AWOL LTV-3500 Pro Review: So Bright, So Expensive


Projectors can be a niche option for your living room, if only because they often require a lot of special care that typical TVs don’t—like a separate reflective screen, dark curtains or rooms with no windows, and complicated ceiling mount systems. The AWOL LTV-3500 Pro doesn’t eliminate those problems entirely, but it substantially shifts the balance of those trade-offs. That comes at a price, though.

The AWOL LTV 3500 Pro is a small upgrade over the LTV-3500 (7/10, WIRED Review), which I liked when I reviewed it in 2022. The newer version adds support for Dolby Vision and Control4 smart home integration, but is otherwise largely the same as the older model. (If you shop used, you might be able to find the original LTV-3500, but the Pro is what most retailers are selling now.)

Like its predecessor, the LTV-3500 Pro attempts to justify its price point by being the best it can be at absolutely everything. Since it’s a short-throw projector, it’s easy to set up by just putting it on an entertainment unit (although it can be mounted to a ceiling). It provides excellent, high contrast HDR picture quality, and it can project up to a 150-inch screen in full 4K clarity. If you’re going to spend this much on a projector, you may as well get your money’s worth.

Clarity in Broad Daylight

The most notable aspect of the LTV-3500 Pro is how impressively bright it is. The projector is rated at 3,500 ANSI lumens—for comparison, our high-end pick in our projector guide clocks in at only 2,700 lumens. In practical terms, that means I was able to see the image clearly even on the lowest brightness setting, and with ambient lights turned on.

In my testing, I would watch movies and play games in my living room, which has a large, sliding glass door that faces the sunrise. With the blinds fully open, the picture would be a little washed out, which is to be expected. However, with the blinds closed, even with significant light bleed from the windows spilling in around the sides of the blinds, I could comfortably watch shows or play games and almost forget that I wasn’t watching on a typical panel TV.

If anything, the brightness was almost too overwhelming. Once, while having a guest over, we sat talking on the couch in the evening. We paused the show we’d started watching on Netflix to chat and let it sit for a while. Then Netflix started to cycle through a slideshow of promos for its other shows, and when one with a predominantly white background appeared, it felt like an angel from heaven showed up, blasting our eyes with blinding light and telling us to be not afraid. Eventually, my guest asked me to simply turn the projector off.

I should note that I doubt this will be much of a problem for most people. I was using the projector in a rather small living room, and as such was likely sitting way too close to the screen for its size. Imagine sitting in the front row of a movie theater, for example. If you plan to put this in a small space, you might want to use the lowest brightness setting or position the projector to make the screen as small as possible. That leads us to the second most notable aspect of this projector.

Massive Screen, Minimal Space

Every time I had guests over, they would immediately ask the same question upon seeing the screen: “Where’s the projector?” Most projectors require mounting behind the couch or on the ceiling, but the LTV-3500 Pro sits directly on a typical TV stand—a feat that only one other projector in our Best Projectors guide can pull off—and projects an image straight up onto the wall.

How large the screen will be depends heavily on how far you can put the projector away from the wall—which, in my testing, was harder than it sounds. To get a 120-inch screen (the maximum is 150 inches), I had to put my entertainment unit about a foot away from the wall and then position the projector as far to the very edge of my entertainment unit as I could while still balancing it safely.



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By asm3a