4K Projector Shootout:

Optoma UHD60 vs Vivitek HK2288

Evan Powell, November 17, 2017

Prices of 4K projectors have been falling rapidly. When we first looked at the the Optoma UHD60 and the Vivitek HK2288 three months ago, they were both selling for $1999, and at that price they were the least expensive 4K projectors on the market. At this writing the UHD60 has dropped to $1,799, the HK2288 is at $1499. And the ViewSonic PX727-4K (using the new 0.47" DLP chipset) is at $1299, and currently the least expensive of the 4K projectors.

The Optoma UHD60 and the Vivitek HK2288 both use the 0.66" DLP chipset. So they go head to head as the least expensive of the 4K projectors with this particular light engine. Though there is no visible difference in image detail or resolution between the 0.66" chip and the 0.47" chip, the larger chip enables engineers to design for higher light output. It also gives the designer some flexibility to achieve higher contrast as they work with trade-offs between lumen output and contrast.

The UHD60 and HK2288 each have distinct advantages over the other and they each have a few flaws. We will sort these issues out and let you decide which of these two 4K projectors sounds the most appropriate for you.

Optoma UHD60 vs Vivitek HK2288

Optoma UHD60                              Vivitek HK2288

Brightness. The Optoma UHD60 is rated at 3000 lumens while the Vivitek HK2288 is rated at 2000 lumens. In practical use the UHD60 does appear brighter in side by side comparison, particularly with 4K HDR source material.

Both projectors have an exceptionally bright factory calibration that is decidedly green in tint and for the most part useless for video presentation unless you don't mind a green picture. On the UHD60, this green/bright mode is called Bright, and on the HK2288, you get it via the factory default settings in the User mode. Though these modes put out sufficient light to get close to their official lumen ratings, you get a lot better picture quality on both projectors by cutting down the lumen output in exchange for better color balance.

Both projectors have a selection of precalibrated color modes with varying lumen output. With lamps on their respective full power settings and the zoom lenses at their widest angle positions, our test samples yielded the following lumen measurements:

Optoma UHD60 ANSI Lumens


Vivitek HK2288 ANSI Lumens


Lamp Modes. The Vivitek HK2288 has a "Default" lamp power mode which corresponds to the Eco mode on most other projectors in that it is the least bright option. You have the option to select "Boost" in the menu to increase lumen output by 33%.

The Optoma UHD60 has a single Eco mode which reduces light output by 37%. Eco mode becomes an option when Dynamic Black is turned off. On our test unit there was a persistent flicker in Eco mode, indicating the light source or power supply did not like being run at that level. The picture is stable in Bright mode.

Zoom lens light loss. The UHD60 has a 1.6x zoom lens that loses 26% of the projector's maximum light potential when set to the telephoto end. Very similarly, the HK2288 has a 1.5x zoom lens that loses 20% of its light at the telephoto end. So if you want to maximize light output, try to install these projectors close enough to the screen that you are using the wider angle end of the zoom range.

Contrast in SDR. The UHD60 has a rating of 1,000,000:1 contrast, while Vivitek's latest rating on the HK2288 is 100,000:1. Contrast ratings tend to be highly misleading. Some might look at these numbers and imagine that the UHD60 is "ten times" the contrast of the HK2288, which practically speaking is nonsense since visibly subtle differences in black level can have a huge impact on contrast ratios.

However, in side by side viewing with comparable calibration modes, the UHD60 does in fact show a noticeable advantage in contrast when viewing SDR material. The picture looks slightly sharper and it has greater image depth (more three dimensionality) due to the higher contrast advantage.

HDR performance. The quality and balance of HDR pictures varies on both projectors based on the source. From a lumen output perspective they are comparable. However, the HK2288's HDR contrast is more competitive with the UHD60, and at times exceeds it depending on the disc. On several, but not all discs, color saturation tends to appear overdriven on the UHD60 and weak on the HK2288. But we've also got an HDR disc that, prior to adjustments, plays both higher in contrast and saturation on the HK2288 than on the UHD60.

The bottom line is that when it comes to HDR, both projectors typically benefit from contrast, brightness, and saturation adjustments to accommodate each individual disc. The good news is that you can get very solid high contrast, well balanced HDR pictures from both of these projectors as long as you're up for some fiddling with the picture adjustments. This is not the fault of either projector, but the non-standardized output levels of the sources. And once you've got the pictures dialed in, they deliver a riveting, deeply engaging video experience, so it is worth the effort to tweak them up to optimum HDR performance for each source and disc.

Color Balance. Neither of these projectors are perfectly calibrated coming out of the box. The default calibration on the UHD60's Cinema mode is biased toward yellow/green. Meanwhile the Movie mode on the HK2288 is biased toward blue. Both are certainly watchable without adjustment, but they can both be easily adjusted to produce a more neutral and accurate color picture.

The menu indicators regarding color temperature on both projectors need to be taken with a grain of salt. On the UHD60, D65 (while in the ballpark) must not be assumed to be an accurate D65. On the HK2288, the "color temperature" options of Warm, Normal, and Cool are in reality varying degrees of cool (on our test unit at any rate); even the Warm setting (the default in all color modes) is biased toward blue and does not look like anything we'd call warm. However, Normal and Cool are definitely cooler than Warm.

If you don't want to invest in a professional calibration, you may be able to make a couple simple tweaks to compensate for some of the color bias that will get you by. On our test sample of the UHD60, moving Blue gain/bias to +1 and Green Gain/bias to -2 helps neutralize the yellow/green tint. On the HK2288, moving Red gain from the default of 93 to 96, and Yellow gain from 95 to 97 tends to remove the blue bias. With these adjustments the two projectors look virtually identical in terms of color balance. Since these are easy adjustments to experiment with, you can try them on your projector to see if they result in more natural flesh tones and neutral color balance. If you don't like the changes you make you can always reset them to factory defaults and start over, but it is always a good practice to write down where the settings are before you begin to make changes to them.

Image Sharpness. We see somewhat different optical performance from these lenses. On the UHD60, the lens is very sharp in the middle two-thirds of the image, and tends to soften somewhat toward the sides and corners. However, the subjective viewing experience is one of a very sharp image since the eye rarely focuses on the sides or the corners of a big screen image; even when it does the softness is subtle enough that it does not look blurred in typical video material. The focus issue is mostly detectable when viewing a test pattern, a still graphic, or a financial spreadsheet.

Conversely, on the HK2288, the image is more uniformly in focus across the entire screen. However, it is not as razor sharp as the UHD60 is in the middle two-thirds of its picture. Since the eye tends to spend most of its time focused on the center of a projected image and very little focused on the corners, the UHD60's incremental sharpness in the middle portion of the image causes the picture to look sharper overall. In addition, the higher contrast of the UHD60 contributes to the impression of a sharper image as well.

Brightness Uniformity. The HK2288 performs better on this metric. With the lens at wide angle, uniformity is very good 79%, and at the telephoto end it increases to a solid 87%. Meanwhile, the UHD60 comes in at 64% at the wide angle end, and 74% at the telephoto end.

Variations in brightness uniformity are typically only seen on solid white, gray, or single color test patterns. When viewing a solid white 100 IRE test image, there is no noticeable fading on the HK2288; it looks quite uniform across the screen. On the other hand, the UHD60 image fades somewhat along the sides. One tends not to notice this in film/video projection because (a) the eye tends to focus on the center of the image, and (b) you typically are not aware of what the relative brightness of the picture should be at the edges, so you don't interpret some modest fading at the edges as unusual. The fading at the edges is not enough to create a visible vingetting effect.

Input Lag: The UHD60 has an input lag of 63 ms with Dynamic Black on and 56 ms with Dynamic Black off. The HK2288 measured 62 ms.

Fan noise. The UHD60 has an audible noise rating of 28 dB compared to 35 dB on the HK2288. These specs reflect a real difference in fan noise, which is quiet on the UHD60 and more noticeable on the HK2288 when Boost is active for higher light output. However the HK2288's fan noise is very low in frequency compared to many other projectors. This makes the noise much less obtrusive than most other projectors with dB ratings in the 30's. When Boost is turned off, fan noise drops to a low and unnoticeable level, comparable to the UHD60.

Rainbow artifacts. The HK2288 has the edge here, with rainbows being virtually non-existence due in part to the RGBRGB color wheel. The UHD60 has an RGBCY wheel, and one may see rainbows on occasion with this configuration. Personally, I see them when testing with a moving test pattern designed to reveal them, but when viewing typical film/video, they are scarce and don't rise to the level of a distraction. Some people never see rainbow artifacts, some see them on occasion and are not bothered by them, some find them distracting.

On board Audio. The UHD60 has two 4W speakers mounted in the rear of the unit. The HK2288 has a single 10W speaker mounted on the side. The UHD60's audio is much louder and has better bass range, generally about the best audio we've heard from a projector. The HK2288's audio is functional if you need to hear a sound track, but less robust and comparatively thin. For serious home theater, neither would be a good option for permanent use. If you don't want to go for the full surround system, then consider an external sound bar.

Lamp Life. At the moment, Optoma is representing that the UHD60 will get 4000 hours in full power mode, 10,000 hours in eco, and 15,000 hours in Dynamic Black mode. That is notably longer life than Vivitek is quoting -- 3000 hours in its brightest (Boost) mode, and 5000 hours in Default.

Replacement lamps. A new lamp for the UHD60 is currently priced at $199, and a new lamp for the HK2288 is $319.

Warranty. The Optoma UHD60 comes standard with a 2 year warranty. The Vivitek HK2288 comes standard with a 3-year warranty.

Final Thoughts

Buy the Optoma UHD60 online here:

Buy the Vivitek HK2288 online here:

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