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LG ProBeam BU50NST 4K Laser Projector review

Brighten up the boardroom

LG ProBeam BU50NST
(Image: © LG)

TechRadar Verdict

While boardroom projectors tend to be gravely overlooked, the LG ProBeam BU50NST is in a class of its own. It’s bright enough to see clearly in any kind of boardroom light, and excels at displaying text-heavy presentations and even the occasional office movie night. Its lack of portability may be a bit of a fumbling block, but rest assured – this projector is absolutely worth the investment for your business.

Pros

  • +

    Great brightness

  • +

    Excellent for presentations

  • +

    Good connectivity options

Cons

  • -

    Not portable

One-minute review

Boardroom projectors are never fun to work with, mostly because they can be tricky to set up properly when ambient light is around. The LG ProBeam BU50NST does away with this complexity by being possibly the brightest business projector we’ve reviewed yet. There’s no more fiddling to turn off lights or close blinds – the LG ProBeam BU50NST can tackle pretty much any boardroom lighting condition with ease.

It also excels as a very capable business projector, making short work of text-heavy presentations by displaying crisp lines of text no matter how close you are to the screen. Images and videos are also great to look at, as long as you keep your expectations in check.

The fairly small size of the LG ProBeam BU50NST means that it’s not too intrusive if it’s set up on your conference table, however a ceiling mount is certainly a worthy upgrade. On the downside, Its hefty weight doesn’t make it as portable, so you’ll most likely set this up in one room and keep it there.

A few things to keep in mind about the LG ProBeam BU50NST is that first and foremost it’s a business projector, so viewing high-quality images and video content comes with a stark loss of contrast. Color accuracy is just about acceptable, so for quick slideshows or video clips this projector will be fine, but if you’re thinking of setting this up anywhere as a temporary movie screening, you might walk away a bit disappointed. There’s also no VGA port here, which is a nod to how HDMI connectivity is becoming more of the norm, but if you’re in a scenario where VGA connections are the only ones available, you’ll be in for a bind.

Price and availability

The LG ProBeam BU50NST is available now, priced at AED 11,750.

That might seem like a hefty price tag to pay for a business projector, but the tech you’re getting in return is going to last a long time on a device that won’t struggle with the image and brightness downfalls of traditional lamp-driven projectors. Also keep in mind, that most 4K projectors with 5000 lumens will have a similar price tag.

Design

The design of the BU50NST is as muted as possible, with most of the body clad in pristine white plastic. Black accents in the front and back showcase the projector’s ventilation grilles, with a wheel on the left side for horizontal and vertical lens shift.

At the back you’ll find all the connections you’ll need – two HDMI 2.0b ports (one with HDMI-ARC support), two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, one Ethernet port, one HDBaseT port, and one RS-232C port. Typically on a business projector you’ll also see a VGA port, but LG has opted not to include one here – a gentle nod to the more modern acceptance of HDMI ports, but a bit of a problem if your existing setup only provisions for older VGA connections.

LG ProBeam BU50NST

(Image credit: LG)

There’s also a power button at the back that doubles as a navigation joystick to browse through menus and make selections, though of course you won’t be using it much since the bundled remote is far more efficient. It’s decently sized and allows you to easily change sources and settings with just a few button presses. We silently wish that this was more like LG’s magic remotes to make it faster to navigate through menus via gestures rather than physical buttons.

LG ProBeam BU50NST

(Image credit: LG)

The feet on the BU50NST are also adjustable, though they take quite a bit of effort to grip and rotate in place. It can of course, also be ceiling mounted with the appropriate mount – just make sure it’s capable of withstanding the projector’s nearly 10kg weight.

The BU50NST uses LG’s familiar WebOS system, which is cleanly organized and offers a few basic functions. While you won’t have the plethora of apps you’d normally see on an LG TV, the BU50NST does offer a basic web browser and that’s about it. There are tools to view music, videos, and photos from your local network, DLNA sources, or the USB ports. Everything else is down to whatever source you connect to it – be it a laptop or a streaming stick. 

Wireless streaming is also supported via Android devices natively, though iOS devices will have to use a third-party app to connect instead. We couldn’t get the projector to show up as a wireless display on our Windows 10 laptop, so you’ll have to make do with using an HDMI cable instead. Bluetooth connectivity is also supported, which will allow you to play audio through the projector’s speakers, or connect the projector wirelessly to a compatible speaker for better sound. 

Performance

It’s important to remember that the BU50NST is not a short-throw projector, so in order to get the best image, you’ll want to set the projector up quite far from the surface. LG says that the projection image can range from 40 to 300 inches, depending on the distance of the setup.

The question anyone would ask themselves is why would you want a 4K projector in your boardroom over a standard 1080p one? Well for starters, projectors like the BU50NST take much less time to start up (around 12 seconds), and are exceedingly bright. We were able to test the BU50NST out in a boardroom with the ceiling lights still on and sunlight streaming in from an adjacent window. Despite this, the projected image was bright and clear, and was easy to make out from all angles of the room. 

LG ProBeam BU50NST

(Image credit: LG)

To the naked eye you won’t be able to know what resolution you’re really looking at, but the 4K prowess of the BU50NST ensures that images and text is crisp and easy to read. The ‘Presentation’ mode on the projector was the brightest among the available presets, and its what we’d recommend using if you’re in a space with a lot of ambient light. This mode does play a bit of havoc with photorealistic images, as you’ll notice a bit of shifting with blue and reds if you look hard enough. The ‘Standard’ mode is a better option if you’re presenting a mix of content, as it balances overall brightness and image quality quite well.

The BU50NST excelled with presentations and even when displaying websites to scroll. Exploring large spreadsheets and graphs was similarly easy to present, and the BU50NST was more than capable of showcasing most of the typical content you would be presenting in an office environment. For testing purposes, we also ran some native 4K video content on the BU50NST, and we were fairly satisfied with the result. The overall contrast is a bit lacking for colorful scenes, which is exactly why you shouldn’t be tempted to snatch this projector up as a home-cinema replacement. The projector will also automatically detect HDR signals and present you with further options to tweak the image accordingly.

Outside of a boardroom, the BU50NST does have other great uses. It’s good for use in museums or exhibitions where you want to project information on a large screen or wall. It could also be used for medical purposes to showcase X-rays at a conference, though it’s far too expensive to be considered for use in a school classroom. Anywhere you may need a bright, capable projector, the BU50NST is ready to help out.

Buy it if…

You need a really bright projector
The BU50NST offers exceptional brightness levels that can adapt to almost any space, making it great for the boardroom or anywhere else you need a sharp image to be projected.

You want exceptional image quality
Text and images spring to life on the BU50NST, making it easy to follow along with any presentation.

Don’t buy it if…

You’ve got an outdated VGA setup
The BU50NST is a sign of the modern times, and hence has no VGA port. If your setup is prone to frequently connecting VGA devices, perhaps it’s time you upgraded that first.

You’re on a budget
The BU50NST is pricey for a reason – its features and image will outperform any 1080p projector on the market, so keep this in mind.

You want portability
There’s a considerable heft to this projector, making it hard to move around in an office. This is one of those cases where you set it up once, and forget about it.

Nick Rego
Nick Rego

A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys reviewing PC components, 3D Printers, projectors, and anything shiny and expensive. He can also be found baking up a storm in the kitchen, which we are more than happy to encourage.