Awol LTV-3500 Pro review

High-quality triple laser projector that packs in the features and remains soundly future-proof.

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro
(Image: © Alastair Jennings)

TechRadar Verdict

When you combine 4K UHD resolution, 3500 Lumens, HDR 10+, Dolby Vision you get one of the most powerful and impressive projectors on the market. The refresh rate however is limited to 60 Hz but still the gaming lag time is un-noticeable and even in daylight that power of brightness wins through, albeit at a hefty price.

Pros

  • +

    Impressive Brightness

  • +

    Excellent Color Accuracy

  • +

    Advanced Audio Features

Cons

  • -

    Manual Setup Required

  • -

    Heavy and Bulky

  • -

    No Built-in Smart TV

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AWOL Vision 3500 Pro: 30-second review

There are plenty of projectors packed out with features offering the latest Android or Google Home integrations, along with audio labels and the latest projection technology. 

The best 4K projectors we've tested break ground with what's possible and offer absolute convenience. However, the AWOL Vision 3500 Pro, in many ways, is a little more traditional, requiring time to set up and no smart TV integration, instead being bundled with an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. However, what it does offer is an incredibly high-quality projection that comes partnered with a 36W integrated sound system. This combination, along with a host of adjustment features, makes what initially seems like a very straightforward short-throw projector into something that offers an incredible amount of potential.

While the system comes with its advanced operating system that enables you to browse settings, select source files and inputs, switch between 3D modes, and adjust visual and audio qualities, the main power of this machine is to connect to third-party devices such as the Amazon Fire Stick or Google Chromecast with three HDMI ports along with HDMI and LAN. What's more, to get you started, Awol has included an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K in the package, and there's even a specially created space integrated into the design of the projector for the TV Stick with a direct HDMI port and USB power.

In use, the projector does require some setting up; with no auto keystone or focus, quite a bit of manual input is needed at the outset. This setup process really highlights that this projector is designed to be a permanent fixture within a business or home cinema environment and not one to be ported around the office or home.

Once positioned and set up, the projector's visual quality is outstanding. Films playback with cinematic excellence, and presentations and viewings within larger studio environments prove that the projector has the visual and audio power to deliver even in daylight conditions.

While the projector might not have some of the latest advancements in auto adjustments, Awol has ensured that it has the core features that enable it to work as a base for other devices, be that a TV stick, computer, gaming system, or streaming system. This is one of the few projectors that packs in a full suite of settings and adjustments that will enable it to adapt to most settings as long as you don't need to move it once the setup process has been carried out.

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro: Price & availability

The AWOL Vision 3500 Pro is a projector designed to sit in a dedicated home or office theatre, and at close to $6000 / £4500, it's a serious investment for the future. Thankfully, Awol has created a high-quality system that enables plenty of scope for future upgrades with its own base OS that enables easy selection for the integration of external media sources, such as the Amazon Fire Stick that's included with the package. 

The unit is available from a wide selection of stockists, including Amazon. However, at the time of review, it's listed for a higher price than on that platform compared with other reputable retailers such as Adorama. So, it might be worth shopping around. 

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Screen sizes supported:80 to 150 inches
Brightness (specified):3500 lumens
HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Optical technology:RGB Triple Laser
Smart TV:Yes, Firestick 4K, and Control4 compatibility
Connections:HDMI, USB, Ethernet, Audio Out
Dimensions:600 x 345 x 145 mm
Weight:12 kg

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro: Design & features

  • Great looking machine
  • low latency for gaming
  • FireStick 4k included 

Like most short-throw projectors, the Awol design and weight are relatively large at 60 by 34.5 by 14.5 cm, and it weighs in at 12kg. The design of the projector is for in situ use rather than portability, so once set up, it's best to leave it in that position. It's also worth noting that while this is a short-throw projector, the projection range is between 80 and 150 inches, and for the best projection quality, a properly prepared surface or screen is required.

The projector's main body features a sleek finish, and its overall design, with its modern contours, makes it one of the best-looking yet discreet projectors out there. The surface of the projector is kept very minimal, with just the touch-sensitive power button on the front right of the device. Aside from the cut-out for the projection beam and safety sensors, there are a few other functional design aspects aside from the stylish design. However, it's worth noting this is a fairly heavy-duty unit, which isn't really designed for constant transport all-day long in the way that the best portable projectors are.

On the sides are the large vents that help keep the projector cool. With the 3500 lumens of brightness, there's quite a bit of cooling to be done, and with all the volume off, you can hear the dull sound of the internal fans doing their job. However, once the presentations or videos start, the noise from these fans isn't a distraction.

All the connections happen around the back, and here is where real consideration for the design comes into play. Firstly, the base OS enables direct Wi-Fi connection for system updates, and if you want, there's also a LAN port for networking. The main content projection comes through HDMI or USB, with three HDMI ports on the back and one standard USB. There is also a micro USB port, which is used for servicing.

A nice touch with the HDMI ports is that there are two readily available and exposed on the back of the machine, and these can be easily accessed. The third, or actually HDMI 1, is hidden behind a hinged door, which reveals a cavity space with an HDMI port and USB power socket with a cable ready to go but replaceable if another type is needed. This cavity is large enough for most Smart TV sticks and an ideal size for the Amazon Fire Stick 4K that comes with the projector. Once the HDMI 1 port is in use, when you switch on the projector, this port will automatically be selected, making it extremely easy to use. What's nice about this is that the power cable for the HDMI is all held neatly behind this door, so once closed, it's all nicely contained, and there are no additional cables trailing from the device.

This neatness means that in most conditions, you can get away with just a single power cable running to the machine, with all content streamed through the connected HDMI. This also means there is the usual array of positioning options, as the projector is designed to be fixed in place. It can be positioned in front of the screen, above the screen, behind the screen, or above and behind the screen, giving plenty of options throughout the setup.

When it comes to features, the Awol LTV-3500 Pro, like many projectors in the higher price bracket, does not offer many smart integrations, such as Google Home or Android TV, and instead focuses on the quality of the projection, connection, and audio.

Looking at the basic overview of the machine, it offers 4K Ultra HD resolution with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. The headline feature of RGB Triple Laser Technology delivers this. This technology essentially utilizes RGB triple laser optical technology to enable vibrant colours and superior brightness. It also means that when it comes to 3D projection, the clarity and quality of the footage are a huge step up compared with many competitor devices.

While plenty of projectors now reach 3000 lumens of brightness, the LTV-3500 takes things up another notch with a maximum brightness of 3500 lumens. This enhanced brightness means that it has even more impact in brighter conditions, such as an office or workspace. Still, it also means that a relatively large group can clearly see the maximum projection at a size of 150 inches.

As is now common, the projector supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+, which helps boost the contrast and create a more dynamic range of colours. This is really highlighted when watching back footage captured on some of the latest cameras, such as the Blackmagic 6K full-frame and Canon EOS R5 C.

While there's no integrated smart TV, Awol does include the Fire Stick 4K in the box, and this plugs into the back of the machine, as highlighted in the design section. Then, if you want future connections, there are two more HDMI ports which can be linked to a computer's display system in offices or media devices within a home cinema. The third HDMI can be used with game consoles, and as ever, there's a low input lag option of 8ms, which makes this projector ideal for gaming.

A feature that really stands out for the quality is the 3D capability, with several different 3D modes depending on the content you're watching back. The 3D modes do require active 3D glasses and 3D content to view, which can be tricky to locate. A smart 3D Blu-ray player is still one of the easiest ways to get hold of this type of content.

The visuals and the options around the visuals, including more fine-tuning to the colour, tone, and sharpness than most of the competition, come with impressive audio. Inside is a 36W audio system equipped with Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual: X. This provides an outstanding, rich, cinema-like audio experience.

The one feature that really highlights the increase in quality over many other systems is the integration of adjustment throughout the system. This adjustment runs through the Awol operating system and enables levels of fine-tuning that are rarely seen on projection systems. This makes it an ideal choice where colour and clarity are paramount, such as in exhibition spaces, studios, and galleries. Alongside the usual keystone correction and focus, there's also a full-color management system.

  • Design & features: 4.5/5

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro: picture quality

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro

The test pattern is fast to access and enables you a quick way to check on the colours and tone of the projection. (Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
  • Excellent contrast and brightness
  • Wide BT.2020 colour space 
  • Plenty of scope for colour adjustment

The machine's initial setup is time-consuming. While it's perfectly possible to do it yourself, this is definitely a machine where getting the experience of a professional fitter will get you the results you have paid for. As such, there is no auto keystoning, although the manual adjustment is very advanced. Likewise, the focus needs to be fine-tuned manually, as does the projector positioning.

Like traditional projectors, small feet need to be adjusted to raise or lower the height, and the machine needs to be physically positioned to get the initial projection square prior to any fine-tuning with the manual keystone. Once everything is set and ready, however, you can be assured of some of the best visual quality on the market, which will again be slightly dependent on the quality of the media you're feeding the projector.

Using the Fire Stick 4K and the quality of the movies and TV programs displayed at 4K showed incredible detail and superb tonal graduation backed with impressive audio quality that gives a truly cinematic feel to the visuals. This is further enhanced by the MEMC movie mode, which drops the frame rate to a cinematic 24fps to great effect. Switching from a TV Stick to a computer for direct screening of short films and productions, the quality of the cameras used can be directly seen through the quality of the projector, and again, the Movie mode brings more to the visual impact than watching using the standard projector settings.

In the studio, the projector's Rec 2020 colour profile and a contrast ratio of 2500:1 enhance the quality of projected images to great effect, adding impact.

Picture quality

If we focus on picture quality, one of the first aspects that needs to be noted is the even throw of light, with the projection illuminating the screen evenly from top to bottom and from edge to edge. While this is impressive at the full 150 inches, it's harder to achieve when the projector is at a closer range to enable the 80-inch projection.

Brightness is an obvious feature of this projector with 3500 lumens, which means that even in a lit meeting room, the screen can still be easily seen for presentations. As ever, switching off the lights instantly boosts the tone and colours. There is a notable difference in the brightness of this projector when compared with other solutions, and the tones and colours really stand out for their exceptionally high quality.

When viewing back images, the resolution is impressive, and while you can often see some pixelation with the standard projectors used in the office, which are FHD, the step up in brightness and resolution makes a big difference. The resolution is one aspect, but the real boost to the image quality is the dynamic range and tonal graduation of the image.

The dynamic range means that you can see more detail in the shadows and highlights, but not to a point where the image looks overcooked; it simply looks natural. The most notable improvement over cheaper projectors is the quality of the highlights, which are far less likely to blow out. The other big image factor is the tonal graduation, which is smooth, especially when you start to look at lighter areas of the screen that can often again suffer from complete whiteout with cheaper projectors.

Finally, one of the key selling points of this projector is its compatibility with 3D viewing. While many other projectors offer support for this type of content and 3D glasses, the three-laser technology enables a far crisper representation. What's more, the settings offer a good range of adjustments for the 3D content, which can be viewed through a streaming service of your choice or player. One thing to note with the 3D and Active Shutter Glasses is that you need to have everything set up absolutely perfectly; otherwise, you will see the overlap and the split of the RGB colour channels.

The effect of 3D with the projector is superb, although it is best viewed in a room with the lights lowered or preferably out. Here, the tri-laser technology enables a 3D quality that is definitely better than that of more standard projector technologies when it comes to clarity.

  • Picture quality: 4/5

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro: Value

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro

Rear-panel inputs include one HDMI 2.1 and two HDMI 2.0 inputs, one with eARC (Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
  • Outstanding quality
  • Future-proofed with wide HDMI compatibility
  • Excellent audio quality

The AWOL Vision 3500 Pro sits in the mid-range of serious home cinema and business projectors, with a set of features that will help ensure that it remains future-proofed for a good few years. For home users, this is really only for those setting up a dedicated home cinema, as the time it takes to position for the best viewing performance does take a while. However, Awol does sell a range of accessories, including a cabinet and screen, that will house the projector and screen, keeping everything nice and neat in a home or studio environment.

The quality of this projector really stands out in the workplace, office, studio, or gallery. The projection is superb, with clear, crisp clarity, colour, and tone that are hard to match. Thankfully, that quality is matched by the superb audio quality.

This is a long-term investment projector. It's one of the brightest 4K projectors on the market, making it a great solution for a variety of end uses. While the design is more stylish than standard office-based projectors, the quality of the build and depth of adjustment will certainly appeal to those in the creative sector.

  • Value: 4/5

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
AWOL Vision 3500 Pro
AttributesNotesRating
ValueA high-end investment offering cutting-edge features4.5
DesignSleek, modern design ideal for permanent setups 4.5
FeaturesPacked with advanced features for versatile use4.5
PerformanceExceptional image and audio quality4.5
TotalA top-tier projector for serious enthusiasts4.5

Should I buy the AWOL Vision 3500 Pro?

AWOL Vision 3500 Pro

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Buy it if...

You want a permanent home theatre setup
This projector is perfect for those who have a dedicated home cinema room and want exceptional picture and audio quality.

You require high brightness for varied environments
With 3500 lumens, the Awol LTV-3500 Pro performs excellently in both bright and dark environments, making it ideal for presentations and movie nights.

Don’t buy it if… 

You need a portable projector
If you're looking for something easy to move around, this projector's size and weight make it less suitable for portability.

You prefer built-in smart TV features
Those who want integrated smart TV functionalities might find this projector needs additional devices like the included Fire Stick.

Also consider...

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Comparison: 4K UST projectors
BenQ v5000iHisense PX2-ProEpson LS800Hisense L9G
Price:$3,499$2,999$3,499$5,499
Screen sizes supported:80-100 inches90 to 130 inchesUp to 150 inches100 inches
Brightness (specified):2,500 lumens2,400 lumens4,000 lumens3,000 lumens
HDR support HDR10+, HDR10, HLGDolby Vision, HDR10, HLGHDR10, HLGHDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Optical technology:3 laser DLP3 laser DLPLaser 3LCD3 laser DLP
Smart TV:Android TVGoogle TV / VIDAAAndroid TVAndroid TV
Connections:HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0 (1 with eARC), 3.5mm audio out, optical audio out2x HDMI 2.0 (1 with ARC), HDMI 2.03x HDMI 2.0 (1 with ARC)2x HDMI 2.1, 1x HDMI 2.0 (with eARC), 1x RF, optical
Image

BenQ v5000i
The BenQ v5000i short-throw projector offers rich colors, a fair Game mode with low input lag, and broad HDR support. But we found brightness was average and it requires serious set-up for best results. 

Read our full BenQ v5000i review

Image

Hisense PX2-Pro
The Hisense PX2-Pro has around the same brightness as the BenQ, but costs at least $500 less. It's not as great an option for gaming, but it does come with the Google TV smart interface for streaming and voice control.

Read our full Hisense PX2-Pro review

Image

Epson LS800
The Epson LS800 uses a 3LCD laser light source to beam a stunningly bright 4,000 lumens image. This makes it a great option for daytime sports viewing and it also has good built-in sound. 

Read our full Epson LS800 review

Image

Hisense L9G
If you know you’re planning to get a dedicated ALR screen, the Hisense L9G, which comes with one, may make more sense. It’s a little brighter at 3,000 lumens, it’s color is off the charts, and it supports Dolby Vision. Also, its 40W sound system is a beast in its own right. 

Read our full Hisense L9G review.


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