Color modes and Calibration. The P2 offers similar color modes as the P1, beginning with six for 1080p/SDR (standard dynamic range) content: Cinema (the out of box default), HDR Sim (for simulating an HDR effect with SDR), Game, Reference, Bright , and User (which starts out mimicking the Cinema mode). The Bright mode comes with the usual green bias that makes it unsuitable for most serious viewing, though the tint was modest enough that it might be helpful for casual daytime viewing in bright rooms with lots of windows. There are dedicated modes that activate for HDR10 or HLG high dynamic range content and for 3D. All the modes provide the same access to picture tuning controls that include both RGB Gain/Bias for grayscale and a full RGBCMY color management system to align the color points. There's also a laser brightness setting that can be adjusted from the default 100% Brightness setting down to 50% brightness in 5% increments, or switched into any of three graduated DynamicBlack settings that deepen the blacks on dark content.
Although side-by-side comparisons of like-named modes on the P1 and P2 revealed differences in the each projector's tuning, my pecking order remained the same as with the P1. Reference was the most color accurate but least bright mode out of the box, making it most suitable for serious dark-room movie viewing, even on my 100-inch 0.6 gain USTALR screen. Cinema mode produced noticeably higher brightness for ambient light viewing with a modest sacrifice in color accuracy, and Game mode provided even more punch for high brightness but with much more saturated color and bluer whites that would be well-suited to games and animation but wiped out fine differences in caucasian skin tones in its default settings. I ended up using Reference and Cinema as my dark- and bright-room SDR modes, adjusting the Brightness (black level) and Color saturation controls as needed to insure the best contrast and skin tones.
I performed measurements on the P2 using Calman software from Portrait Displays, an Xrite i1Pro2 spectrophotometer, and a Murideo Six-G 4K/HDR signal generator. Out of the box, the Reference mode measured close to the industry-standard D65 color point but leaned a little red on its grayscale. Nonetheless, images took on an unexpected modest blue tint that proved to be the result of a well-oversatured and off-hue blue primary. Still, this mode calibrated well in the end and ultimately delivered a very neutral white and excellent color accuracy. With final settings I measured 16.1 foot-Lamberts off my 100-inch, 0.6 gain screen, which would translate to about 27 ft-Lon a same size 1.0 gain screen.
The Cinema mode defaults looked fine for bright room viewing where both contrast and color accuracy are less mission-critical. Measurements showed a bluer/cooler color temperature for white—not surprising for its higher brightness—and the same blue color point that needed correction. It too, calibrated up nicely and delivered a great-looking image for moderate to high ambient light. As measured in the dark, it punched out 20.1 ft-Loff my 0.6 gain, 100-incher (about 33 ft-Lon a 1.0 gain screen).
The HDR mode looked excellent out of the box, minus a bit of oversaturation of caucasian faces on most content that was tamed with a few clicks down on the Color control, plus the usual content-dependent tuning of Brightness (black level), Contrast (peak white), and the four-position HDR Brightness setting. The HDR Brightness control, which is easily accessible by pressing and holding the Menu button to call up a small slide-out menu, can be set to Detail, Film, Standard, or Bright. Detail provides the dimmest image for the darkest titles and Bright is for the hottest titles or for adding the most punch to bright highlights in HDR titles with average brightness. For most HDR movies I found the Standard setting preferable to the default Film setting; it usually lent more visceral punch while maintaining good contrast and without pushing the whites into blooming and creating a loss of detail in the highlights.
Calibrating HDR on a projector with instrumentation and calibration software is always a challenge because of the low peakwhite brightness compared with the flatpanels for which HDR (and the software) was designed—often around a tenth or less. So I wasn't suprised when a couple of attempts to calibrate the HDR mode resulted in a worse-looking image than what I started with. In the end I just left well enough alone and lived happily with the default HDR settings for grayscale and color points. In the default HDR settings, peak brightness measured 23.4 ft-Lor 80 nits off the 0.6 gain ALR screen. This would translate to about 39 ft-Lor 133 nits on a unity gain screen. Even on the ALR, it was more than enough for some very punchy and satisfying viewing in moderate to bright ambient light, though without much visible benefit from the nuance of HDR..
n side-by-side comparisons of the P2 to the P1, the P2 achieved a deeper native black that was obvious on dark content, though the projectors were a little more evenly matched with DynamicBlack activated. Beyond this, the key differences I saw were in the overall color balance in the default settings, where the P2 tended more toward a cooler blue in my preferred Reference and Cinema modes (perhaps a result of its oversaturated blue color point) and the P1 leaned warmer. Both projectors looked very good, though, and it was mainly in direct comparison that these differences became apparent. Most viewers would be happy watching either one. The P2's color balance and its whites, after calibration, were pretty much spot on. You can find my final settings in the Measurements section at the end of this review
SDR Viewing. I often go back to the well-saturated Blu-ray transfer of Apollo 13 to check for the neutrality of whites and the authenticity of familiar colors. Following my calibration of the P2's Reference mode, the white spacesuits worn by the astronauts and the lab coats of the technicians in the clean room where they prepared for their flight were superbly neutral and bright, while the metallic red, blue, and orange fasteners on the spacesuits gleamed and popped nicely off the screen. Ditto for the pure white dress worn by astronaut Jim Lovell's wife to the sun-lit launchpad gallery; it was punchy and bright with no noticeable hint of pink or blue, and the red trim around the lapel of her jacket and deep red accent on her white handbag were striking. Green foliage around the launchpad and the familiar red, white, and blue of the famous NASAinsignia all rang true.
HDR Viewing. I sampled a lot of movies in HDR on the P2 and I'm happy to say that, in virtually all instances, I preferred the 4K/HDR versions to the 1080p Blu-ray. That's not always the case because of the limited or poorly executed tone-mapping on many projectors. But the P2's HDR rendering, optimized as needed with adjustments as described above, looked very good on all but the very brightest content. The best example I can cite of the latter is The Meg, a movie which leans so hot that I've yet to find a projector that isn't tripped up by it on the default HDR settings. On the film's brightest scenes shot on the open ocean, most projectors can't even be adjusted to deliver images that aren't blown out to some degree. But HDR movies this challenging are rare, and only the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark, which offers a demanding HDR montage that can be set to play with peak brightness at various levels as high as 10,000 nits, is the only other disc currently in my collection that pushes a projector's limits this way. The P2 handled much of The Meg well, but struggled to provide a solid dark floor on its torture test scenes without also burying shadow detail and flattening the highlights. On the other hand, the projector handled some other atypically bright but less demanding titles, such as Aquaman, with better results.
I also observed that the rippled texture of the fabric of Mrs. Lovell's dress was easily visible through the projector's well-executed scaling and fine optics. Indeed, the cleanliness of images throughout the movie left a very positive impression of how well the P2 can resolve detail with well-photographed content, even when it's only in 1080p resolution (and with the menu's Sharpness control turned down from its default 10 to 3 to avoid obvious distortion). Details from the interiors of the various spacecraft, with their switches, displays, and warning lights were equally engaging.
3D Viewing. I found the default 3D mode on the P2 improved vs. the P1, with a slightly more neutral white but one that still leaned a smidge toward blue/cyan. I watched parts of Transformers: Age of Extinction and Pixels, two live action movies mixed with CGI. Both movies were sufficiently bright, saturated and punchy on their respective colorful robots or videogame villains, and reasonably color-accurate on real-life objects like fleshtones, green foliage, and the White House (in Pixels). Of course, there's only so much you can expect from 3D given the inherent limitations on brightness and the color shifting that takes place through the glasses, but the 3D mode on the P2 was more than acceptably bright and accurate, so 3D fans need not fear it. It also provides the same adjustments for grayscale and color calibration should you want to take that on.