Samsung LSP9T The Premiere 4K Laser Projector Review

A genuine big-screen alternative to a TV

SRP: £6,999.00

What is the Samsung LSP9T?

The Samsung LSP9T is the company's new ultra-short-throw 4K HDR laser DLP projector. It's also referred to as 'The Premiere' in Samsung's marketing, although since this term seems to apply to the cheaper LSP7T as well, it might get slightly confusing.

Samsung certainly aren't messing about when it comes to features and specs on its new projector. For a start it uses red, green and blue lasers, thus ensuring the widest colour gamut and increased brightness, with added benefits like longer life, increased stability and near-instant on/off.

The LSP9T supports 4K Ultra HD using a DLP chip with XPR technology, and thanks to the RGB lasers it doesn't need a colour wheel. It also supports high dynamic range in the form of HDR10, hybrid log-gamma (HLG) and HDR10+. In the case of the latter, it's the first projector in the world to offer support for any HDR dynamic metadata format.

Since this is an ultra-short-throw projector it can produce an image up to 130 inches when only 25cm from the wall. It's also bright, and is capable of producing up to 2,800 lumens. The LSP9T is designed as a viable alternative to a TV, which means it includes built-in tuners, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Tizen smart platform, and sound system, plus it works with Alexa and Google Assistant. There are also three HDMI inputs, one of which supports eARC.

Of course, all this tech doesn't come cheap, and as at the time of writing (November 2020) the LSP9T will set you back a hefty £6,999. However, when you consider how much TVs with 75 to 90-inch screen sizes cost, it might not seem so steep. Let's set-up the Samsung LSP9T, and see how it performs.

Design, Connections and Control

The Samsung LSP9T sports a lifestyle-friendly design, with a curved and eye-catching chassis. I definitely prefer it to the LG HU85LS, which is all angles and sharp edges. The glossy white styling should match most rooms, and the build quality is excellent. The grey fabric covering the front speakers helps the projector blend in with the majority living spaces, and the dimensions allow the projector to be discreetly placed near the wall without taking up too much room.

 

The curvaceous chassis is eye-catching, there are plenty of connections and an effective remote

The LSP9T measures 550 x 141 x 367mm (WxHxD) and weighs in at 11.5kg. Aside from the fabric-covered speakers at the front, the only other visible features are a slot on the top, where the lens is located, and air intake and exhaust vents on either side (you should make sure there's at least 50cm of clearance for both). The lens fires backwards towards the wall, and there's an 'Eye Protection Mode' safety feature that automatically attenuates the light intensity of the projector if you block the beam.

Samsung LSP9T
Samsung LSP9T front left view

The connections are located at the rear of the LSP9T, nearest the wall, and it's an impressive selection for a projector. There are three HDMI 4K/60p inputs with support for high dynamic range (HDR10, HLG, HDR10+), wide colour gamut and HDCP 2.2, while one also supports eARC. This is a welcome addition, allowing users to pass lossless audio from the built-in apps and other connected devices back to an outboard sound system, should they decide not to use the built-in speakers.

Samsung LSP9T
Samsung LSP9T connections

There are also built-in terrestrial and satellite tuners – the former supports Freeview HD, while the latter is generic rather than Freesat. There's an optical digital output, a USB port, an Ethernet port and built-in Wi-Fi. In addition, the LSP9T supports Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay, has Bixby built-in, and works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. That's a significant improvement over LG's HU85LS, which only has two HDMI inputs with ARC, and no built-in tuners.

Samsung LSP9T
Samsung LSP9T remote control

The included remote is a variation on the controller Samsung uses with its TVs and soundbars, but with white styling to match the projector. The remote is well-designed, intuitive to use, and comfortable to hold. The zapper also has a built-in microphone for voice control, and overall it’s excellent with our only complaint being that it doesn’t have a backlight. However, given its simplicity and the fact there will probably be some ambient light in the room, the lack of a backlight shouldn't be an issue. 

Features and Specs

The Samsung LSP9T uses a three laser light source rather than a lamp with a colour wheel. The light source is composed of red, blue and green lasers, and 16-bit 3D colour mapping, which should deliver brighter images, a 20,000-hour lifespan compared to only 2,000-3,000 hours for a bulb, and near-instant on/off as opposed to the long start-up and cool-down periods associated with lamp-based projectors. Since there's no colour wheel, the laser light source should also minimise the colour-fringing and rainbow artefacts that often plague single-chip DLP projectors. Thanks to the laser light source, it also has a very wide colour gamut, with Samsung claiming the LSP9T can reach 106% of BT.2020 and 147% of DCI-P3.

 

The use of a laser light source ensures bright images, long life, consistency, a wide colour gamut and near-instant on/off

The LSP9T also has a claimed peak brightness of 2,800 lumens, and a claimed on/off contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1. Samsung also claims a noise level of 32dB in the brightest picture mode. Since the LSP9T is an ultra-short-throw projector, the installation procedure is easy. You simply place it within 113 and 238mm from the wall, which results in a screen size that ranges from 100 to 130 inches. The user then simply moves the projector to the left or right to centre the image, makes sure it's parallel with the wall or screen, and adjusts the feet to level it. There is a motorised control in the menus for focusing the lens, and a helpful test pattern.

As is usually the case with ultra-short-throw projectors, while setup is simple you have virtually no flexibility. The projector has to go at the bottom of the wall or screen and has to be parallel, you then move it side to side to align it, and towards or away from the wall to change the size. Aside from adjusting the focus, there isn't much else you can do. There is a keystone adjustment for correcting distortions if necessary, but this control will rob the image of fine detail and introduce scaling artefacts, so it's best avoided if possible.

Samsung LSP9T
Samsung LSP9T launcher bar

The LSP9T uses a DLP chip with XPR technology, this takes a 2716 x 1528 pixel 0.66" DMD chip and diagonally shifts the image at 120Hz to go from 4 million pixels to a perceived 8 million pixels (3840 x 2160). While technically not true 4K Ultra HD, the resulting image is largely imperceptible from 4K, even when looking at test patterns.

 

This DLP beamer supports 4K using XPR tech, as well as HDR10, HLG and HDR10+, with latter a first for a projector

The LSP9T also has an impressive sound system for a projector, and essentially has similar tech to Samsung's HW-S60T soundbar built into the front. There are two tweeters, two woofers and Acoustic Beam technology to create a 4.2-channel system with 40W of amplification. The Acoustic Beam tech is based around a tweeter and 22 tuned ports on either side, which direct sounds upwards and to the sides, producing a soundstage that is bigger and more dynamic.

Samsung LSP9T
Filmmaker Mode

The LSP9T includes Samsung's full Tizen operating system, which results in the same smart platform as the company's TVs. As with TVs, the system is intuitively designed, fast and responsive. The layout, second layer, and features of the system remain key positives, while the colour, brightness and styling are easy on the eyes.

 

The built-in sound system uses Samsung's Acoustic Beam tech, and sounds genuinely good

The smart platform benefits from a comprehensive choice of video streaming apps that includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Disney+, Now TV, Rakuten, YouTube, and all the UK catch-up services. The apps are all responsive and the image quality is excellent, with HDR support where appropriate. The Amazon Prime app supports HDR10+, and the projector correctly displays the fact that it is decoding the dynamic metadata format. Depending on the app, you can also bitstream Dolby Atmos to an outboard sound solution using the eARC HDMI input.

Samsung LSP9T
Samsung LSP9T rear right view

Samsung's Universal Guide remains a useful feature, especially given the amount of content available on the smart platform. It’s integrated with TV Plus, and its ability to collate a user’s favourite content into a single location makes perfect sense; as does its ability to base any recommendations on actual viewer habits as well as specific partnerships. The LSP9T has Samsung’s Bixby smart assistant built-in, which allows for voice interaction with conversational continuity, enhanced Q&A, and intelligent recommendations. In addition, the LSP9T can work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, giving users a choice of all three smart assistants.

 

The LSP9T boasts the full Tizen operating system, with a comprehensive set of video streaming apps

The LSP9T supports the SmartThings app, which makes installation and setup easy. It also allows for quick and easy interconnection of IoT devices, with a useful dashboard to help monitor and control all the connected devices. The LSP9T also includes useful features such as Tap View, which is a welcome addition for Samsung Galaxy users, along with Android screen mirroring and Apple AirPlay.

Measurements

SDR Out of the Box

The Samsung LSP9T doesn't just use the same smart operating system as the company's TVs, it also has the same menu system, picture modes and calibration controls. The most accurate is the Filmmaker Mode (a first for a projector), although the Movie Mode is essentially the same, aside from the motion settings. Unlike many projectors, there's enough brightness to actually use the LSP9T in both bright and dark rooms, but for the best results try and make the room as dark as possible.

Samsung LSP9T
SDR out-of-the-box greyscale measurements
Samsung LSP9T
SDR out-of-the-box gamut tracking measurements

The out-of-the-box greyscale accuracy was disappointing, with an excess of red energy and a deficit of green that resulted in visible errors and a push towards yellow. However, the BT.1886 gamma setting measured the target of BT.1886 precisely, aside from a slight dip at 90IRE.

The colour performance using the Auto Colour Space option was generally good, aside from the errors caused by the greyscale. This was pulling the colours away from their saturation targets and towards the skewed white point. However, the luminance measurements (not shown on the graph above) were excellent.

 

The out-of-the-box gamma and colour tracking were good, but the latter was skewed by errors in the greyscale

The out-of-the-box images still looked good, but it would be nice if Samsung could fine-tune the accuracy, especially given that Filmmaker Mode is supposed to represent the industry standards as closely as possible.

SDR Calibrated

As with Samsung's TVs, there are expert controls for calibrating the greyscale, gamma and colour gamut. The White Balance controls offer 2- and 10-point adjustments, and the colour management system allows you to adjust the primary and secondary colours.

Samsung LSP9T
SDR calibrated greyscale measurements
Samsung LSP9T
SDR calibrated gamut tracking measurements

By using the 2- and 10-point white balance controls I was able to improve the greyscale performance significantly, after which the greyscale and gamma accuracy was reference, with all the errors well below one. It’s nice to see a 10-point white balance control on a projector, this is unusual and a valuable tool for calibrators.

 

Post calibration the greyscale and gamma were reference and the colour tracking was generally good

Once I had calibrated the greyscale, most of the colour tracking errors disappeared and I was then able to fine tune using the colour management system. The colour tracking still could have been better, especially in terms of red and magenta, but the luminance measurements remained correct, and, overall, this is an excellent level of accuracy.

HDR Results

The LSP9T supports high dynamic range in the form of HDR10, HLG and HDR10+, and its performance was largely as expected. When it comes to projectors you will never get the kind of peak highlights seen on an HDR TV, but as long as the tone mapping is performed correctly the experience can still be rewarding.

Samsung LSP9T
HDR greyscale measurements
Samsung LSP9T
HDR DCI-P3 tracking

For a projector, the LSP9T is certainly bright and, in the brightest picture mode, it approaches Samsung's claims of 2,800 lumens. The laser light source is also fairly consistent, and shouldn't dim much over its lifetime, unlike a regular bulb.

The out-of-the-box greyscale measurements were better than in SDR, with largely equal amounts of red, green, and blue, aside from the point where the tone mapping rolls off. In the case of the latter, the projector tracks the PQ curve until rolls off at its peak brightness of around 175 nits.

 

The HDR tone mapping was good, and the RGB laser produced the widest colour gamut I've ever measured

The DCI-P3 tracking wasn't too bad considering the overall colour space, aside from the skew of magenta towards red, which resulted in skin tones looking slightly flushed. But in general, the actual experience of watching HDR content was considerably better than these graphs might suggest

Samsung LSP9T
HDR DCI-P3 coverage
Samsung LSP9T
HDR BT.2020 coverage

The LSP9T covered nearly 100% of DCI-P3 in my tests, which shouldn't come as a surprise given it has the widest native colour gamut I had ever measured. The use of RGB lasers results in incredibly pure and saturated colours, and the HDR images that this projector produces are often breathtaking.

Performance

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the Samsung LSP9T's picture quality, let's run through the more mundane aspects of its performance. First of all, it's very easy to setup and operate thanks to an intuitive menu system and remote control. Although it doesn't turn on instantly, it only takes 14 seconds to go from pressing the power button to showing the launcher bar, which is significantly faster than any bulb-based projector. It also turns off in only a couple of seconds, with no need to cool down any lamp. In addition, the LSP9T is very quiet in operation, hitting 32dB in HDR, and dropping below 30dB with SDR content (with these measurements taken next to the chassis).

If you're a gamer, you'll be glad to know the LSP9T has a dedicated low-latency game mode. However, even in this mode, the input lag is still fairly high at 55ms. This won't bother the more casual gamer, but twitch-trigger first-person fanatics might find it too slow. Having said that, any lag is offset by detailed, bright and saturated big-screen images, and some excellent motion handling.

The LSP9T has a native on/off contrast ratio of 1400:1, which is actually fairly good for a DLP projector. But since it's designed to be used in normal living rooms with light-coloured walls and ceilings, the contrast performance is less important than it would be in a blacked-out home cinema. You can project onto a white wall, but for the best results use a dedicated screen. If you're using the LSP9T in normal living room, investing in a light-rejecting screen will definitely pay dividends.

Samsung LSP9T
Samsung LSP9T front right view

Right, now that's out of the way let's get on to picture quality. In general, the LSP9T proved to be an impressive performer, and once setup properly and correctly focused, the image was very sharp and detailed. The single-chip nature of DLP is the reason why the picture often looks so precise, and while it might not technically be native 4K, you really wouldn't know from looking a it. Put on a native 4K disc like The Revenant, and you'll be amazed at the levels of detail on offer.

The projector produces images that are bright and free of unwanted artefacts, and there's enough light output to be used in less-than-ideal rooms or during the daytime. Having said that, while these images are perfectly watchable in daylight, the experience will be diminished, however, pull the curtains and you can fully appreciate the capabilities of this projector. The LSP9T offers most of the conveniences of a TV, and it can create much larger images, but when it comes to watching content in a bright room, a TV will always be superior.

 

The LSP9T delivers big, bright and genuinely impressive SDR and HDR images

The fact that the LSP9T doesn't need a colour wheel should ensure there's no colour fringing or rainbows, and I certainly never saw any. However, I don't usually suffer from rainbows, so I can't guarantee that someone who is particularly susceptible won't see them. The motion handling was superb, as I'd expect from a DLP projector, with smooth and judder-free motion. If you watch a lot of sport, Samsung has also included its ME/MC (motion estimation and motion compensation) algorithm for improved frame interpolation.

Since the LSP9T includes the full Tizen OS, it means you can stream video from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV+, Rakuten, YouTube, Now TV, and the UK TV catch-up services. They were all impressive in terms of performance, with great SDR and 4K HDR images where appropriate. Watching Warrior Nun on Netflix resulted in some excellent 4K HDR pictures, while The Grand Tour benefited from HDR10+ on Amazon Prime, and His Dark Materials looked great in HLG on iPlayer.

Samsung LSP9T
Samsung LSP9T rear left view

Watching the excellent Blu-ray of Samsara reveals gorgeous images, and while the blacks could have been deeper and the shadows more detailed, there's no denying that the colours really pop, and while only being 1080p, the level of detail was often astonishing. This is primarily thanks to some impressive upscaling that makes the most of every pixel in the Full HD source. While I would like to see Samsung fine-tune the colour accuracy, especially relating to red and magenta, these issues weren't apparent with actual viewing content.

In terms of HDR, the LSP9T remains impressive, no doubt thanks to the RGB laser light source. My favourite 4K disc for colours is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and the incredibly wide gamut of the Samsung really did this film justice. The tone mapping was also excellent, with the LSP9T handling the brighter parts of the image without clipping the highlights. A projector is never going to compete with a TV in terms of peak brightness, but the LSP9T did a great job of mapping the HDR content to its inherent light output, especially in a darkened environment. The inclusion of HDR10+ support also helps thanks to dynamic metadata and, watching Robin Hood, the images produced were superb.

The LSP9T is undeniably capable when it comes to HDR, and a disc like Planet Earth II results in wonderfully detailed images and highlights that are nicely rendered. The limitations with blacks were obvious in the nighttime scenes with the hyenas, but in general this projector is sure to produce a pleasing HDR experience. A film like Blade Runner 2049 allows the Samsung to reveal all its strengths, from the detail in the 4K image, to the remarkable colours and the precisely rendered highlights. No matter what you're watching, this projector is sure to please.

Verdict

Pros

  • Bright laser images
  • Sharp and detailed
  • Very wide colour gamut
  • Great motion handling
  • Easy to setup
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Tizen smart platform
  • Freeview tuner

Cons

  • Black levels could be better
  • Input lag a bit high
  • No 3D support
  • Expensive

Samsung LSP9T The Premiere 4K Laser Projector Review

Should I buy one?

The Samsung LSP9T (The Premiere) represents the company's first foray into projectors in a long time and, given its goals, can be considered a resounding success. An ultra-short-throw projector is something of a niche product, but its main goal is to deliver a big-screen image while taking up very little space at the front of your living room. In that sense it works perfectly, producing an image up to 130 inches from a discreet chassis with a maximum throw of only 23cm.

The other primary objective of the LSP9T is to offer a viable big-screen alternative to a TV, and once again it delivers triumphantly. It includes all the features you would expect from a Samsung TV, including support for 4K and HDR (HDR10, HLG and HDR10+). It also has the full Tizen operating system, with a comprehensive selection of video streaming apps, along with three HDMI inputs, eARC, built-in Freeview and satellite tuners, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and AirPlay. It's the first projector to include Filmmaker Mode, and even has a proper built-in speaker system that produces a front soundstage that's big, wide and genuinely good.

The Samsung is easy to setup and operate, has an intuitive remote control, and is quiet in operation. The input lag is a bit high at 55ms, but that shouldn't bother casual gamers. Crucially the RGB laser light source not only delivers the convenience, consistency and long-life of a TV, but is also bright enough to be used in rooms with ambient light. It produces detailed and punchy big screen images with both SDR and HDR, and retains all the strengths of DLP, with excellent sharpness and motion handling. In addition, the colour space is huge, and the tone mapping is also highly effective.

Of course being a DLP projector it does have its limitations, and technically it's not native 4K, although you'd never notice. The other main weakness is that the black levels could be better, although the perceived contrast is pretty good, especially in less-than-ideal rooms. The use of three lasers eliminates the need for a colour wheel, so this projector also shouldn't suffer from rainbows and colour fringing. The LSP9T doesn't come with its own screen, and while you can just use a white wall, for the best results consider buying a light-rejecting screen instead. Finally, there's no 3D support, but that's hardly surprising these days.

Ultimately the Samsung LSP9T ticks all the boxes, and while not cheap it certainly offers an affordable big-screen alternative to very large TVs. It also delivers a cracking all-round performance with both SDR and HDR, and based on the ultra-short-throw projectors that we've reviewed to date, is undeniably the Best in Class.

What are my alternatives?

The answer to this question really depends on what you're looking for in a projector. If you're not worried about the throw distance, then a normal projector like the Epson EH-TW9400 delivers superb performance and features for a third of the price. If you want a genuinely native 4K projector, then you need to be looking at the Sony VPL-VW590ES or the impressive JVC DLA-N5, both of which are a similar price to the LSP9T.

If you like the sound of the LSP9T, but would prefer a smaller image then you could go for Samsung's cheaper LSP7T. This only uses a single laser light source, which means it requires a colour wheel, and can only deliver 83% of DCI-P3 and 2,200 lumens (according to Samsung). However, it does produce smaller images, ranging from 90 to 120 inches, and still includes all the other features found on the LSP9T.

The most obvious alternative is the LG HU85LS ultra-short-throw 4K DLP laser projector. This is very similar to the LSP9T, producing SDR and HDR images that are generally comparable to the Samsung. But the LSP9T does have a number of significant advantages that help justify the additional cost. For a start, the Samsung has built-in tuners, which the LG doesn't, and unlike any other projector at the moment it supports HDR10+. The LSP9T also has one more HDMI input, supports eARC, and sounds better. Crucially, the Tizen OS is identical to the one found on Samsung's 2020 TVs, with all the same features and a comprehensive selection of video apps. The version of webOS on the HU85LS is stripped down in comparison, with limited apps available.

Best In Class

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

.
.
8

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

.
9

Video Processing

.
9

Image Uniformity

.
9

2D Picture Quality

.
9

Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box

.
.
8

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
9

Features

10

Ease Of Use

.
9

Build Quality

.
9

Value For Money

.
.
8

Verdict

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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