ViewSonic's Pro8300 is a projector that delivers bright, full-HD resolution images with a host of business-friendly features for less than £1000. It's a great low-cost option for those who need to present HD content in environments where it's impractical or undesirable to fully dim the lights for viewing. See also Group test: what's the best projector?
The ViewSonic Pro8300 offers flexible connectivity options, including a pair of HDMI 1.3 inputs along with VGA, composite video, S-video and component video. It also incorporates a pair of stereo speakers so you can present on the move without the need to hook up to an external sound system or rely on tinny laptop speakers. A remote control includes a built-in laser pointer.
As an entry-level projector, the ViewSonic Pro8300 comes without fancy features like lens shift or motorised zoom and focus, but you do get automatic digital keystone adjustment which makes for a quick and easy setup when moving the projector from one location to another. It's also relatively lightweight at just 3.86kg and comes with a carry case.
The large manual focus and zoom controls are precise and easy to use while the standard-throw zoom lens lets you situate the projector anywhere between 0.9m and 10m from your screen or wall. With a zoom ratio of up to 1.5x, you can project an image with a 100in diagonal from anywhere between 3.16m and 4.65m away.
Often business projectors sacrifice image quality in favour of brightness and low cost, but the DLP-based ViewSonic Pro8300 comes with a quality-boosting six-segment colour wheel which allows the projector to at least have a stab at reproducing colours worthy of decent HD content.
ViewSonic Pro8300: image quality
In a typical well-lit room, you'll get a rich, bright and clear picture although getting the best results can depend on making the right settings to go with your content.
The ViewSonic Pro8300 comes with a selection of display modes which allow you to adjust the trade-off between colour fidelity and brightness. However, this level of flexibility means you'll have to familiarise yourself with the different options in order to get the best-looking picture taking into account the type of content projected and the ambient lighting.
When correctly set up, image quality was more than acceptable although skin-tones were never as natural as even a budget home-cinema projector. The business-oriented Pro8300 simply isn't built to deliver such movie-friendly subtleties, lacking as it does any dynamic contrast capabilities.
We achieved the richest colours in the projector's Dark Room mode, in which the projector most closely matches the performance characteristics of a home-cinema display. Switching to ‘bright' mode did indeed enhance brightness significantly, but there was a significant reduction in colour saturation and quality.
Even so, if you use the Dark Room setting in a room which is actually dark, the projector's inability to accurately deliver deep blacks becomes all too apparent. While bright portions of the image are very bright indeed, shadowy scenes see a prevalence of grey.
In our lab tests, we measured 77% of sRGB gamut and 60% Adobe. Colour error peaked at 12.46 deltaE, with an average of 4.75. Power consumption at maximum brightness was 280W, dropping slightly to 230W in eco mode.
If you're going to take this projector home for the weekend, you may as well use it with the lights on and the curtains open where its powerful brightness will allow you to use it quite successfully in the daytime.
The idea of a 1080p business projector seemed to us at first rather strange, but having tested the ViewSonic Pro8300 we can say we now understand the concept perfectly. If you want to present high-resolution content, be it stills or video, in any environment where viewers will need to be able to see each other and take notes then the Pro8300 will do an impressive job at cost-effective price.