The Hisense PL1 is a versatile short-throw projector that targets entertainment lovers who want a bigger picture and are willing to sacrifice a bit of quality to get there. There’s no way a short throw projector for under R50,000 will produce the same quality a TV panel can deliver and you kind of know what you’re getting yourself into when you pick up one of these units.
Watch the Hisense PL1 Ultra Short Throw Projector review below
The nice thing about this PL1 model is that you can decide what size display you want to use. It can go anywhere from 80 inches up to 120 inches if you have the right panel. Hisense recommends using the 120-inch mode but if you’re tight with screen space, the shorter focal length will do just fine too.
The PL1 also comes with all the promises Hisense offers with other “laser TV” units. They are expected to last for over 25000 hours of use and this specific model can produce an output of up to 2100 lumens. Hisense does recommend using one of its own ambient light-rejecting screens to help increase the image quality and reduce the glare but I am sure you can get away with using standard projector screens here too. The image quality won’t be as great so keep that in mind.
The Hisense PL1 comes packed with all the features you would expect from a modern-day laser TV. If you’re a stranger to this world of short-throw laser TVs, it is basically a projector that sits underneath a screen and the image is shot up from the bottom to the wall in front of it. Hisense has kind of nailed down the market on these products by delivering some high-end, easy-to-use laser TV models and this one is no different.
Hisense PL1 Installation and Design
The Hisense PL1 is unlike the other laser TV models I have reviewed over the past few months. Instead of being set in one size, this model can increase and decrease its screen space between 80 and 120″. I still had the 80″ Ambient Light Rejection screen at the office so instead of installing another panel, I simply used that for these tests.
The PL1 itself looks pretty much the same as the 90L5H unit and comes in the form of a large back box with rounded edges and a fabric front where the speakers are hidden. It is quite small coming in at only 53cm long with a 33.5cm depth. It is 12cm in height. It weighs 8.5 kg.
The protector light and laser are situated in the centre of the unit with an indented plastic mould to keep it lower than the rest of the body. At the back, there are there are 2.0 ports. Hisense calls one port High Speed but it isn’t HDMI 2.1. It is just an eARC port. You’ll also find TV tuners, a Gigabit LAN port, a USB 3.0 port, optical audio and the kettle plug port. There’s also one USB 2.0 port on the side of the unit.
Setting up the Hisense PL1 was very easy. After booting it up, I was then able to calibrate the screen in one of two ways. The first was to take a photo of the screen and upload it to the laser TV unit to calibrate the image size automatically. However, in the past, this hasn’t always worked as well as the manual setup so I just chose to go with that instead.
Here, I chose the screen size and moved the laser TV unit around until I was happy with the centring of the picture. I could then move the image itself slightly by clicking on the box points and dragging them around the wall. This would, in turn, move the picture about.
Of course, if you’re just placing this on a wall in your house without a screen this is a bit easier. 42cm away from the wall would allow for a 120-inch display. The closer the unit, the smaller the landscape but it is all tweaked and refined the same way.
I wouldn’t say the installation was remotely difficult at all. Of course, if you’re mounting a display or projector screen you’ll need to get that done first but the laser TV unit itself was simple and straightforward.
The unit’s feet can also be tweaked to lower and heighten the arc of the laser. This helps with setting up and fine-tuning the unit for the wall or screen.
Hisense PL1 Performance
If you’re familiar with Hisense’s other laser TVs, this PL1 isn’t much different. Of course, it all goes down to the tech inside and how well it can perform but the general user experience is much the same here. It runs VIDAA U6 and the OS includes all the settings you’ll need to calibrate the TV experience to your liking.
The Hisense PL1 makes use of the X-fusion process which sees the unit produce vivid colours and bright images thanks to the narrow X-fusion ray. The unit has a wide colour gamut of 90.3% which is quite impressive for a laser TV.
With that being said, I did have to toggle some of the settings to make the image look a bit less “blue”. Colour was the only thing that needed calibration. Gamma and other values were great out of the box.
Unlike other projectors, the PL1’s focus can’t be sharpened or tweaked from a hardware point of view. You can tweak it in the settings alongside colour, brightness and other image calibration toggles. This helps if you’re using a larger screen and the text looks a bit blurry.
After all my tweaking, I was surprised to see the Hisense PL1 still remained quite bright and with a decent contrast ratio of 3241:1. This is likely the best contrast ratio I have seen in any Hisense laser TV to date.
For those who don’t care about the numbers, this basically means this laser TV delivers some excellent image quality while still maintaining deep blacks. Of course, HDR 10 and Dolby Vision content elevates this even more. The colour gamut isn’t the best and the image doesn’t get very bright but what you do see, looks refined and clear.
You will have to compensate for the lack of brightness and consider where you install the Hisense PL1 in your home. But if you’re getting a laser TV, chances are it’s not going to be your typical TV replacement.
Gaming on the Hisense PL1 is also decent. The Game Mode helps reduce input lag which I measured at 38ms. This is higher than a TV but a given considering the projector technology at work here. Games looked just as good as general TV viewing and I didn’t have any issues. There’s also something great about playing games on a display this size.
The Hisense PL1 also uses up to 230W of power when the laser unit is set to the maximum brightness. Just in case you wanted to know how it would perform during loadshedding. It is also an all-in-one unit with built-in speakers but the speakers aren’t the best. They lack a punch and are good for general TV viewing. While Hisense claims they support Dolby Atmos, there’s no way these little 15W speakers are able to produce anything beyond stereo.
Lastly, I need to discuss the fan noise because this unit definitely makes a noise when you’re using it. As most projectors do. Sitting two meters away from the PL1, I measured 36 dBA of sound. This means the fan was definitely noticeable but over TV sound, you won’t hear it much. It definitely gets in the way if you prefer a silent room for gaming and TV viewing but it is one of the downsides you can’t get away from here.
Hisense PL1 Verdict
The Hisense PL1 makes for a fantastic entry-level laser TV. Its price tag of under R30,000 is approachable and considering its versatile screen size, you can always adapt your home or office for this unit. Sure, it doesn’t get as bright as Hisense’s L9G laser but we are talking about a fraction of the price. I especially enjoyed the fact I could take this unit to another room and set it up on a wall or another projector screen. It makes its value well beyond anything I expected.
You can find out more about the Hisense PL1 Short Throw Laser TV on the official Hisense website here.