ViewSonic PA503S – Affordable Theater Choice?

The ViewSonic PA503S projector has several advanced features which are perfect for a wide variety of uses. It provides up to 3,600 lumens of brightness which should allow you to enjoy the machine at nearly anytime during the day. There are also a decent amount of inputs so you can plug in all sorts of modern or legacy devices. The low response time of 16ms makes it a great choice for video games as well.

ViewSonic PA503S PA503X PA503W ProjectorBe aware that there are actually 3 versions that each have a different native resolution. The higher the resolution, the more details you’ll see. Which one should you get? I’ll start by covering the video aspects and then move onto other details to help you make the best choice for your own needs.


Visual Quality

PA503 Lamp HoursHaving a bright projector will give you more opportunities to use the device since you won’t need a pitch black room. The 3,600 lumens rating is bright enough to use during the day in many different situations. If you don’t need that much brightness and do plan on using the machine in your own home theater you can turn on a SuperEco mode. This eco mode reduces the brightness up to 70% and can give you up to 15,000 hours of lamp life. Let’s do a little math to see an estimate of how long that could last. If you used the projector for 6 hours every day, that’s 365 days a year, it could last up to 6.85 years before needing a replacement lamp. That’s pretty insane.

As I mentioned before, there are 3 different versions of this projector: PA503S SVGA 800×600, PA503X XGA 1024×768, and PA503W WXGA 1280×800~. All of the models can take in an HD signal from a Blu-ray or game console but they can only output that signal in their native resolution. So, the WXGA model will produce images that are a bit clearer compared to the others. How important this is to you will depend on your preferences. If you’re sitting far away from the screen it may not be as important to you but it’s definitely something to consider.

SuperColor

PA503W SuperColorThere’s a 6-segment color wheel and dynamic lamp control that help produce a wide gamut of colors. ViewSonic calls it SuperColor (it’s actually trademarked) and outputs accurate color for an authentic movie experience.

The impressive maximum brightness and wide color range are also great if you’re interested in hooking up your favorite game console. Want to play your new Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or PlayStation on the wall? It’s a great use for the machine!

Audio

One of the drawbacks is the small 2-watt speaker that’s built in. It isn’t going to provide a movie theater experience and you’ll likely want to use your own home audio system if you have one. It works in a pinch but definitely plug in your own speakers. This is a pretty common issue with projectors but some are better than others. The ViewSonic PRO7827HD for instance has a 10-watt speaker, though it’s also more expensive. There’s an audio input and output port on the back of the machine for this functionality or you can use the HDMI to run through your A/V receiver.

Connectivity

You have a variety of inputs available to plug in most media devices. The HDMI port is probably what you’ll be using the most. It’s what you’ll use to play movies from a Blu-Ray player, TV from a media box, or video games from modern systems. There’s also a legacy yellow composite port. This yellow input allows you to plug in older devices such as an old DVD player or classic game console like a PlayStation 1 or 2.

I’ll quickly mention that you can also use the projector to display 3D content. You’ll need some sort of 3D-capable device though such as a 3D Blu-Ray player or other media player. Also, 3D glasses are required of course but if you have all of the hardware you’ll be good to go according to the company.

PA503 Back

Finally, there are two VGA ports that you can use to hook up your laptop or PC. With this you can play media directly from your computer without needing to constantly switch discs or anything. Even better if you have a wireless mouse and keyboard that you can use while sitting on the couch.

Summary

3,600 Lumen brightness
SuperEco: Up to 15,000 hours
SuperColor: 6-segment color wheel
Fan Noise: 27dB eco mode
3D-ready (Requires 3D capable device)
Throw Distance: 3.9 – 43 ft
DLP Machine
HDMI, 2x VGA, VGA out, Composite, Audio in/out
3-year limited warranty parts/labor
1-year lamp coverage

PA503 projector topConclusion

The ViewSonic PA503S projector is a solid choice if you’re looking to bring the theater experience to your home. It can display an image up to 300″ that is perfect for movies, games, or sports broadcasts. Get your friends over for the Super Bowl or have an amazing family movie night. You just need some popcorn or snacks and you’re set. It’ll produce a massive screen size much bigger than a regular TV and it accepts input from several media devices. It’s also good for small businesses or the education field if you require that functionality. I would recommend going for the WXGA version if you want the highest picture quality from this model. It’d be worth it in my opinion if you plan on keeping the projector for a long time.

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