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The LG HU80KA 4K UHD certainly looks like a high-tech gadget. Most who see it wonder what on Earth it is, and usually, they don’t guess that it’s a home theater projector. Some may find its appearance kind of ugly or at least not compatible with their room decor. Though for a really ugly projector, you need to check out our LG HU85LA review.
As for the LG HU80KA 4K, others won’t mind its looks, and may actually dig its distinctive techy appearance while also appreciating it even more as a portable laser projector that can be set up on an as-needed basis. Both sides will agree that the HU80KA does throw a stunningly beautiful picture with full UHD resolution.
The HU80KA can be oriented in many different ways –on its side, standing up like a tower, and even ceiling mounted. And the HU80KA also delivers pretty good sound with its onboard audio capabilities. If you’re looking for a laser projector, then be sure to consult GR’s Best Laser Projector buyer’s guide for comparisons of other available options, although none will be anything quite like the design of the LG HU80KA.
The LG HU80KA 4K UHD is a uniquely designed 4K projector. Really one-of-a-kind, it doesn’t look like any other UHD projector, yet it beams a high quality, high contrast, 4K picture of up to 150” from a variety of placement options. Speaking of options, you might want to check out our list of the best LG projectors.
The LG HU80KA 4K UHD is radical. It can beam a 4K resolution picture (3840 x 2160, 16:9 aspect ratio) up to 150 inches. Although not rugged as a portable, the HU80KA weighs about 15 lbs. It has a carry handle and retractable power cord to move it around, from room to room or out to the garage or even outside; pretty easy and do-able. It also has a decent sounding onboard audio system (using two 7-watt speakers), as well as Bluetooth support so it’s a cinch to have the audio come from an external soundbar or Bluetooth headphones, plus there’s also audio outputs (digital and analog) if you want to interface the HU80KA with your high-end audio system.
In fact, the HU80KA has plenty of connectivity capability with two HDMI inputs (HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 supporting Blu-ray or gaming consoles), USB inputs, and an RJ-45 Ethernet jack, as well as Wi-Fi capability. However, the best the HU80KA does for input lag is 71 ms, which is probably okay for a family game night, but serious gamers will undoubtedly consider it too laggy. The HU80KA is compatible with HDR10 content sources but not HLG. Its integrated Smart TV using LG’s webOS makes Netflix, YouTube, and other content sources immediately available.
There are six color mode presets, with the TechExpert mode having the more comprehensive calibration capability. There is not, however, a 3D mode. What LG calls “TrueMotion Technology” increases the HU80KA’s refresh rate to prevent fast action from blurring, stuttering, or looking jagged. Picture settings and other interactions with the on-screen UI are manipulated using the included remote control (LG calls it their “Magic Remote”), which has a motion-sensitive air mouse, so you just point it at the WebOS UI displayed to make selections, and the remote control includes a microphone so you can use voice commands. Additionally, the HU80KA is smart home compatible, supporting Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Although, if you’re not fully sold on this LG model, have a look at our list of the best Panasonic projectors.
The LG HU80KA 4K UHD is driven by a laser phosphor light engine that improves the contrast and black levels of the 0.47” UHD DLP chipset. LG rates the brightness of the HU80KA at 2500 lumens, which is way better than the BenQ TH671ST, as it’s terrible in bright light. The HU80KA uses an eight-segment (RGBYRGBY) color wheel, and there is no significant negative feedback from users about rainbow artifacts. There are many ways to adjust the brightness of the HU80KA. You get full-lumen output with the HU80KA resting on its side shooting light directly like a cannon. If oriented upright like a tower or throwing an image on a ceiling, the HU80KA uses a mirror which reduces brightness slightly (4%).
Further, the HU80KA has three energy-saving power options, which can reduce the brightness by upwards of 50%. And there are 4 color temperature settings that can be used with any of the HU80KA’s preset modes, and these color temp settings can alter brightness depending on which one you select. Finally, the HU80KA has a 1.2x manual zoom, manual focus lens at its brightest in wide-angle, and drops brightness by about 7% at max telephoto zoom. Brightness uniformity is nevertheless rock solid no matter how you configure the HU80KA, and its impressive 1080p SDR contrast ratio is among the best found on a home theater cinebeam projector. If you want a higher lumen output, try the BenQ TK850 projector or the BenQ TK800 4K, which are 3,000 Lumen DLP Projectors.
Versatility is the hallmark of all the LG HU80KA 4K UHD features. A throw ratio of 1.3:1 to 1.5:1 doesn’t qualify it as an ultra-short-throw (UST) projector, but still, you can project a 150-inch screen size (repeat, 150” ) with the HU80KA placed about 12 feet from the wall. Most likely optimal room placements for the HU80KA will be fairly close to the viewing seats –just in front, even with, or just behind. There is no lens shift capability, so placement must be in the middle.
The HU80KA has an unusual form factor that you can orient in a variety of ways. Standing up like a tower, sitting on its side, and ceiling-mounted, you can even project on the ceiling and watch movies in full HD while lying in bed (let’s see you try that with an OLED TV). The form factor of the HU80KA makes putting it on a bookshelf difficult (but not impossible), and ceiling mounting kind of defeats its portability, but it can be oriented in many different ways offering many room placement options.
The LG HU80KA is built like a tank, or at least it looks that way. Very studio equipment looking as opposed to a more typical home electronics look. The unit only comes in black, and its industrial appearance may be quite noticeable in some room decors. It does emit some noise from its cooling fan, but not so much that it’s noticeable even during quiet moments in audio content.
It makes about the same amount of noise as a laptop fan. It’s also a bit oddly shaped (18.6” H x 6.4” W x 6.4” D ), and apart from the side-emitting light, you can’t really define that there’s an obvious top or bottom like with other laser smart home theater projector designs, such as the Optoma 4K Projector. The HU80KA product has won many innovation awards and design awards. LG rates their laser lamp engine as having 20,000 hours of life (note that this isn’t the amount of time until it fails, but rather the amount of time until the laser engine’s brightness diminishes by 50%).
The warranty from LG electronics is only for one year, shorter than the 2-year warranties offered by other manufacturers. LG customer service is generally rated well by owners, although some customer comments note that the HU80KA LG software updates are infrequent.
The LG HU80KA 4K UHD is an excellent choice for a home theater projector, and it earned many an “Editor’s Choice” award from the technical press when it first hit the market. It’s nevertheless a substantial purchase, so you’ll need to weigh its value based on your intended use case(s). If portability and flexible placement optionality are keenly important, then the HU80KA is an obvious contender.
If your intended room environment has some space constraints, you might find that UST projectors, such as the VAVA 4K Projector, are better suited to your needs. If your use case is more for a permanent stationary home theater cinebeam, and/or you’re a total nerd about the finer points of color calibration and picture quality, then maybe look at something like the Optoma GT1080HDR or less costly LCD alternatives such as an Epson EF-100 or the Epson Home Cinema 1080p 3LCD projector.
The LG HU80KA 4K UHD is perhaps the most unique and innovative UHD laser projector design currently offered. If you want a flexible multi-room, multi-location projector with the capability to use it outdoors for backyard movie nights, the HU80KA delivers a very good picture and good sound quality. It throws great images for 1080p content, and 4K content is very sharp indeed.