Hisense 100L9GTUK Ultra-Short-Throw Projector Review

hcc_recommendedHisense's latest attempt to turn a projector into a TV is its most compelling yet, reckons John Archer

If you're reading this magazine, you probably love a bigscreen viewing experience. You might even dream of either being able to afford a monster-sized 100in TV, or having somewhere to install a projector without messing up your day-to-day living space. And thanks to Hisense's latest Laser TV, the 100L9GTUK, you might have to dream no more. The appeal of this product is wickedly simple. It combines an ultra-short-throw laser projector, built-in 40W audio system and high reflectivity, 100in ambient light rejecting (ALR) screen to give you a TV-like experience at home cinema dimensions. It does this for £4,499, just a fraction of what a 100in TV would cost.

The 100L9GTUK is not Hisense's first Laser TV rodeo. It is, however, the first time in the UK that a DLP-based Hisense Laser TV has used a triple-laser engine, where separate lasers in the projector feed the red, green and blue image elements. This avoids the need for the colour wheel that single-light-source DLP projectors have to use, potentially enabling more light to reach the screen and colours to appear purer. Hisense claims a coverage of 107 per cent of the HDR REC.2020 standard for this new PJ.

Using lasers also means you won't need to swap lamps over the projector's claimed 25,000-hour minimum life-span. And, unlike lamps, the performance of the lasers shouldn't deteriorate heavily over that time either.


Hisense's 100in screen is a 16:9-ratio ALR design

Adding to the 100L9GTUK's 'I'm a TV really' ambitions are a built-in smart system courtesy of Hisense's decent (but lacking in Disney+ and Apple TV+ apps) VIDAA 5.0 system; three HDMI inputs (one with eARC support); a built-in Freeview HD tuner; and Dolby Atmos sound playback (albeit without physical upfiring drivers).

Pleasure, Not Business
While the 100L9GTUK's screen is, as you'd expect, just a slim, rigid grey rectangle, the projector itself is easy on the eye, and yet more proof that the category has moved beyond devices that look a little too 'business-minded' to take up residence in your living room. The glossy black finish and rounded corners are neat, and the speakers on the rear (which actually faces into your room) present a handsome enough face to the world.

Like any premium TV these days, the 100L9GTUK supports HDR in the HDR10 and HLG formats. It does not support Dolby Vision or HDR10+, or the latest 4K/120Hz and variable refresh rate gaming features. Most other projectors don't work with these latter features either, to be fair – but then the 100L9GTUK wants to be a TV, and most premium TVs do. Also, image lag in Game mode is higher here than what we see with most flatscreens, measuring around 64ms.


Keys for Freeview Play, Netflix, etc on the remote continue the 'TV' theme

Normally at this point I'd moan about how tricky ultra- short-throw projectors can be to set up, particularly when you need to align their image to a fixed screen rather than just a general bit of wall. Yet Hisense is currently offering a free installation service for anyone who buys one of its Laser TV models.

Making the journey The 100L9GTUK's pictures make their mark by blazing off the ALR screen with exceptional intensity and brightness. In dark viewing environments you might feel almost dazzled by its images, especially if you're using Hisense's Dynamic HDR preset (which, for reasons I'll get into later, I think most users will want to stick with). Every drop of the 3,000 Lumens of claimed light output feels like it's survived the journey through the projector's optics.

When combined with the bundled screen's impressive ambient light rejecting capabilities, you have a system able to punch through lots of ambient light without the picture becoming washed out. The projector's colour response keeps up with the punch of its laser light handsomely for the most part. The intense coloured spotlights and vibrant dresses in the first meeting between Tony and Maria in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story (4K Blu-ray) look remarkably radiant and voluminous. It feels like you're watching a TV, not a projector. Just like Hisense wants.