AWOL LTV-3500 Short Throw Projector Review: Bright But Expensive
However, this is the first projector I’ve used where I felt I didn’t need blackout curtains (or significant modifications to my home). During the day, I could put on music videos or shows and still see what was happening perfectly well. As evening sets in, the lighting naturally becomes perfect for a movie night, with an overwhelming screen that almost (almost) makes going to a theater obsolete.
I do wish the projector offered more control over color profiles and calibration. I often watch content via my PS5, and while the HDR Vivid preset worked best with other devices, I had to switch the projector to HDR Game to compensate for the PS5’s own HDR color calibrations, otherwise bright scenes were overwhelmingly blown out.
While there are a few tools to create custom HDR color profiles, adjust white balance, or set color correction, they all involve relative fiddling, instead of adjusting to a reference template (which, to be fair, is pretty common for most TVs and projectors).
However, I was more impressed with the tools for aligning the frame of the projector. A correction chart helps you physically align the projector itself until a projected rectangle is in line with the screen you’re projecting onto. If you need more adjustments after that, a manual correction tool lets you further adjust the alignment in the software.
And finally, there’s a focus tool to adjust the motorized lens, in case the projector is out of focus. Mine came focused just fine when I set it up for a 120-inch screen, but I did need to refocus when lowering the screen and moving the projector closer to the wall to make a more reasonable 90-inch projection.
The ALR screen that AWOL also sent for review is a huge benefit—but it comes at a substantial cost. Without bundles or sales, the 100-inch screen costs $1,100, while the 120-inch version–the one I tested—is a whopping $1,800. The prices for the screens alone rival the cost of many TVs. But once they’re set up, it’s hard to deny the difference they make.
Setting up the screen is an ordeal all on its own. The massive 120-inch version is so huge I had to move furniture just to lay it flat while attaching the frame. The whole process took a couple of hours, and it’s definitely best to have at least two people to help lift it onto the wall. It also required careful measurements, not only to make sure the screen fit on my wall and was mounted properly, but also to make sure it was mounted high enough, and that the projector was far enough away from the wall to get the full 120-inch screen.
Once mounted, the picture quality from the projector improved substantially. The ALR screen is designed to reflect light from below, where the projector sits, while rejecting light from above (such as overhead lights). In practice, it gives the image a much better contrast ratio and provides a brighter picture.