4K Projector Shootout:

Optoma UHD60 vs Vivitek HK2288

Evan Powell, November 17, 2017

NOTE: This preliminary review is not complete, but we are posting what we've got so far prior to the Thanksgiving break in response to the emails asking for info on these two popular models.

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The Optoma UHD60 and the Vivitek HK2288 are both 4K home theater projectors using the 4K UHD DLP chip and priced at $1999. So they go head to head as the least expensive of the 4K projectors currently on the market. They each have distinct advantages over the other and they each have flaws and weaknesses. We will sort out these issues 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

MODE
Bright
Eco
Cinema
1260
795
Vivid
1591
1002
HDR
1021
643
Bright
2710
1707
Game
1525
961
Reference
515
325


Vivitek HK2288 ANSI Lumens

MODE
Boost
Default
Movie
1108
830
Presentation
1171
878
Day
1218
913
Night
1202
901
User
1912
1435

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 lamp 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 way 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-standard output 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. The projector reminds you of this every time it flashes a signal status message in the lower right corner -- when perfectly focused to razor sharp in the center that status message will look a bit out of focus.

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 much better on this metric. With the lens at wide angle, uniformity is 79%, and at the telephoto end it increases to a very solid 87%. Meanwhile, the UHD60 turns in a rather poor 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. The good news is that one tends not to notice this in film/video projection for two reasons. First, the eye tends to focus on the center of the image rather than the sides. Second, you typically are not aware of what the relative brightness of the picture should be at the edges, so you don't notice or interpret some modest fading at the edges as unusual.

Input Lag: When we initially measured the UHD60 it registered an input lag of 63 ms on a 1080p signal in all modes including Game with Dynamic Black on. A retest yesterday showed it at 56 ms with Dynamic Black off. The HK2288 measured 62 ms. We do not have measurements for input lag with a native 4K signal, but viewing the two projectors side by side in 4K shows that they refresh essentially in unison, so one does not show more significant lag than the other in 4K.

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 relatively quiet on the UHD60 and more noticeable on the HK2288 when Boost is active for higher light output. However it is important to note that 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

We are not done testing and this review is not complete. Our XBox One X is misbehaving, and we have not been able to exercise these units with gaming source material. We've also got more testing to do with HDR to figure out exactly how they are responding and defaulting to changes in signal format since the signal status reporting on both of these projectors is not very good. But due to the email we've received asking for comments on these two very hot 4K projectors, this is being published in order to give you what we've got so far.

Buy the Optoma UHD60 online here:




Buy the Vivitek HK2288 online here:

 

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