Home Video Projector Review
July 18, 2013
Last month we published our review of the Optoma HD25, a sub-$1000 1080p DLP home theater projector with full 3D compatibility. The HD25 turned out to be a great value, but its limited light output constrained its use to darkened theaters and other low-light areas.
These days, a lot of folks are looking for a projector that can perform in areas with mild to moderate ambient light. The Optoma HD25-LV is a higher brightness version of their popular HD25 built for living room use. The HD25-LV costs a little bit more; it sells for $1299 while the HD25 currently retails for $949. However, that extra $350 gets you over double the light output of the smaller model, making the HD25-LV an excellent choice for dedicated 3D theater, living room use, video gaming, and exceptionally large screens.
The Viewing Experience
The HD25-LV is mostly the same as the HD25. The two projectors use the same body design, and it can be difficult to tell them apart at a glance. Once the projector starts up, though, the difference becomes obvious. The HD25-LV is much, much brighter.
When we tested the HD25, Bright mode on our test unit maxed out at 1185 lumens. That's plenty of light for a home theater projector, but not enough for living room use during the day. Bright mode on the HD25-LV measured 2420 lumens, or more than double the measured maximum of the HD25. This doubling of output continues across all of the projector's image modes, including Cinema which measured over 2300 lumens.
With that much light output, an 80" diagonal image in the living room looks brilliant, well-saturated, and high in contrast despite the presence of ambient light. As with any projector, black level suffers whenever there is ambient light in the room, but high light output preserves dynamic range and keeps the projected image from looking flat or dull.
Like the HD25, the HD25-LV has a manual 1.2:1 zoom lens with no lens shift and a fixed upward throw offset of 15%. As such, the simplest placement option is on a table. This is a good choice if you plan to make use of the HD25-LV's portability, since it is much more difficult to mount and dismount a projector from the ceiling.