The Hisense 100L5 doesn't have the black levels to appeal to the high-end home theater market. However, by delivering a 100" picture that can actually be viewed in a bright room, and for much less than a standard 100" LCD TV would cost, it still has the potential to seriously transform the world of king-size TVs. .
Bright and colorful images
Great value for a 100-inch screen
The screen rejects ambient light
Average black level only
Image presets need to be edited
May need professional calibration
Why you can trust TechRadarOur experts spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best one for you.Learn more about how we test.
review in a minute
The Hisense 100L5 isn't exactly your average TV. This becomes clear once you look at the fact that you're getting a whopping 100-inch screen for less money than many regular screens.75 inch tv.
The main reason it can offer so many inches for your money is that it's not strictly a TV. Rather, it's an ultra-short-throw projector paired with a 100-inch rigid projection screen that's designed to reject ambient light, so you don't have to darken your room every time you want to view it.
The projector is a laser light-illuminated DLP affair, which means it can get brighter and achieve a wider range of colors than regular lamp projectors. Also, unlike lamp projectors, the laser does not need to be replaced during its lifetime, and unlike regular projectors, it can be changed more or less instantly, without significant warm-up or cool-down time.
It also goes above and beyond most regular projectors by including a tuner and integrated smart TV system with many major streaming apps.
This all fits perfectly with the 100L5's aspiration to feel more like a TV than a projector. The amount of brightness and color it can keep on its specially designed screen, even with the lights on or the shades open, is truly impressive. It also manages to give 4K sources a pretty convincing 4K look, though it's not a true pixel-for-pixel 4K projector.
With a speaker system cleverly integrated into the rear edge of the projector that also sounds good enough to outperform most TV audio systems, the 100L5's only major downside for its money is that it doesn't have the contrast to work. convincingly in dark home theater conditions. adjust.
Price and availability
- The Hisense Laser TV range is available in 88, 100 and 120-inch sizes
- The 100L5 is priced at £2999 / AUS$6999 / €3499 / $3699
- It is available, with slight variations, in most major areas of the world.
Hisense has really started to piece together its market location file of late, so it's no longer surprising to find a relatively esoteric and expensive AV product like the 100L5 now widely available around the world.
Much more surprising is how affordable the 100L5 is in all the territories where it appears. You would spend five to ten times more than the 100L5 to buy a regular 100-inch LCD TV. This kind of value for money is sure to turn heads and has certainly helped Hisense launch its latest "laser TV" offering at major retailers around the world, despite the potential difficulties involved in displaying and installing it, all the world could bring such a unique product. .
- 100-inch rigid screen fits on your wall
- Ultra-short-throw projector is only inches from the screen
- Integrates a powerful speaker system on its rear edge
Because it comes in two parts, the projector and the screen, the 100L5 is a bit more intrusive into your room than a standard 100-inch TV. However, the screen is thinner than most LCD TVs, while the projector can actually be placed almost within reach of the wall. So there's certainly not the usual projection problem of having your projector placed in the middle of your room or close to where you're sitting.
The projector is quite large, as is typical for an ultra-short-throw design. Finally, there should be some space for the light to reflect inside the unit before exiting through the slot in the top edge of the projector. However, thanks to a two-tone silver and gray design and rear-mounted felt-covered speaker area, it carries its size well. Since the projector sits right against the wall, this rear is actually the part of the projector that is most visible from your seating position.
The 100L5 has a sensor that turns off the laser when it detects someone leaning into the image aperture, so no one is blinded.
Ultra short throw laser projector systems can be tricky to install, as it is more difficult than regular projectors to perfectly position and focus the image on the attached screen. While Hisense has tried to make installation simple thanks to an automatic installation app that adjusts the image based on a simple photo of your image taken with your phone, the brand also offers a free home installation service with every 100L5 sold. All you have to do is register your purchase online and make an appointment for installation. This makes the price of the 100L5 look even better.
Connections on the 100L5's projector include four HDMI, the same number you'd expect on a TV, and two more than you'd normally find on a projector. However, none of the HDMI conforms to the 2.1 standard, so there's no support for 4K at 120Hz, variable refresh rates, or eARC. Regular ARC (Audio Return Channel) is supported, however, and there's also a pair of USB inputs for playing media files, an optical digital audio output, a headphone jack, and Ethernet and Wi-Fi networking options.
Again, many of these connections aren't things you'd expect on a projector, but they are on a TV. As does the most unexpected connection discovery of all: an RF jack for an integrated digital TV tuner.
Smart TV (VIDAA)
- Simple and responsive VIDAA system
- Good localization service (including Freeview Play in the UK)
- There is no support for Disney+, Apple TV or Now TV at this time
While Hisense isn't averse to using Android TV or Roku TV smart platforms on its TVs, it opted for Laser TV to use its own VIDAA system. This has some advantages and some disadvantages.
On the other hand, VIDAA works impressively. You can navigate the simple icon-based menus without lag, and apps launch and update unobtrusively.
Hisense has signed deals with many of the big streaming players, notably Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Rakuten TV and, in the UK, Freeview Play. There's currently no support for Apple TV, Disney+, or Now TV, but Hisense tells us it expects to add the first two of those services to VIDAA before the end of 2021.
The VIDAA system, in some ways, is not as mature as the best competing smart TV platforms. There's no real effort to learn your viewing habits and automatically create a "bespoke" content recommendation system, for example, and there's no speech recognition support either. But I suspect that many users will appreciate VIDAA's simplicity.
Hisense L5 Laser TV Specifications
Screen sizes: 88, 100 and 120 inches | Tuner: DVB-T HD | 8K: Yes | HDR: Yes | Projector technology: DLP laser | Smart TV: VIDAA | Native Resolution: 4K (pseudo) | 3D: Yes | Inputs: 4 x HDMI (all v2.1), 3 x USB, RF in, optical digital audio, CI slot, headphone out, Ethernet, RF port
We started our tests on purpose by running the 100L5 in normal living room conditions, rather than in a completely dark room that is normally required for projector testing. The first impression of the Hisense 100L5 images is really impressive.
The projector's laser-inspired high brightness combined with the screen's gain and the short distance the projector's light has to travel before reaching the screen results in an image you can really enjoy, even with a significant amount of light. ambient light. . Bright images still look punchy and vibrant, with surprisingly rich colors and surprising intensity that projectors in a bright room simply shouldn't achieve.
The brightness is also complemented by an impressively wide color gamut, helping the 100L5 avoid the pale, washed-out colors you typically see when trying to view projectors in bright rooms.
Images from the 100L5 are not only exceptionally viewable in bright lighting conditions, but the combination of high brightness and wide color gamut helps produce some of the most effective and compelling HDR (high dynamic range) images we've seen from a projector. till the date. . As usual with a projector, there's no support for Dolby Vision or HDR10+ active HDR systems, but Hisense's processing handles the most basic HDR10 and HLG systems well enough.
The brightest parts of the 100L5's images are so rich and bright that they make even dark areas look convincing. That feeling that the 100L5 can deliver good black levels turns out to be something of an illusion created by the system's combination of high brightness, vivid colors, and the display's lighting properties. But as for illusions, it's good.
The way the included screen uses a lenticular surface texture to prevent ambient light from interfering with the picture is one of those AV success stories you have to see to believe. It's hard to believe Hisense claims the screen can reject more than 90% of ambient light, but it certainly works well enough to live up to the 100L5's desire to be viewed as a big-screen TV rather than a projector. .
Images from the 100L5 are also clear and sharp, despite the difficulties associated with achieving flawless focus and geometry in an ultra-short throw projector. Native HD sources scale very well, gaining extra density and sharpness without exaggerating source noise. Even better, native 4K sources actually appear to have four times as many pixels as HD images; despite the single-chip DLP optics the projector uses, it doesn't actually offer a native 4K pixel count.
The so-called double flash system that the 100L5 uses to create a 4K effect has actually been confirmed by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) as capable of delivering a true 4K experience. And while the results don't rival the latest native 4K projectors from Sony and JVC in terms of immediacy and clarity, they're good enough for a projector/display system that gives you so much for so little.
While the 100L5 performs well under normal living room conditions, there are some relatively minor issues. For example, the vividness of the 100L5's images drops slightly when you have to look at the screen from a wider angle. I've also occasionally noticed a small, faint "hotspot" of brightness in the bottom center of the image, and every once in a while there's a fleeting example of the rainbow effect, where bright, prominent parts of the image can go accompanied by fleeting veins of pure red, green and blue. However, the rainbow is pretty subtle by DLP projector standards, especially for a projector that runs as bright as the 100L5.
Another complaint about the 100L5's normal living room performance is that, like previous Laser TVs, Hisense's Picture presets aren't particularly helpful. The HDR Dynamic setting is the only out-of-the-box option that offers bold, bold colors; the rest may seem a bit bland. At the same time, for serious movie nights in dark rooms, Dynamic mode can get a bit too strong, causing bright HDR areas to 'clip' (losing subtle shading information).
The tools are there to tweak the dynamic settings to control its more aggressive characteristics when watching in a dark room, but it would have been nice if the default preset, for example, had been built with a bit more punch to give you a better feel. It averages between the most accurate HDR night settings but also somewhat drab.
If you really want to get the most out of a Hisense 100L5, you're probably better off considering professional calibration for a very reasonable overall price.
The last and worst problem with the Hisense 100L5's pictures arises when trying to go from a bright room to a dark one for a proper movie night. Without ambient light to hide black level issues, very dark scenes and dark areas of bright images can suddenly appear flat, gray, and quite hollow with no shadow detail. And we haven't found a way to really calibrate this black level issue.
This is another area where the Hisense 100L5 convinces you convincingly that it's more of a TV than a projector. For starters, the speakers are incredibly powerful. Its 2 x 15W power rating, coupled with the projector's rugged design, is enough to deliver powerful, dynamic and generally full sound, free of distortions caused by the projector's drivers or cabinet.
Because the speakers are positioned at the back of the projector and facing into your room, the sound feels comfortable and direct, filling your immersive space.
The directness of the sound means that hard effects like gunshots and explosions pack a lot of punch, and best of all, the sound propagates far and wide in all directions, creating a soundstage that matches the scale of the 100 inch images. The soundstage even has a sense of height and width, and it's amazingly compatible with the projector's built-in Dolby Atmos decoding.
This verticality of the 100L5's audio largely helps to avoid the common problem with ultra-short-throw projectors where voices seem to come from below the on-screen action.
The Hisense 100L5's compact form doesn't leave much room for a serious subwoofer, so it's not entirely surprising that the weakest element of the 100L5's sound is its bass. Dense film mixes, explosions, heavyweight collisions, etc. lack weight in the bass, easily making them sound brittle and wonky. So much so that the occasional really high-pitched sound can hit your ears quite hard.
There's good news here though, as the 100L5 allows you to add an external subwoofer via Bluetooth. But even without one, the overall sound of the 100L5 is better than many of this year's LCD and OLED TV releases.
Should I buy the Hisense 100L5 laser TV?
You want a giant screen at a great price
Even if you can find a regular 100-inch TV, it's going to cost you an arm and a leg. If not both arms and both legs. Hisense's clever UST projector solution gives you a 100" image in a similar setup to a TV, but for less money than many 75" TVs.
You don't like to darken your room.
The 100L5's highly reflective/anti-environment screen can deliver images that are bright and colorful enough to be comfortable viewing from the projector even in normal daytime living room conditions.
You don't want the projector to dominate your room
Using an ultra short throw projector means you get the image size best achieved with a projector without the inconvenience of having a projector in the middle of your room.
Don't buy if...
You like serious movie nights
The 100L5's black level shortcomings are hard to ignore if you decide to darken your room for a cinematic experience.
You want the latest game features
While convincingly pretending to be a TV, the 100L5 is actually a projector system. And like all current projector systems, it doesn't support the latest 4K 120Hz gaming, variable refresh rates, and automatic game mode switching.
Your TV should be placed in a corner.
Unless you're willing to invest in some sort of giant mounting template for the 100L5's screen, it should be mounted to a flat wall. You can't leave it in a corner.
- Looking for the latest and greatest projectors? Consult our guide tobest projectors
AV Technology Contributor
John has been writing about home entertainment technology for over two decades, a particularly impressive feat considering he still claims to be only 35 (yeah, right). In that time, he's checked out hundreds, if not thousands, of TVs, projectors, and speakers and, frankly, sat alone in a dark room for far too long.