Review: AWOL’s latest UST projector delivers incredible bright and vivid images [Video]

UST or ultra-short throw projectors offer an interesting take as an alternative to large traditional TVs. While I’ve tried a few, the AWOL LTV-3500 is the first time I’ve actually thought this could replace a TV. That probably is mostly to do with the 3500 peak lumens that this UST projector can put out combined with an ALR screen, but the colors are also almost startlingly vivid for a projector. The Indiegogo campaign is in full swing and offers some deep discounts off of the MSRP. Be sure to hit the video below and see all of the details. 

AWOL LTV-3500: Quick specs

  • 4K UHD
  • HDR10+
  • 80-150” projection size
  • 3500 Lumens
  • 36W stereo speakers
  • 107% of Red. BT.2020
  • 30ms input lag game mode (4k 60Hz)
  • 25,000 hour lifespan
  • $3,299 pre-order ($6,000 MSRP)

Design overview

Compared to the Wemax Nova UST projector that we reviewed recently, the AWOL is a bit of a tank. While not as beefy as the XGIMI Aura, the AWOL LTV-3500 weighs 27lbs and measures 23.6 x 14 x 5.7 inches. 

As I noted in my Nova review, it’s actually kind of nice to have a bigger, heavier UST projector as it doesn’t get bumped as easily. Any time the project is bumped it can throw off the image and need to be readjusted. As someone who is plugging in and unplugging things often to test them, that can be a hassle. 

Design-wise, the AWOL LTV-3500 has a modern design that is a bit more outspoken than the Wemax, but it doesn’t look as outlandish as some other UST projectors. It doesn’t look like a simple center channel speaker like the XGIMI Aura, it looks more like a printer or other larger digital appliance.

AWOL LTV-3500: Video

Inputs and outputs

  • 3 HDMI ports, 2 eARC
  • 2 USB 2.0
  • 1 LAN
  • 1 S/PDIF output
  • 1 AV In

Since the LTV-3500 doesn’t have any smart TV capabilities, AWOL designed a compartment in the back to house a streaming stick like a Roku or Fire Stick. It also has a USB port to supply power and worked perfectly with my Roku Streaming Stick+

Seting up the AWOL LTV-3500: Quick specs

Setting up a UST projector can be a bit tedious, but once it’s set, it shouldn’t need much adjustment. On the bottom of the projector are four adjustable feet to fine-tune the stance of the projector to get an even image. 

In an ideal setup, the projector and screen would be perfectly aligned to project into a screen, but if that’s not possible the Awol projectors have an eight-point image correction tool to dial in the picture. 

First Start-up

One note here – I’ve tried a couple of UST projectors in the past, but this is the first time that the brightness and color has really impressed me. And it starts with the first start-up of the projector. A bright white screen with a colorful AWOL logo took me by surprise and did the same with my wife.

ALR Screen

Another huge part of this setup that I have is the ALR screen from Awol. ALR (Ambient Light Rejecting) screens employ a special design to absorb light coming from above the screen while directing light coming from the projector underneath out towards the viewer. If you’ve used a projector in a room on a white wall or bare white screen and turned on some lights, the washed-out effect is easy to see on a plain surface. If you want to read up more on ALR screens, Benq has a nice explanation here

There are a variety of different screens available from AWOL. Along with the projector, AWOL sent the ALR C-100. This screen is a cinematic grey with a 0.6dB gain and a wide viewing angle. 

In an over-simplified explanation, gain refers to how much light from the projector is bounced back. So a 1.0dB screen would reflect all light and retain the same brightness, while the .6dB gain on this screen reduced the brightness on the screen. What it does offer, though, is a more cinematic picture with vivid color and contrast. There are benefits and detriments to both high gain and low gain screens. It just depends on what you need for your viewing situation.

How does it look?

This combo of projector and screen delivers an incredibly bright and vivid image. Saturation sometimes takes me by surprise, especially when in the Roku menu. And thanks to that ALR screen, this saturation is even impressive when all of the lights are turned on in my basement where I have the screen set up. It’s truly an impressive image.

While I’m not using the projector in a brightly lit living room, I am blown away by what it can do. AWOL also offers an ALR daylight screen that has a 1.1dB peak gain. High gain screens offer a different viewing experience, which is described in that article from Benq, but this could be a great option for those looking to use the projector in a bright room. 

A pocket in the back hides a streaming stick.

AWOL LTV-3500: In-Use

My experience so far has been great with the LTV-3500. I’ve tried a few UST projectors in the past, but this combination is the first time I’ve actually seen it as a TV alternative. Though I am using it in a basement and not in a completely day-lit living room, I can have all of the lights on and still see a vivid picture with rich blacks that don’t appear washed out. 

While in some instances having a projector with built-in Android TV can be convenient to use with a single remote, I often find the experience limited. Some projectors in the past didn’t work well with Netflix, for instance. Because of that, adding our own streaming device like the Roku has made viewing relatively seamless. 

Menus on the projector are fast and snappy, and the remote offers plenty of functionality to change inputs, tweak color, and make other image adjustments like enabling the game mode. 

30ms of input lag is noticeable when playing FPS games like Destiny 2 on my Xbox Series X, but it’s great for more casual games. I love playing Forza Horizon 5 on this display thanks to the bright image and vivid colors. The gameplay is also silky smooth at 4K 60Hz. 


Like many UST projectors, the AWOL LTV-3500 has built-in 36W speakers. And while that can definitely fill a room with sound, with an image this size, I would highly recommend a dedicated audio system. One easy way to get great audio without running additional wires is the wireless Enclave Audio CineHome II. 

9to5Toys’ Take

AWOL is delivering a great projector with the LTV-3500. And when combined with an ALR screen and a sound system, it makes for a great cinematic viewing experience. The bright and vivid image took me by surprise when I first started the projector up and continues to impress me in a variety of lighting situations. Though there are more affordable options out there, the AWOL LTV-3500 is the first time I’ve really considered a UST projector a replacement for a standard TV panel. 

Buy AWOL LTV-3500

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