The Hisense L9G is a revelation for the living room, but superior technology never comes cheap. This $5,499 (about £4000, AU$7500) projector packs in some primo features you’d expect out of the best projectors from its ultra-short-throw design, tri-color laser light engine, HDMI 2.1 ports with eARC, HDR support, an Android TV interface, and powerful 40W speakers.
A taste of the projector’s quality is on display right from the get go. It takes minutes to set up after getting it out of the box (though it’s an effort to get the box into the house), and the all-in-one nature of the projector simplifies the whole process. Most people will likely be able to just plunk it down in front of a bare wall and enjoy a monstrous, bright, vivid image.
Hisense isn’t selling this projector as a basic projector, though, but rather a laser TV. And in the pursuit of ensuring the premium picture quality to go with the price tag, Hisense includes an ambient-light-rejecting projector screen that’s meant to be permanently installed on your wall. This 100- or 120-inch (varies depending on the model of projector selected) will negate some of the minimalism of the setup by dominating a wall — it’s not a roll-up screen — but for those who demand the utmost from their image quality, it will reduce the impact of ambient light and cut down on any deformities in the wall shape that could impact the picture. Of course, for those who don’t care so much about the effects of ambient light or a little wall texture or who already own a quality projection screen, tough luck — the screen is included in the box and the price.
This projector is definitely for the dedicated cinephile.
However, as good as its picture performance is, the projector stumbles in a couple of places. For one with its attempts to adjust brightness on a shot-by-shot basis for some content, overcorrecting in a way that makes the lighting quite jarring. Its motion smoothing can also be trouble as it helps reduce panning judder sometimes but introduces some far more glaring motion artifacts for everything else on screen. Fortunately, the Hisense L9G has a ton of available settings to adjust these features and many more, effectively letting users dial in the display however they like. There’s also Filmmaker Mode to leave the settings in the professional’s hands.
There’s no denying the breathtaking quality of the Hisense L9G, but it’s a projector that takes a commitment to make sense for would-be buyers. It’s definitely less of a commitment than a 100-inch TV, though, as even the affordable models are multiple times the price of the L9G.
Price and availability
The Hisense L9G is available for $5,499 (about £4000, AU$7500) in a 100-inch setup and $5,999 (about £4400, AU$8000) in a 120-inch setup.
Compared to its competitors, the expense of the projector and screen combo is far higher. For example, the Xgimi Aura is also quite stunning at less than half the price, but not as bright or capable in daylight. Meanwhile longer-throw projectors like the premium Optoma UHZ50 (at half the price) or the Epson LS12000 (at $4000) can deliver premium pictures, a bit more flexibility in setups with some added complication, and more refresh rate options for gamers.
Design and features
- Compact, complete kit
- Projection screen included
- Mighty audio capabilities
- Another Netflix no-go zone
At roughly 24 x 6.1 x 13.6” and weighing just 24.7 pounds, the Hisense L9G has packed a stunning amount of technology into a compact little package hardly bigger than a couple of shoeboxes. It’s a hair wider and taller but not as deep as the Xgimi Aura we recently tested, yet it’s every bit as lovely to look at and then some.
The unit looks a bit like a beefy, narrow soundbar, and you wouldn’t be foolish to think of it like one. It’s packing in its own set of Dolby Atmos-capable speakers with a combined 40W output that’s more than ample enough for a group movie night in a 200 or even 300-sq.-ft room. Despite the size of the unit, it seems to have next to no trouble keeping itself running cool with minimal fan noise.
The projector has a dark, somewhat-futuristic design that remains fairly subtle. It could fit well enough into a discreet setup, though it would be harder to hide the 100-inch, ALR (ambient light rejecting) projection screen that Hisense includes with the intention of it being a permanently installed feature.
Inside its meager frame, the Hisense L9G is packing a three-laser light source. This uses independent red, green, and blue lasers to create a bright and colorful picture, as much as 107% of the wide Rec.2020 color space, as light doesn’t need to be filtered out (thus reducing brightness) to create different colors. The laser light source also promises a longer lifespan than traditional projector bulbs, as long as 25,000 hours in this case.
Given the projector’s 3,000 lumen output and concentrated beam close to the projector lens, Hisense has built in a pair of proximity sensors that dim the display very quickly when anything gets close and will turn the lights off entirely if it continues to detect anything. It’s fairly sensitive, responding quickly to our presence in most cases, but it seems to be motion based, allowing the lights to come back on if we’re still, so it won’t protect your eyes if you’re calmly peering down into the lens. Curiously, it almost looks like the top of the projector has a slide cover to go over the lens when it’s not in use, but it’s just a non-moving part, and this leaves the lens-cover glass exposed to gather dust.
The system features Android TV and a Wi-Fi 5 or Gigabit Ethernet connection. Unfortunately, like a lot of implementations of Android TV by somewhat less popular brands, Netflix isn’t supported. The operating system’s performance occasionally hitches, too, but it’s largely usable.
Hisense has also included three HDMI ports, two of which support HDMI 2.1 and one offering eARC, offering ample options for high-quality video and audio signals. Bluetooth allows for connections to and from the system, allowing for external speakers or using the projector as a speaker. Optical audio and WiSA connections are also available.
One feature the projector lacks is flexibility. The lens has a fixed focal length. Too close to the wall or too far, and it starts to get blurry. While there’s some wiggle room, it’ll lose focus if moved too far or too close to the wall. This isn’t your ‘40-inches one day and 300-inches the next’ type of projector. It’s more portable than a 100-inch TV, but it’s meant to serve as a 100-inch TV. This makes the ideal distance from the wall for the 100-inch model about 11 inches, though we find it plenty sharp as close as about 8 inches from the wall.
Four adjustable legs on the bottom of the projector and an eight-point digital geometric correction can help properly square up the image, however, and that geometric correction can be done manually or automatically with a phone camera (in browser, even, so no app download necessary).
- Big (100-inch 4K picture)
- Bright (3,000 lumens),
- And vivid (107% Rec.2020)
- Great out of the box with ample tuning options
- Greatness in gaming and theatrics alike
There’s not much to gripe about with the Hisense L9G. This projector is using exceptionally capable technology and putting it to work. Even without the ALR projection screen, the Hisense L9G can create such a bright picture that we’re comfortable watching just about anything in our living room in the middle of the day. If it’s sunny, we might stick to cartoons, but with shades drawn or overcast weather, the L9G doesn’t struggle one bit to present a satisfying image.
For movie nights or game nights, the picture is a delight. The project manages exceptionally vivid colors alongside a rich contrast that makes scenes all the more dramatic. It’s all the more impressive how much shadow detail remains in the image. Even watching in daytime, the detail in dark clothing and characters' hair is largely visible.
All of this is coming through at a crisp 4K. Dune and Nightmare Alley blown up to the proportions the L9G is capable of makes for a movie theater-like experience with the benefit of pausing. Cartoons are lively with their colors. And the Japanese countryside in Ghost of Tsushima is stunning. The input lag is low enough even to tackle bosses without much trouble.
As good as the picture is, not everything is effortless perfection. The projector falls into some of the same pitfalls as TVs. Its attempts to smooth out motion can lead to a lot of buggy movements from characters and elements on screen, and brightness can shift dramatically as the projector tries to enhance the picture from shot to shot. The motion smoothing seems to help with judder for panning images at least.
These issues are generally just a little distracting out of the box, and you aren't stuck with them. Hisense offers a boatload of settings options, allowing for many different motion smoothing levels, lighting control, color adjustments, and the ever handy Filmmaker Mode. Settings can be saved for different input sources as well, letting users create a special profile perhaps for a 4K Blu-ray player and a separate profile for a game console or two.
Should you buy the Hisense L9G Laser 4K TV?
Buy it if...
You want a supreme home theater in a box
The Hisense L9G includes everything you need to get an incredibly enjoyable video setup with the projector, its speakers, its smart TV platform, and the projection screen all in the box.
You want a big, big picture
There’s no going small with the Hisense L9G. It’s built to deliver either a 100- or 120-inch image. While you can go a little smaller, it’ll get blurry before you get smaller than most TVs.
You want a finely tunable picture
While the size can’t change, the Hisense L9G has a wide color gamut and tons of options for tailoring the visual presentation to your liking.
Don't buy it if...
You want a projector for many different setups
The fixed focal length is a major limitation for the L9G. While it’s light enough to move from room to room, you’re always going to need to position it similarly and find ample space for its image.
You’re an elite gamer
The Hisense L9G is dazzling for games where visuals are a priority, but this is a 60Hz display that won’t satisfy competitive gamers looking for the fastest speeds. Some other projectors boast 120Hz and even 240Hz refresh rates, and they even cost less.
You don’t want the projector screen
The Hisense L9G absolutely doesn’t need the screen to get a brilliant experience, but it’s included in the box and the price. A big ALR screen doesn’t come cheap, so you might find better value elsewhere.