Review: Optoma HD91
LED 1080p Home Theater Projector
March 26, 2014
Light output. Compared to competing home theater projectors the HD91 isn't very bright. The projector's calibrated Cinema mode measured only 517 lumens, and using the telephoto end of the zoom lens can reduce light output to as little as 278 lumens. These days, it's not uncommon to see Cinema modes in the 800-1000 lumen range. Since the HD91 has much lower brightness than these other projectors, it is important to mount the projector carefully in such a way that you minimize use of the zoom lens. If you cannot do this, you'll need to use a smaller screen to keep image brightness up. This is especially important if you plan to watch a significant amount of 3D which cuts brightness at least another 50%.
HDMI sync time. The HD91 takes longer than average to lock on to an HDMI signal, which can be frustrating at times. In addition to being somewhat annoying during film and video use, the slow sync makes it difficult to switch resolutions on source devices, most of which now require confirmation of the new resolution. We ran into trouble trying to switch resolution on a Western Digital WDTV Live, since that device's 10 second timeout expired before the HD91 located and synchronized with the new signal.
Menu display time. The HD91's menu will only stay open for a few seconds before it disappears again, and this display time cannot be changed. On the other hand, if you press enter on any individual control, it will display a single-line adjustment control that never times out. This makes it easier to calibrate the projector, but also removes the menu from view when you aren't actively working in it.
Input lag. The HD91 has a minimum input lag of 76 milliseconds. Home theater users will want to use an audio delay to eliminate video/audio synch problems, while gamers who value fast response times should not use the HD91 as their primary gaming machine. On the other hand, I managed to play Skyrim on the Playstation 3 for several hours without noticing any problems, so gamers who don't need lightning-fast response can continue using the projector without worry.
Lens shift. The HD91's lens shift has good range, but the actual shift controls can be difficult to use. The two lens shift dials are both oriented in the same direction, so it's hard to remember which is horizontal and which is vertical. What's more, the dials are situated underneath the projector, and it can be difficult to reach down and adjust them without jostling the projector around.
Cost. A retail price of $3,999 puts the HD91 in an interesting position. On the one hand, it performs similarly to several lamp-based home theater projectors in the $2000-$2500 price range. But it is priced up in the $4000 range with several high-performance projectors. This puts the consumer in an interesting position: they can pay less for equivalent performance or the same amount for better performance.