1080p DLP 3D Home Theater Projector
August 25, 2011
The HD33 is a stellar product for the money, but it's not perfect. The notable limitations of the projector are as follows:
Placement flexibility. The HD33 only has a 1.2:1 lens and no lens shift. The lens has a fixed upward throw offset of 7%, so the bottom edge of the image will appear 7% of the image's height above the lens centerline. This mild angle is ideal for table mounting, while those with high ceilings might require a drop tube before the projector can be ceiling mounted properly (i.e. without using keystone adjustments). While there is nothing inherently wrong about a fixed lens or a short zoom range, many inexpensive projectors now offer longer zooms, and some even feature lens shift. This makes placement more difficult than it would otherwise be.
No gamut adjustments. Grayscale adjustment on the HD33 is a snap. Gamut, on the other hand, cannot be adjusted. To its credit, the HD33's default gamut is not completely off in left field, but there is some room for improvement. What color gamut tells us is how well the projector can interpret color data; when a signal calls for 100% red, the color it feeds back is defined in what is called a lookup table, or LUT. These LUTs can be adjusted to provide more accurate color, giving you the exact experience that the director had in mind. An inaccurate gamut does not mean that the projector necessarily looks bad, merely that it does not adhere to the standard.
Remote Control. The HD33 has no hardwired control panel, so all adjustments must be made through the remote. The remote is small and feels good in the hand, but everything goes to pot when you try to use it in a dark room. The backlight, a strong blue, is so bright that it wipes out the viewer's dark vision almost instantaneously. What's more, the buttons themselves are labeled with pictograms with printed words underneath. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to read the printed words and the symbols don't make a lot of sense. Once you learn the layout, the remote becomes less of a concern, but it is annoying at first.
Light output. Cinema mode on the HD33 does not suffer for lack of light; in fact, it's one of the brightest Cinema modes we've seen in quite some time. However, when a projector claims to produce 1800 lumens and we then measure all of the preset modes at less than 1200, it is disappointing--especially when other projectors in this price range make the same claim but actually deliver.