I was determined to review the ViewSonic PRO8400 because it’s perhaps one of the most misunderstood projectors of all time. The ViewSonic designers had clearly created an amazing business projector, but when the product had been sent to marketing things kind of went wrong in the worst possible way. Their marketing personnel clearly thought the ViewSonic PRO8400 was a Home Entertainment Projector for movies, music and games. How is this possible for a marketing team to get a product so wrong? I’ve no idea, but with a contrast ratio of 3000-1 and a range of business orientated features i’ll discuss in the performance section, it’s hard to believe that anyone thought this could be movie projector. Unfortunately they did and a huge marketing campaign was started as ViewSonic tried to persuade buyers that this was an entertainment masterpiece capable of producing cinematic displays. Rather than review it solely as an Entertainment Projector i’m going to also take you through its business credentials because it really is a wonderful Presentation Projector that deserves the high praise it would have received had the marketing executives not done a hatchet job on the 8400.
- 4000 Lumens
- HD 1080p Resolution
- Excellent screen-size range
- Very Portable
- Easy Set-Up
- 1.5x Optical Zoom
- Large amount of picture modes
- Some Rainbow Artifacts
- No vertical Shift
Size and Design:
The design is noticeable because of the rather large lens protruding out of the unit and capturing the attention immediately. There’s a grilled finish, curved edges, and lots of buttons enabling buyers to complete almost any task without the remote control. There’s a lot going on, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and the ViewSonic PRO8400 is very small with measurements of 14.8 inches by 16.3 inches by 7.5 inches so it is portable. It’s actually one of the smallest projectors in its price range and this should make it appeal to a lot of people and the weight is only 8.5 pounds making it also one of the lightest projectors in its price range too. Overall I’d say top marks on the design; they could have been more minimalist but it’s portable and easy to transport.
The set-up took me 15 minutes but I can imagine it taking a non-expert more time than that because in the absence of vertical image correction you’ll need to use Keystone. The problem with Keystone is you’re altering pixels so you’re altering the picture itself rather than simply adjusting, so tread carefully or you’ll import distortions. I’ll give it 8 out of 10 for set-up because while they could have given buyers vertical image adjustments, it can still be done quickly and without any problems.
The marketing team weren’t entirely wrong in their Home Entertainment claims, for example the native resolution is 1080p so it’s Full HD making movies images very clear and crisp. But, Home Entertainment Projectors should still enable buyers to watch movies when the lights are turned down and this clearly isn’t possible on the 8400. With the minimal 3000-1 Contrast Ratio, as soon as any light disappears from the room the blacks and whites seem heavily distorted on the larger screen. On the other hand, with the 4000 Lumens, in ambient light and even in the bright light of a summer afternoon you can watch movies and the images are clear, expect for dark scenes that again require a higher Contrast Ratio. So, its a mixed bag of results when it comes to movies and games: Ok in ambient and bright light and not so great as the room gets darker.
The ViewSonic PRO8400 really comes into its own when it comes to business functions. With the USB port you can view slide shows without the need for a PC or Laptop and you even get two Sub-D PC Ports for connecting more than one computer at the same time. With the LAN Port you can start a presentation without even being in the room and perform other operations remotely too. The LAN even allows buyer to receive alerts by email as to the status of the Lamp. When you have these features combined with 1080p Full HD, you get an astounding Presentation Projector. If you have a presentation you’ve prepared using an App on your Phone, you can hook your Phone up to the ViewSonic PRO8400 and immediately start without any delays. It’ll connect to Tablets as well, making the 8400 a terrific all-round business Projector.
The picture is perfect for presentations and even the smallest text can be seen in great clarity. With 4000 Lumens you’ll be the only guy in the office with the technological capability’s to show Bar Charts and Pie Charts in broad daylight. It’s even got the portability business people need, because afterall nobody wants to travel to work with a heavy device, and this only weighs 8.5 pounds. It’s small, lightweight, easy to use, and hugely effective when it comes to projecting data and images from mobile devices. Added to this there are a number of manual picture calibrations you can make to tailor you’re presentations exactly the way you want them
When the screen size comes into play the 8400 becomes even more impressive as a business projector. You can view at 118 inches from 12 feet in the office on a sunny afternoon. But if you were watching a movie in the same light you’d see a drop-off in picture quality because the Contrast Ratio can’t handle the dark scenes that appear in movies. If you had this in a Lecture Hall or an Auditorium, you’d be able to roll the screen out to even greater sizes, but only for presentations, because the drop-off would be worse for darker movie scenes, the larger the screen.
Movies require Contrast Ratio to deal with scenes that require blacks and whites, so this really isn’t a good Projector for movies. And if you wanted to turn out the light for movies, you’d get practically nothing at all in terms of picture, again because of the contrast ratio. For Presentations I can’t think of a better Projector because with 1080p Full HD, LAN, 2 D-Sub connections and 4000 Lumens you can come into the office mid-afternoon and show charts and slides in perfect clarity. Whether you have a Laptop, Phone, Tablet, or PC; you can connect them all up to the 8400, and you can even start and pause presentations without being in the same room thanks to the mobile capabilities. It’s awesome, but ViewSonics marketing people got it totally wrong.