Mis à jour le 8 June 2023.
The Leica Cine 1 projector is a DLP 4K ultra-short throw model equipped with a very bright (2,500 lumens) triple RGB laser. It benefits from a high-performance glass lens, the German manufacturer’s area of expertise, for a precise, detailed image. DTT, cable and satellite tuners, streaming services, HDMI and USB ports, Dolby Atmos sound… This high-end laser TV has all the necessary features to replace your living room TV. But, excellence has a price: with the 100” version available for €8,495, is the Leica Cine 1 really worth the money?
Leica Cine 1: packaging & accessories
Delivered in a bulky black cardboard box decorated with the famous red and white circular logo, the Leica Cine 1 comes with a power cable, an infrared remote control and a user manual.
Leica Cine 1: presentation
Co-created with Hisense, a leader in this field, this laser TV is equipped a high-performance glass lens, the German manufacturer’s area of expertise. The Leica Cine 1 also benefits from the proprietary Leica Image Optimization (LIO) image processing, benefiting from Leica’s many years of experience in digital image optimization.
This projector is equipped with a very bright triple RGB laser lamp that covers a wide color space. The manufacturer has announced 100% BT2020 coverage, the reference gamut for digital cinema projection, to ensure 4K HDR images with extremely realistic hues. The laser also offers great color stability during its entire lifespan, which is estimated to be approximately 25,000 hours.
Designed to replace the living room TV, the Leica Cine 1 is equipped with a DTT, cable and satellite tuner. Once connected to the internet, it can also access the main streaming services. The connectors include three HDMI ports to connect a 4K Blu-ray player as well as a game console and any other media player with an HDMI output. Its two USB ports can read multimedia files. Finally, this Leica projector incorporates a 2 x 25W soundbar that is compatible with Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Atmos audio tracks.
Leica Cine 1: key specifications
- 4K HDR projection
- Triple RGB laser
- High-quality glass lens
- Brightness: 2,500 lumens
- Image size: 100” (2.5m) at 30cm from the screen
- DTT, cable and satellite tuner
- Smart TV, 3 x HDMI, 2 x USB
- Dolby Atmos soundbar
- Dimensions (WxDxH): 600 x 378 x 149mm
- Weight: approx. 14.5kg
Leica Cine 1: configuration
We tested the 100” (2.54m) version of the Leica Cine 1 at the Son-Vidéo.com Nantes store. It is important to keep in mind that this projector has a fixed-focus lens that provides optimal sharpness and clarity for this screen size. There’s no need to try to move it closer or further away from the wall or screen to reduce or enlarge the image. This would result in a loss of sharpness.
As in the field of photography, in which Leica excels, the fixed-focus provides an acutance that is impossible to achieve with a zoom. The latter inevitably leads to chromatic distortion and many flaws in the image.
We placed the Leica Cine 1 – 100 projector on a NorStone Esse AV cabinet and positioned it at the foot of a Lumene Movie Palace UHD 4K Extra Bright projection screen. We used the PlayStation 5 as both a game console and a 4K Blu-ray player. It was connected to the projector with an Audioquest Carbon 48 HDMI cable.
A wired internet connection allowed us to access streaming services via the projector’s Vidaa Smart TV interface. Those who want to will also be able to you the built-in tuner (DTT, cable and satellite) by connecting the appropriate antennas to its dedicated ports.
When installing the projector, it is necessary to center it and to precisely adjust its height and distance from the screen for the picture to fit in the screen perfectly. Its feet are height-adjustable if you need to fine-tune the horizontal alignment of the projector in relation to the screen. In addition, you can then adjust the picture geometry via the dedicated menu. Those who don’t want to install a projection screen at home can project directly onto a wall, preferably painted white or gray. Ideally, it’s best to invest in a motorized ultra-short throw screen like the Lumene Eden Extra Bright 240C.
Leica Cine 1: impressions
As soon as it was unboxed, the German manufacturer’s commitment to excellence is evident in the Leica Cine 1, an exceptional device. Like the brand’s prestigious cameras, this model adopts a sleek design incorporating premium materials.
The chassis is made entirely of aluminum, the finish and assembly are flawless. The edges are completely perforated to allow the sound to be projected by the four built-in drivers, and to ensure optimum ventilation of the projector’s internal components.
Like the BenQ V7000i, a motorized protective cover is automatically retracted when the Leica Cine 1 is switched on. Once the projector is turned off, it slides back across to protect the lens. It’s very useful for protecting the lens from dust (less maintenance) and from inquisitive children!
The lens is made from very high quality glass, produced to strict specifications established by the manufacturer. The result is an image that’s surgically precise, with no imperfections of uniformity.
The remote control that comes with this projector is also made of aluminum. Unfortunately, the buttons don’t have backlighting.
Developed in collaboration with Hisense, the Leica Cine 1 4K projector has inherited the Vidaa operating system. Once connected to the internet, by cable or wirelessly, the projector can access the main streaming services, such as Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, Prime Video and Rakuten TV.
Navigation through the interface is smooth and responsive. The home page can be accessed directly from the dedicated button on the remote ( shaped like a house), as can the Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, Prime Video and Rakuten TV streaming apps, which also have their own direct access buttons.
The Leica Cine 1’s USB media player supports multiple video and audio file formats, in both HD and 4K HDR, with Dolby and DTS audio tracks. Folder-based browsing feels dated, but playback is smooth. Those with a video library stored on a NAS or computer and shared over their local network will benefit from using the Plex software installed by default on this projector.
4K HDR movies
The Leica Cine 1 projector can offer an exceptional visual experience, as long as you choose the right image mode. For 4K HDR, we opted for the Filmmaker mode, with a few adjustments. Developed in partnership with major Hollywood studios, this preset enables viewers to obtain an image quality that is true to the filmmakers’ intentions. The colors are particularly accurate. We then set the motion compensation function to “Film” mode. This effectively limits jerkiness on tracking shots without generating a “camcorder” effect.
Lastly, we reduced the laser brightness from 7.5 (default setting) to 6.5 to optimize the contrast and improve black depth.
First, we used the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark calibration disc to assess the projector’s visual potential. We were thrilled with its sharpness and precision, as well as its contrast, color and HDR performance. The result was so impressive that it was like watching a fantastic TV!
With the movie Top Gun Maverick on 4K HDR Blu-ray, the Leica Cine 1 blew us away. The image boasted staggering definition, with an acutance comparable to what a native Sony SXRD or JVC D-ILA 4K projector can offer! This is unprecedented for a DLP ultra short-throw projector. The quality of Leica’s lenses made all the difference here, guaranteeing perfect transmission of the light flux to the screen. The image was teeming with details and was incredibly sharp.
The colors were intense, rich and nuanced. The brightness gradations in snowy scenes attested to this projector’s excellent HDR management. The proprietary Leica Image Optimization (LIO) image processing demonstrated its effectiveness.
The contrast was remarkable, with deep blacks, a great palette of shades in the grayscale and sparkling highlights.
The only fault we can find with this projector is the apparition of rainbow effects for viewers who are sensitive to this phenomenon. This only occurred during very fast scenes and wasn’t systematic, but it is still noteworthy. The operating frequency of the triple laser, perhaps not high enough, probably has something to do with it.
HD 1080p to 4K upscaling
Good upscaling is essential for both projectors and 4K TVs in order to enjoy the best picture quality with standard definition (DVD) and HD (DTTV, Blu-ray). The Leica Cine 1 performed this task very efficiently.
We were able to observe this by inserting a Blu-ray of Skyfall into the PlayStation 5’s player, after setting the console’s HDMI output to 1080p. Without achieving the precision of a native 4K pressing, the image benefited from a clear improvement in definition. This was achieved without any blurred edges or artifacts on moving images. Textures were more realistic, whether it was the texture of the actors’ skin or the fabric of the various garments. Despite the SDR quality of the mastering on this HD Blu-ray, Sam Mendes’ film was projected with a highly dynamic image. The projector’s high contrast made it possible to take full advantage of both the outdoor chase scenes and the more introspective shots in the MI6 offices. The colors looked very natural on screen.
4K video games
The Leica Cine 1 is not specifically positioned in the gaming projector market, but rather in that of high-end home theater laser TVs. However, you can still play video games with this projector.
A few laps around the track of Gran Turismo 7 allowed us to fully appreciate the picture quality of this game. The manufacturer doesn’t provide any information about the input lag, but the smoothness and responsiveness were very acceptable. Consequently, this projector should therefore suit casual gamers who enjoy immersing themselves in their favorite games on a very large screen.
Dolby Atmos compatible, the 4 channel and 50-watt audio system of the Leica Cine 1 unfortunately didn’t manage to immerse us in a real sound bubble. Nevertheless, the soundtracks had great energy and no saturation, even at high volume.
The sound is fairly extensive in both width and height, but only in front of the audience. While there are no rear or side surround effects, there is effective verticality at the front, for example when Tom Cruise’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, AKA Maverick, begins a chandelle.
Leica Cine 1: compared to…
Released just over two years ago, the Samsung LSP9T is still just as appealing with its curved lines, wealth of features and great 4K HDR picture quality. However, the Leica’s lens give it far superior sharpness and clarity. The German model also wins in terms of contrast and HDR, with more dynamic images. Finally, we found colors to be more natural with the Leica Cine 1. All these differences easily justify the price difference between the two projectors.
While the Samsung projector’s 4.2 channel soundbar is more effective regarding spatialization, both models offer similar bass. Lastly, the Samsung LSP9T is more flexible, as it can be placed closer to or further away from the screen to project an image between 2.5 and 3.3m.
The Korean manufacturer’s flagship projects bright, high-contrast 4K images, ensuring effective management of HDR content. Although the LG HU915QE performs very well, it still falls short of the excellence of the Leica, whose lens gives 4K UHD images unrivalled precision. The Leica also offers better contrast, with deeper, more intense blacks.
The LG lacks the TV tuner and Dolby Atmos support. Barely less powerful, its audio section is just as energetic but confines itself to a frontal stereo image, with the Leica managing to offer an additional vertical dimension at the front. The LG projector makes up for this, however, with the ability to wirelessly connect two Bluetooth speakers for rear surround effects.
Lastly, those who are sensitive to the phenomenon will see a few rainbow effects with both of these projectors.
Leica Cine 1: who is it for?
The Leica projector will delight the most exacting home theater enthusiasts looking for a surgically precise 4K HDR image. They’ll also be impressed by the richness and accuracy of the colors produced by this excellent ultra-short throw projector.
Leica Cine 1: conclusion
It’s hard not to be won over by the image quality offered by the Leica Cine 1. By equipping its projector with high-quality lenses, the German manufacturer has graced us with a level of image precision never before seen in an ultra-short-throw projector. Color reproduction is also remarkable, with very natural, rich hues. Finally, HDR content management also proves to be of a very high standard, with the Leica proving just as comfortable at clearing blacks while preserving their depth as it is at offering bright, nuanced highlights.
Those who think that an ultra-short throw DLP projector can’t offer image quality comparable to that of a native 4K projector such as a Sony SXRD or JVC D-ILA might well change their mind!
- The picture definition and sharpness
- The rich and vivid colors
- The HDR management
- The HD to 4K upscaling
- The smooth Vidaa interface
We would have liked
- For there to have been no rainbow effect
- Backlighting on the remote control
- A more affordable price