Optoma EH412 1080p Business and Education Projector Road Test
Lumens: 4,500 Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Price: $749 (street)
What the Optoma EH412 is designed for:
It is ideal for:
- Large classrooms, conference and meeting rooms
- Road warriors who need a light, bright projector
It is also good for:
- Medical presentations and education
What the Optoma EH412 gives you . . .
- 4,500 ANSI lumen rating
- 1920 x 1080 native resolution using 0.65" DLP imager
- Downsamples up to 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) HDR input to 1080p HDR
- 2 HDMI ports: one HDMI 1.4a with MHL for up to 3840 x 2160/30 Hz SDR input, one HDMI 2.0 for up to 3840 x 2160/60 Hz HDR input
- Dicom Sim mode for medical education and presentations
- 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (Dynamic Black on); 1,800:1 full on/full off
- 1.3x zoom lens, 1.12 - 1.47:1 throw ratio (also available as the EH412ST with short throw, 0.5:1 lens, $899)
- Onboard 10W mono speaker
- Vertical keystone, +/- 40 degrees
- Full 3D compatible
- Small size and light weight; only 7.7 pounds; comes with soft carrying case
- 245-watt lamp rated for 4,000 hours in Bright power mode, 10,000 hours in Eco mode, and 15,000 hours in Dynamic mode; $111 replacement cost
- Can be set to turn on when the projector detects a signal on an HDMI port
- Can be set to turn on automatically with a power-on timer or power strip
- 3-year advanced exchange warranty for the projector, 1-year warranty for the lamp.
Optoma EH412 Connection Panel Inputs
- (1) HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2; for up to 3840 x 2160/60 Hz HDR input)
- (1) HDMI 1.4a / MHL (for up to 3840 x 2160/30 Hz SDR input)
- (1) VGA in
- (1) VGA out
- (1) 3.5mm audio in
- (1) 3.5mm audio out
- (1) USB-A (power only)
- (1) RS-232
Physical Attributes. With the projector on a table, all connectors are on the top half of the rear panel. The power connector is near the bottom of the back panel, near the left side as viewed from the back, with the Kensington lock slot to its right. As viewed from the back, the intake vent is on the left panel, the exhaust vent is on the right side and front (wrapping around the right front corner), and the security bar is on the right side, near the back.
Optoma EH412 Performance
We measured the EH412 test unit at 4,205 ANSI lumens, a solid 93% of its 4,500 ANSI lumen rating. The measurements for Bright and Eco power modes with each color mode (HDMI input, lens at its widest angle position) were as follows:
Optoma EH412 ANSI Lumens
Low Brightness Mode. Eco mode reduced brightness by about 53% compared with Bright mode. There are also two other power settings. Dynamic works like an auto-iris to make dark images darker and bright images brighter, adjusting power based on the contents of the current image. Eco+ slowly dims over time with a static image, by as much as 70% according to Optoma. As soon as the image changes again, the projector returns to its highest brightness for the setting. At their brightest, Dynamic mode was the same brightness as Bright mode in each color mode and Eco + was the same brightness as Eco mode.
Zoom lens effect on Brightness. Compared with the full wide angle setting, the EH412's 1.3x zoom lens reduced measured brightness at its full telephoto setting by 10%.
Presentation Optimized Lumens. For presentations that don't include photos or video, most people will consider most of the color modes usable, the one exception being the DICOM Sim mode intended for medical images like X-rays. However the more brightness you need, the more you'll have to compromise on color accuracy.
Cinema mode at its default setting is our optimized pick for presentations. It delivered nicely saturated, vibrant color for graphics, neutral color for photorealistic images, and 1,722 lumens, which is enough to light up a 110-inch 1.0 gain screen or 120-inch 1.3 gain screen in moderate ambient light.
Bright mode's 4,203 lumens can light up a 165-inch diagonal 1.0-gain screen in moderate ambient light, but it shows an even greater green shift than the brightest modes in most projectors, making a light cyan color in one graphic look light green instead.
Going down the scale in measured brightness, Presentation mode was green-shifted to a lesser extent. And although Game mode offered bright yellows in its default settings, its blues, reds, and any hue dependent on them were dark and dull. Lowering the Brilliant color setting from Game mode's default of 10 (with settings of 1 to 10) improved the color vibrancy, but it also lowered brightness in lumens to below the Cinema mode's brightness level.
Note that HDR Sim mode—with its Brilliant Color set to 4 rather than its default 7—also delivered vibrant color for graphics, and it handled photorealistic images well. However the colors were less saturated than in Cinema mode, there was a slight red shift, and the measured brightness was only 1,272 lumens.
Video Optimized Lumens (SDR). The sRGB mode, even with default settings, showed no obvious color shift—thanks largely to its default setting of 1 for Brilliant Color. It also offered the most realistic skin tones of any of the color modes, adding subtle shading that helped give rounded objects like faces a more three-dimensional look. The measured 1,091 lumens is enough to light up a roughly 95-inch diagonal, 16:9, 1.3-gain screen in moderate ambient light.
Contrast, Black Level, and Three-Dimensionality. The EH412's black level, contrast, and sense of three dimensionality with SDR input are in the same league as similarly priced home theater projectors, though not a match for the best in the sub-$1,000 home theater category. Straight out of the box, Cinema mode did a bit better on all three scores than sRGB mode, but after adjusting brightness and contrast settings on both, sRGB mode delivered not just the more subtle shading for better three-dimensionality of rounded objects, but the better sense of three-dimensionality from black level and contrast as well.
4K UHD HDR. With 3840 x 2160 HDR input, the EH412 downsamples the image to its native 1920 x 1080 resolution while maintaining HDR. It also automatically switches to its HDR color mode and makes all other modes but User mode unavailable. There are no HDR brightness settings, but you can adjust brightness and contrast.
In an A-B comparison between HDR and SDR versions of the same movie, shadow detail in dark scenes looked a bit better with the HDR version. However, colors in midtones in the SDR version were brighter, more vibrant, and closer to what I know they should look like.
Full HD 3D. The EH412 supports Full HD 3D with DLP-Link glasses. Unlike most projectors with 3D, it requires that you manually switch 3D on and off. However, a far more important attribute is that, compared with the brightest 2D mode, the 3D mode is much brighter than is typical. I was comfortable watching a 90-inch diagonal 3D image on my 1.0-gain screen even in low-to-moderate ambient light.
The projector also handled other aspects of 3D well. I didn't see any crosstalk, and even though 3D-related motion artifacts were a little more obvious than with some current generation projectors, they were still within a range that qualifies as minor.
Brightness Uniformity. At its full wide angle setting, the test unit delivered 63% brightness uniformity. With a solid white image, the difference was enough to see easily as brightest at center bottom of the image and dropping in brightness going up and towards each side. That said, 63% is about average for most home theater projectors at the EH412's price level. It's also little enough that I didn't notice it with any image that broke up the field of view with text, graphics, or a photorealistic picture. At the full telephoto setting for the lens, the brightness uniformity was a little better, at 66%.
Rainbow Artifacts. Any single-chip DLP projector can show rainbow artifacts. However, I see these artifacts more easily than many people, and I saw fewer with the EH412 than is typical for current generation models, most of which don't show these artifacts as often as older projectors. Even so, our usual advice applies. If you see rainbow artifacts easily or don't know if you do, be sure to buy the projector from a source that allows easy returns, so you can test it out for yourself.
Input Lag. The Bodnar lag meter measured the EH412's input lag for 1080p at 33 to 34 ms with both the HDMI 2.0 port and the HDMI 1.4a port in every combination of color mode and power mode.
On-board Audio. The onboard 10-watt speaker delivered high enough volume to fill a small to mid-size room. The sound quality in the test unit was suitable for clearly enunciated words, but limited by a bottom-of-the-barrel echo effect. If you need higher volume or better sound quality you can connect an external audio system through the 3.5mm analog audio output.
Fan Noise. The EH412's Eco mode, which Optoma rates at 26 dB, is faint enough to be hard to hear even in quiet moments. Bright mode, rated at 33 dB, is still quieter than typical for this bright a projector, and not likely to be an issue for business or education use.
Optoma recommends using High Altitude mode at 5,000 feet and above. When paired with Eco mode, the fan noise isn't much louder than in Bright power mode with High Altitude mode off. Combined with Bright power mode, however, it can be intrusive in a small to mid-size room, and you might want to consider some form of acoustic isolation.
Setting up the Optoma EH412
Throw Distance. The 1.3x zoom lens offers good flexibility for positioning the projector. For a 150-inch diagonal image at the projectors native 16:9 aspect ratio, for example, the range is roughly 12.2 to 16 feet. You can use the Optoma EH412 projection calculator to find the range for the image size you want. Also note that for short-throw applications, Optoma sells the same projector as the EH412ST with a short throw, 0.5:1 lens ($899). As an example, for the same 150-inch diagonal, 16:9 image, the EH412ST requires a throw distance of approximately 5.4 feet, or for a 100-inch image, approximately 3.7 feet.
Mounting and Lens Offset. The EH412 is one of the lightest 1080p projectors in its brightness class, at just 7.7 pounds. That makes it light enough—and small enough—to carry with you if you need a high-brightness, portable projector, and it even comes with its own carrying case.
For permanent installations, the light weight also makes the projector easy to handle during setup. Optoma's data sheet gives the lens offset as 116% +/-5%, which is consistent with the measured offset for the test unit. With the projector sitting on a table, the spec puts the bottom edge of the image anywhere from 11% to 21% of the image height above the centerline of the lens, making it appropriate for placement on a table just below the screen or inverted in a ceiling mount above it. There is no lens shift. Vertical keystone correction in a range of +/-40% is available to adjust for geometric distortion.
Our Take On the Optoma EH412
The Optoma EH412 offers just about everything you could ask for in a light, bright 1080p DLP projector. The native 1920 x 1080 resolution is appropriate for text documents, detailed graphics, and even movies; colors in business graphics are vibrant and eye-catching; and the contrast, black level, and color accuracy are good enough to make movies highly watchable, especially in sRGB mode.
Big, bright images suitable for large classrooms and conference rooms are also a strong point. At its measured 4,203 ANSI lumens, Bright mode can light up a 165-inch diagonal, 1.0 gain screen—or a 190-inch, 1.3-gain screen—in moderate ambient light, while the presentation-optimized Cinema mode's 1,722 lumens is suitable for a 110-inch, 1.0 gain screen or 120-inch, 1.3 gain screen. Even our preferred setting for video and movies—sRGB mode—offers 1,091 lumens, enough to fill a 95-inch diagonal, 16:9, 1.3-gain screen at the same level of ambient light.
Complementing these strong points for performance, the EH412 manages to be light enough to carry with you easily and is surprisingly quiet for its combination of brightness and small size. As a final bonus, it can accept a 3840 x 2160 UHD input, and it supports UHD HDR content. All these capabilities combined add up to an impressive package for the $749 price.
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