Planar PD7060 £1900

24th May 2007 | 23:00

Planar PD7060

New brand's second UK projector makes an even bigger splash

TechRadar rating:

5 stars

Unbelievable value for under two grand, the Planar's super-sharpness and black level showings will deservedly win it many fans


<p>Black levels</p><p>Sharpness</p><p>Colours</p><p>Design</p><p>Connectivity</p>


<p>Occasional rainbow effect</p><p>Unforgiving of source noise</p><p>Slightly noisy runner</p>

Only recently we exclusively reviewed Planar's first UK home cinema projector, the PD7010 - and concluded that we were 'licking our lips in anticipation of what else the new brand might have up its sleeves'. Well, it turns out we haven't had to wait long for that something else to arrive, in the comely form of the PD7060.

The £1,900 lightbox is higher up the projection pecking order than the 'entry level' £1,350 PD7010. Which means that its sleek, glossy, tastefully rounded black body houses Texas Instruments' Dark Chip 3 (DC3) DLP chipset rather than its cheaper sibling's DC2 version.

What this means is that while the resolution stays the same, at 1280 x 720 pixels, thanks to DC3's greater light efficiency the contrast crucially goes up from an already decent 2500:1 for the PD7010 to 3500:1. And based on our experience of Planar's debut machine, we wouldn't be surprised if that figure turned out to be a conservative estimate.

Using DC3 should also enhance the PD7060's motion handling thanks to the chipset's faster response time.

Other key innards are a six-segment, four-speed colour wheel, and Texas Instruments' own TI DDP3020 image processing. The latter's not up there on paper with 'high end' third-party alternatives from, say, Faroudja or Gennum, but it delivered great results on the PD7010, so we see no reason why it should let the PD7060 down.

This model's connectivity is excellent, thanks to two digital video inputs: one HDMI, and one DVI-D that can take HDMI via an adaptor. Plus you get a component video input, a D-Sub PC port, an S-video input, a composite video input, a 12V trigger output and three jacks that remind us of Planar's desire to appeal to custom installers: a 3.5mm remote control socket, a USB input and an RS232 control port.

Features within the extensive onscreen menus, meanwhile, include various source-based gamma presets; the option to turn video overscanning off; Eco, Normal and Boost lamp output options and three memory slots for storing favourite settings.

The PD7060 is remarkably straightforward in many ways, with drop-down legs, vertical and horizontal keystone adjustment and built-in test patterns for picture setup. The onscreen menus make their extensive options immediately accessible, too.

We do have a couple of gripes, though. The remote control is depressingly small and rather unresponsive. There are no vertical image shift options, and there's not as much optical zoom as we'd like.

The PD7060's pictures are quite sensational: better than we've any right to expect for such an affordable projector. Particularly remarkable is the breathtaking amount of fine detailing reproduced from high-quality sources; we've never seen hi-def's extra resolution done so much justice to for under £2,000.

Such clarity in an HD image inevitably helps deliver a great sense of scale to pictures. But also playing a key part in adding depth to what you're watching is the PD7060's outstanding black level rendition. There's practically none of the greying over that flattens dark scenes and, even better, there's plenty of subtle shadow detailing.

Add to these strengths vivid but mostly completely natural colours, crisp motion handling, and almost total freedom from grain and dot crawl, and you've got a performance that wouldn't disgrace a projector costing £1,000 more.

Inevitably, though, there are places where the Planar's deflated price shows through. Oddly - possibly because of the PD7060's enhanced contrast - we actually felt more aware of the rainbow effect here than on the PD7010.

The projector also runs a little more noisily than some. And one final point you should be aware of - though it's arguably a strength rather than a weakness - is the way the PD7060's intense sharpness can make it rather unforgiving of a source's weakness.

For instance, we noticed areas of noise in the Blu-ray of Casino Royale. But crucially this noise was coming from the digital encoding of the Blu-ray disc - so arguably the PD7060 is just doing its job too well.

This is Planar's second projector, and it's the second time the company has rewritten the value rule book.

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