preference, including a Bright, Vivid, Standard, Expert (Bright Room), and Expert (Dark Room). We did end up toggling between Standard and the two Expert modes during testing, but settled on mostly sticking with the two Expert modes depending on the testing environment. SDR images were detailed and bright, with colors that pop on the display.
As you would expect, things are taken to the next level during HDR viewing. The projector supports HDR10 and HLG, and in HDR, you’ll get a few more modes, including Cinema, Filmmaker, and Cinema Home. In the end we settled on Cinema Home. HDR content like David Attenborough’s Our Planet looked beautifully vivid. We would have appreciated support for Dolby Vision though.
The image isn’t perfect. Notably, black levels weren’t the deepest, so while colors were nice and bright, the contrast didn’t seem as high as we would have liked. It’s not terrible though, and most will still appreciate the image quality as a whole.
Overall, the LG HU80PW is able to deliver an incredible image quality. Laser projection tech is still a little expensive, and as a result lamp-based projectors in this price range can offer a slightly better image quality – but at the expense of more maintenance, more noise, and a shorter lifespan. Ultimately, most will probably want to make that trade, especially considering the fact that this projector still offers an excellent image quality, and a range of other great features.
If you’re buying a high-end projector, you should set aside a little cash for some decent speakers too – especially if you plan on using your new projector in a home theater setup. But, if you do need to use the projector’s built-in speakers in a pinch, they’ll do the job. They’re mid-heavy and lack both bass extension and high-extension, but they can get relatively loud for a projector’s built-in speakers.
Laser projectors require less cooling than lamp projectors, but they still need fans. Thankfully, the fan noise generated by the LG HU810P is relatively low, and ignorable if you’re listening to anything at a normal volume.