Road Test: DELL 4K Laser Projector S718QL

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M. David Stone, November 29, 2017

Dell S718QL Advanced 4K Laser Projector

DELL Advanced 4K Laser Projector


Lumens: 5000     Resolution: 3840x2160

Price: $5,999.99

What the Dell S718QL is designed for:

It is ideal for:

  • Mid-to-large size conference rooms and higher-ed classrooms that need an ultra short throw (UST) and 4K UHD resolution (3840x2160).

It is also good for:

  • Signs and displays in retail venues or museums and the like

  • Sports bars

What the Dell S718QL gives you:

Dell Advanced Laser 4K Projector S718QL

Ports and wireless connections

Physical attributes. The ports, power connector, Kensington lock slot, and intake vents are on the front panel, meaning the side facing the screen. The security bar is on the bottom of the projector, near the front panel, close to the right side as seen from the front. The exhaust vents are on the left and right panels. The two 6-watt stereo speakers are on the back, facing towards the viewing area. The window that serves as a lens is on top, in a recessed area near the back panel.


Lab Tests: What the Meters Say

Brightness. The measured ANSI lumens are as follows:


Low Lamp Mode. Eco mode is roughly 81% as bright as Normal mode.

Presentation Optimized Lumens. Bright color mode with its default settings delivers vibrant color for documents and graphic images along with realistic color for many photos. That makes it the Presentation Optimized mode for most purposes. Even Eco mode's 4032 lumens delivers more than enough brightness to stand up to moderate ambient light at the maximum 130" diagonal image size.

Video Optimized Lumens. For best color accuracy for video and film, Presentation mode with adjustments is bright enough in Normal power mode--at 2679 lumens--for a 130" diagonal image in moderate ambient light.

Zoom Lens Effect on Brightness. As is typical for UST projectors, the S718QL has no optical zoom, so there's no telephoto setting that can curtail light

Brightness Uniformity. The S718QL's measured 72% brightness uniformity is typical for UST projectors. The variation in brightness across the screen is enough to see on a solid white image as a broad center swath that's brighter than both the left and right sides. However, it drops off gradually enough that it is hard to see with any text, graphics, or photo that breaks up the field of view.

Input Lag. The input lag is 97 ms in all predefined color modes.

Setting up the Dell S718QL

Throw distance. Measured from the front of the projector, throw distance ranges from just under 4 inches for the minimum 100" diagonal image to just under 9 inches for the maximum 130" image. Image sizes smaller or larger than the supported range are possible, but can have problems with geometry and focus. The 0.19 throw ratio is based on the location of the lensing system window, which is roughly 12.5" farther from the screen than the front. The Projection Calculator will give you the throw-distance for the image size you want, based on the distance from the window.

Mounting. The simplest way to set up the S718QL is on a table in front of and just below the screen. However, you can also put it in wall mount above the screen, on its left or right side in portrait orientation on a table or in a mount, or facing straight up to project an image on a ceiling. This translates to significant flexibility for setting up displays and signs.

With the projector sitting on a table, the bottom of the image is roughly 18% of the image height above the lensing system window.

Special UST considerations. As with any ultra short throw projector, the S718QL is best paired with a high quality screen that's tensioned or otherwise engineered to be as flat as possible to avoid obvious distortion in the image. Ambient light rejection (ALR) screens also have to be designed for UST projectors, since the light from the projector is hitting the screen at an angle that standard ALR screens are designed to avoid reflecting to viewers.

Dell S718QL 4K Laser Projector installed

Our take on the Dell S718QL

The Dell S718QL is the only current 4K projector with both 3840x2160 resolution and an ultra short throw, making it a truly unique choice at this writing and a solid value at a retail of $5,999. The S718QL is meant primarily for extreme high resolution business presentations and is designed to look good sitting on a credenza in a conference room. Adding a wall-mounted screen just above it and only four to nine inches away will give you a finely detailed 100" to 130" diagonal image. The ultra short throw lets you stand close to the screen without casting shadows, and the 5,000 ANSI lumen brightness lets it stand up to a high level of ambient light.

The Dell S718QL delivers vibrant color for graphics at full brightness and acceptably accurate, nicely saturated color for video and film at a somewhat lower brightness. We saw no rainbow artifacts when viewing graphics or text documents. We noticed the occasional flashes of rainbow artifacts with video/film material, though they're infrequent enough that even those who are bothered by them shouldn't find them annoying in video presentation use.

Dell points out that the S718QL's HDR mode is really HDR compatible rather than true HDR. Dark scenes with HDR input are so dark overall that shadow detail tends to get lost even when viewing in a dark room. However, this is primarily a limitation of projector technology in general rather than a problem with the S718QL.

Very much on the plus side, the sealed optical system offers a 20,000-hour lifetime and 24/7, maintenance-free operation. That's a welcome convenience in a conference room or classroom. It also makes the S718QL a strong candidate for heavy duty use in venues ranging from sports bars to signs and displays in retail locations and museums.

Also helping for many applications is the flexibility for mounting in portrait orientation or facing up at a ceiling and --for almost any application--the motorized focus that lets you stand far enough away from the image to see the entire screen at once as you adjust focus and keystone. This makes setup far easier than with most UST models, which force you to focus manually while only a foot or so from the screen.

With its impressive constellation of features--ultra short throw, 3840x2160 resolution, 5,000 ANSI lumens, vibrant color, 24/7 maintenance-free operation, a 20,000-hour rated life for the laser, and more--the Dell Advanced 4K Laser S718QL easily earns our Road Test Certified award. Along with being a unique, and solid, value, it is a strong candidate for any conference room, classroom, sports bar, or display or signage application that needs an ultra short throw and 4K resolution.

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