Though probably better known for making some of the best laptops on the planet, ASUS’s extensive consumer tech catalog also features a trove of high-end displays, including the new ASUS H1, a 1080p DLP projector with an LED light source rated to 3000 lumens of brightness. I had the opportunity to test the H1 for a few weeks and see whether it was a good fit for my brightly lit apartment in Queens. (Spoiler alert: It was.)
Setup and Design
Although it feels like there are about ten billion screens scattered throughout my apartment, not one of them is a projector. That being the case, I was a little worried about the initial setup process—so much so, I did something I never do: read the instruction manual. Turns out my fears were largely misplaced, since setting up the projector was fairly straightforward. I connected the H1 to my Sony PS5 via the supplied HDMI cable, plugged the projector into a power source, and I was good to go. The H1 offers just about every connectivity option you can hope for, but I opted for the PS5 hookup so that I could also test its gaming bona fides (more on that later).
Now, talking about the H1’s design: I am a proud owner of several ASUS ROG laptops, so I’ve come to expect a certain level of aesthetic excellence from all ASUS products. I’m happy to say the H1 lived up to those lofty expectations. I gave the projector its own small table in my open-concept living room and thought its placement fit really well with the rest of the decor: not too big, not too flashy. The H1 is sleek; it’s minimalistic. Not quite inconspicuous, but it blends well. As far as aesthetics go, I was very pleased.
Image Size and Quality
For many people, the most appealing feature of a projector is the large image size. “Cinema experience” projectors routinely offer massive screens that even the biggest “big-screen” TVs can’t top. The ASUS H1, for example, allows you to project an image up to 200". I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Long Island City, so obviously that wasn’t going to happen, but I was able to comfortably project a screen that was twice the size of my largest TV.
One of the things that caught me off guard about the H1 was how quickly I fell in love with watching movies on such a big screen. In retrospect, it makes sense. As a former avid movie-goer who has spent the better part of the last 14 months locked away inside my apartment, being able to watch something on a big screen again was such an enjoyable experience. It really made me feel like I was back in a theater again—something I sorely missed.
But how was the image quality?
Despite my apartment’s abundance of windows and ambient light, the H1 projector performed very well under most conditions. As you might imagine, the picture quality was best at night, when ambient light was at a minimum. My apartment gets very dark when the sun goes down, so around nine o’clock I would cut the lights, close the blinds, and fire up the H1. Under those conditions, the image clarity, color vibrancy, and brightness really made the picture quality look great. Some of the movies I watched (e.g., the Hobbit trilogy and Bladerunner 2049) just jumped off the screen. They looked fantastic.
Now, when there was more ambient light in my apartment, the H1’s image quality wasn’t at the same level. Contrast ratio is somewhat of a hotly contested spec, so I won’t put too much emphasis on the fact that the ASUS H1 has what would be considered (by some) to be a fairly pedestrian 800:1 contrast ratio. Instead, I will say that despite the H1’s high 3000 lumens count, the picture would sometimes look a little washed out—depending on the amount of ambient light and the content itself. Thankfully, the H1 is stacked with adjustable settings and viewing modes, so you can improve the image quality manually. Your best picture is still going to be at night, but with a little tweaking and color calibration, you can make it work during the day.
One final thing to mention is that, despite its solid image quality, the ASUS H1 doesn’t offer HDR support, nor can it project images at a resolution higher than 1080p—so no 4K output. You can run 4K video to it via HDMI, but its native resolution is 1920 x 1080, so what you see on your screen will max out at Full HD.
Good for Gaming
While it is first and foremost a home theater projector, ASUS also promotes the H1 as a projector that is “locked and loaded for next-gen console gaming.” Specifically, ASUS highlights the H1’s 120 Hz refresh rate as a key feature for “ultra-smooth” gaming on the new PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles. On paper, those claims seem warranted, as both the PS5 and Xbox Series can push out visuals up to 120 Hz. But does looking good on paper translate to optimal real-world performance? In the case of the H1, the answer is yes.
To measure how well the H1 performed as a gaming projector, I connected it to my PS5 and played Destiny 2 at 60 Hz and 120 Hz (Crucible only) and Call of Duty at 60 Hz, which is the current max refresh rate for PS5 players. Both the games I tested are fast-moving first-person shooters (FPSs), so the ideal display would need to minimize motion blur and maintain clear visuals. The H1 projector did both exceedingly well. Even when I was using my fastest character build in Destiny 2 (Top Tree Dawnblade with Transversive Steps), I didn’t notice any motion blur as I zipped around Crucible maps. Even as someone whose regular gaming setup includes a 27" gaming monitor with a 144 Hz refresh rate, I was very impressed.
Along with the high refresh rate, the H1’s 3000 lumens of adjustable brightness also helped optimize my gaming experience, because I was able to fine-tune the level of visual detail in each game. If you’re someone who doesn’t like messing around with display settings, the H1 does feature several different optimized viewing modes, including one for gamers, which will serve you fairly well. The gaming mode, in particular, is a solid starting point. However, I did still need to adjust some of the levels to get the picture just right, which, thankfully, I was able to do.
Considering this was the first time I’ve ever installed and used a home theater projector in my apartment, I really feel like I lucked out. Not only did the ASUS H1 deliver the cinema experience I’ve been missing, it performed well as a gaming projector, which is another passion of mine. If you’re not someone who cares about gaming, I still think the ASUS H1 is a good home theater solution. However, I would once again point out that the H1 doesn’t support 4K resolution or HDR, so if that’s something you’re looking for, you might consider other options. Otherwise, the ASUS H1 is a very good projector that will serve your home entertainment needs well for years to come.
For technical information about the ASUS H1 projector, including highlighted features and detailed specs, please visit the product information page.
And if you have any questions or comments about the ASUS H1 projector, or projectors in general, please drop us a line in the Comments section, below.