Optoma GT720 WXGA DLP Projector
Projector Central Highly Recommended Award

Highly Recommended Award

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value

What's the only thing better than playing your favorite video games in stunning high definition? How about playing them in stunning high definition on a massive, wall-filling screen? The Optoma GameTime GT720 is a companion projector for the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 gaming consoles, bringing you everything you need to turn your game console into a bright, high-resolution, dynamic mobile party starter. It's not a perfect product; placement can be difficult and the 3D capability is deceptive. But when you want a big HD picture on the wall for an evening of gaming with your friends, and don't want to break the bank to get it, the GT720 is the way to go. Street prices begin at $799.

Advantages

Image quality. The GT720 puts up a great looking picture. The image is plenty bright, so ambient light is not much of a concern. If you don't have light shining directly on the screen, you should be fine. Contrast is impressive as well, giving the image a very three-dimensional appearance. Since the PS3 outputs in standard HD formats like 1280x720 and 1920x1080, you will see some slight black bars on the top and bottom of the picture; the GT720 is a 1280x800 projector. But the end result is still a big beautiful HD picture.

Light output. At 2500 lumens, the GT720 promises to be very bright indeed. Our test sample measured 2233 lumens in its brightest mode, or 89% of the stated specification. Now, that's fantastic if you want to put up a 100" or 120" screen in ambient light, or even a 150" screen in the dark. But what if you're not aiming quite so large and need to reduce light output? Low lamp mode drops lumen output by 9% in all modes and also increases lamp life. Cinema mode improves the appearance of mid tones and color accuracy, and comes out at 1165 lumens in high lamp mode. For something between those two, Game mode has better color saturation and dynamic range than Bright mode does while still cranking out 1977 lumens.

Contrast. When a projector is meant to be used in ambient light, the contrast specification tells you almost nothing. The GT720 looks great in some ambient light, producing a picture with good dynamic range. Shadow detail is clearly visible, and blacks are solid without crushing detail in the shadows. Highlights can appear a touch overdriven with BrilliantColor turned all the way up, but even that only occurs in certain scenes with a lot of detail in very bright highlights. Even without any adjustment, the GT720 has a balanced, high-contrast picture that seems to pop off the screen.

 

Sharpness and clarity. Game consoles like the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 output in standard 16:9 HD formats such as 1280x720 and 1920x1080. The GT720 is a 1280x800 projector, which is a 16:10 format. This means you'll see some small black bars at the top and bottom of the image, unless you fill your 16:9 screen with a 16:9 image and let the bars fall onto the frame. It also means that 1280x720 can be displayed natively, while 1920x1080 must be scaled to fit. This scaling leads to a slightly softer picture, but when you start with native 1080p content, this softness is essentially invisible. Image quality after scaling is often a problem on lower-resolution projectors, but the GT720 did an excellent job of keeping the image crisp, clean, and detailed.

Color. The GT720's color performance is impressive. The projector is not exactly 6500K accurate, as one would expect from a movie projector, but then again this isn't a movie projector. The picture has a slight bluish cast to it, which we found useful when projecting in ambient light (which tends to be overwhelmingly yellow). The two tend to cancel one another out. Color is saturated, though, and looks good. Most importantly, the projector includes RGB Gain/Bias controls in case the color is not to your liking, and our test sample was very responsive to these adjustments.

Audible noise. Like its sister projector the GT360, the GT720 is nearly silent during operation. Unless you have your head within about three feet of the GT720's exhaust vent, you probably will not be able to hear it during operation at all--especially not if you are taking advantage of the on-board stereo speakers.

Stereo speakers. The GT720 has dual five-watt stereo speakers, which is much better than the usual tinny one-watt mono speaker found on many data projectors. In addition, the GT720's speakers are capable of some incredible volume. Volume is adjustable between 0 and 10. For normal use in a quiet room, there was no real need to go above 2 or 3; in a loud room we might increase volume to 6 or 7. Above 7 or 8, there was some tinny character to the sound produced, so do not exceed this level unless you must.

Portability. The real allure of the GT720 over other, similar projectors is portability. In this case, portability means more than just small size and light weight. It means that the projector's short-throw lens is ideal for setup in a small room against a light-colored wall. It means that the onboard speaker system keeps setup simple, allowing you to connect one HDMI cable and get back to playing. It means that the projector comes in its own backpack, freeing up your hands to carry other gaming equipment. One thing worth mentioning is that, despite the backpack's large size, the game system will need its own carrying bag; there is simply not enough room for a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 in addition to the projector itself.

Cost of ownership. The GT720 is a very low-maintenance machine. It has no air filter, so the only maintenance you'll have to perform is the occasional lamp change. Lamps are rated to last for 5,000 hours in eco-mode or 3,000 hours in bright mode. When the lamp finally does blow out, replacements cost only $200, which is exceptionally low for such a bright projector. All in all, the GT720 is cheap and easy to maintain, which is ideal for an entertainment projector. Keep a spare lamp on hand and you'll never have cause to worry.

Video delay. Some gamers, intent on milking the best possible performance from fighting or racing games, obsess over video delay. Video delay is what happens when the video output from a source device is delayed for a number of milliseconds in transit to the display. In a time-sensitive game, this can lead to frustration, low scores, and general discontent. The GT720 does not have any noticeable video delay, or at least not enough to manifest during our testing.

Limitations

Placement flexibility. Having a fixed-throw lens is great for portability, keeps costs down, and works for the majority of users. It is also common to see short-throw projectors like the GT720 with no zoom lens, as short throw and zoom lenses don't get along very well. However, such a lens will not work for everyone. A 120" diagonal 16:9 image requires 6'3" of space, and in small rooms this can constrain the viewers to the very back of the house. If you intend to ceiling mount the projector, it will need to be mounted rather close to the front of the room. This almost requires a cable run through the ceiling to avoid unsightly dangling wires. While you can sometimes get away with stringing wires around the back of the room, this is less acceptable when those wires would hang between the audience and the image.

3D. The GT720 includes Texas Instruments' DLP-Link technology, allowing it to be used with active shutter glasses to display 3D content at a maximum resolution of 1280x720. There are now several games available for the Playstation 3 capable of stereoscopic 3D display. A potential buyer might make the assumption that a 3D projector meant to be paired with a 3D console would be able to display 3D content from that console. It's a reasonable assumption. It is also wrong.

The GT720 will display 3D content only if that content is presented at 1280x720 pixels and 120 frames per second. The PS3 will output a 3D signal only if it is connected to a display it recognizes as 3D capable. For lack of a better explanation, the GT720 and PS3 do not properly "handshake," so the PS3 will not output a 3D signal. Without a 3D signal, the GT720 will not switch into the proper 3D mode. Since it is not in a 3D mode, it cannot be recognized as a 3D display, so the PS3 will not output the proper 3D signal... the whole thing becomes a catch-22.

Now, if you would like to use the GT720 with a PC that is set up with NVIDIA's 3D Vision, it works perfectly. After several hours of use, we can confidently say that the GT720 displays a beautiful 3D picture. It just won't do it with the Playstation 3.

2x-speed color wheel. The GT720 has a 2x-speed color wheel, with five segments: red, green, blue, yellow, and white. If you see rainbow artifacts when using a DLP projector with a two-speed wheel, you'll see them on the GT720. This is not much of a problem for games, since the player's eye generally stays fixed on the center of the screen. But during movies, when the eye is free to roam, rainbows may become a factor. The solution is twofold: one, find out if you or anyone in your intended audience is sensitive to rainbows. Two, use the GT720 for games, not movies.

Conclusion

The Optoma GameTime GT720 is a great projector for the display of high-definition video games from the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, or even a high-end PC. It has a bright, dynamic image that pops off the screen, beautifully saturated color, and crystal-clear sharpness. It is highly portable and easy to use, and the onboard sound system is enough for all but the largest rooms.

The projector uses a 2x-speed color wheel, so rainbows are a factor when watching movies or other non-interactive content. And while the projector is 3D ready, it also serves as an object lesson of the perils of being an early adopter--3D from the Playstation 3 doesn't work. But as far as 2D is concerned, it puts a big beautiful HD picture on your wall or screen, and it does it all for less than $800.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Optoma GameTime GT720 projector page.

Comments (25) Post a Comment
chris Posted Jul 23, 2010 6:38 AM PST
" replacements cost only $200". You state this as a matter of fact. Okay. How many projectors have you reviewed in the past THREE years and went back to find out the cost or AVAILABILITY of the replacement lamps? I have asked before about the lumen output as a function of time and still you publish nothing. Finally, have you ever tested the claims of eco versus normal lamp mode (again lumen output versus time)? Surely, you have the means to make extrapolations.
Evan Powell, Editor Posted Jul 23, 2010 3:34 PM PST
Chris, I don't understand your complaint about the review quoting the cost of the replacement lamp. We think giving the reader this data is helpful.

Regarding lumen output over time, we do not have the ability to test the degree to which lumen output will degrade on any given model, nor do we have the ability to test life span expectations based on full power vs. eco modes. These tests would be extremely expensive. They would require long term burns of many samples of a given model in order to estimate average performance over time. We would have to turn them on and off over a period of thousands of hours of usage to replicate the anticipated typical usage pattern. Practically speaking, by the time thorough and legitimate tests were complete the model in question would be at end of life.

Keep in mind that the database and reviews on this site are free to the public. So the funds we have available to collect data, test projectors and write reviews are not unlimited.
aaa Posted Jul 28, 2010 2:19 AM PST
why yo dont give ansi constast oh man this website look like ruin with out it

useless!
chris h Posted Jul 29, 2010 2:53 PM PST
does this thing work with dvd players aswell or just consoles id love to play the ps3 on it but also would like to play blu rays and dvds also also are there any better machines that are very good with consoles ? thanks
Nuutti Kotivuori Posted Aug 7, 2010 1:57 PM PST
Please review this projector based on it's actual merits as a movie projector! This review is useless to compare against projectors like Optoma HD66, since you only concentrate on the gaming aspect.

I don't want a separate projector for games - who really would want two projectors in their living room? I want a movie projector, that can do games as well!
Kasey Olson Posted Aug 20, 2010 1:29 PM PST
To Nuutti Kotivuori - I have the HD66 and it does very well at both. I've played both low-res games (Gamecube & PS2) as well as Hi-res (Xbox 360) and it works great with all of them. There is no more noticeable lag than I've had with any of my TV's. If anything, my performance in the games has increased because you can see EVERYTHING on the gameplay field. First person shooters really shine on the HD66. If you're looking for multipurpose, the HD66 is your moneymaker, at least from my experience.
AudioG Posted Sep 6, 2010 3:24 AM PST
Planning to buy this projector but unable to find it below the $799 price. Please suggest where when I get this on sale? Thanks!
kans Posted Sep 17, 2010 11:18 AM PST
hello... i want to buy this projector through instalment process.how can get it?pls inform me .i like this very well. thanks for your informations.
peter Posted Oct 29, 2010 5:39 AM PST
i want to buy a pj for movies in a small room. I was looking at Dell s300 and then saw Optoma gt720. can you please tell me which would be best for home movies, pros and cons. thank you.
Peter C Posted Oct 30, 2010 7:29 PM PST
Hi Bill , any chance you can remember the light output in 3d mode? Can i use this projector with the soon to be released Optoma 3d-xl adapter for 3d blu ray movies? or do i need a firmware update as well? Thank you for your time.
Mike Posted Oct 30, 2010 10:08 PM PST
Bought it and love it. I have a small "Man Cave" and it suits it perfectly. Short throw made placement difficult as you can't adjust the picture much. Best picture of any projector I've seen yet and handles everything I throw at it with remarkeble color, brightness and contrast. Honestly could not possibly be more happy with it
Joel Posted Jan 17, 2011 9:47 AM PST
This is an awesome projector and I "Highly reccomend it". for the projector and a celing mount I payed $729.00 thats tax included on the web site www.yesmicro.com it was during the christmas sale, but im sure you can still get one there for less than $799. Good luck and enjoy I know I am...lol.
steve Posted May 1, 2011 10:03 PM PST
[edited]i think it is junk pain to get set up anything moving fast looks like &*() sat tv and bluray look like %$%#
Aminn Posted May 3, 2011 1:58 AM PST
Hello! I'm an engineer.I want to buy this type of projector, but realy i need to know its aveage life span. can anyboy tell me please.
Rod Posted Jun 22, 2011 8:12 PM PST
This projector is the worst projector ever. I bought mine at best buy three months later the lens inside the projector melted completely. I check online it turns out that this is a very common problem with this projector. stay away from it.
Reotch Posted Aug 3, 2011 6:33 PM PST
A full year of almost 5 hours per day use, still on the first bulb and the image quality is great. Contrast ratio is a little noticeable, but definitely no complaints.
Richard Trigg Posted Sep 15, 2011 8:06 AM PST
Thank you for making such a good review, however, you can use the 3D function with the PS3, xbox and 3d Blu ray, all you need do is by the Optoma 3DXL with shutter glasses - Amazon £250.00.

Hope this helps some people out there
jeff Posted Sep 17, 2011 5:49 PM PST
After 450 hours of use, I got a whit stuck pixel. Within a month that has increased to several hundred stuck pixels, black and white. Looks like the unit I have is only worth the the bulb that is in it. Wondering if this is a common problem?
James Posted Sep 21, 2011 4:25 PM PST
I bought a GT700 projector at the end of November in 2010. Just as of last week I started getting white and black pixels. They grew very fast, about 1 new dead pixel every hour or so that it was on. Today I just sent it back to Optoma under warranty. Hopefully the RMA process goes smoothly. Other than this problem the projector has been great all around. Refresh rate is amazing for games, color has maintained bright and the picture is very crisp. Even with only a 2x color wheel movies look great and I have yet to hear any complaints of rainbows. Luckily my projector still under warranty but I can only imagine how [censored] I would have been for this product to go belly up in less than 10 months and with only about 1,000hrs on the bulb. If you are considering buying this product I recommend purchasing an extended warranty through Optoma.
Andy Posted Sep 24, 2011 7:28 AM PST
I would just like to second the comments of both James, Jeff and Rod. I've had two GT720 projectors and both have failed within a few months. I bought the first one in January 2011 from BestBuy and the lens melted or overheated on it within 4 months, like Rod. The second projector ran fine for about 5 months until, about a week ago, I noticed pixels on the right side of the screen dying rapidly, like James and Jeff. This is in contrast to my Optoma HD70, which has run for 3+ years without any screen defects.
Justin Posted Dec 26, 2011 12:43 PM PST
I dont know why people are complaining i have used this projector for a little over a year now for outdoor movies. Now i dont use it everyday i dont think they are meant to be used just like a tv all day everyday but i love mine
Nick Posted Jan 6, 2012 1:00 PM PST
I've bought three Optoma GT720 projectors for the flight simulator use. One of them failed after 10 hours of work (bad DMD chip - thousands of stuck black and white pixels) Just came back after RMA repairs for a month.
Chris weave Posted Feb 4, 2012 5:07 PM PST
Loved my optoma gt720.. Had almost two years and lens burned up inside just before superbowl.. Being a GIANTS fan I am very disappointed.. Thought it was bulb at first and bought new.. Not problem though.. Problem is lens burnt up inside projector.. Cant find a place to buy replacement.. Please help..
phil Posted Feb 7, 2012 10:20 AM PST
had my 720 gt about a year now and its usually on 24/7 has 4175 hours on the same lamp and the picture is still excellent, never had a problem with it.
Billy Posted Sep 7, 2012 10:13 AM PST
After about 8 months of use, mine developed an intermittent whine that produced a VERY blurry image with horrible color. I suspect the bearing on the color wheel failed. It was repaired under warranty. About a month ago (now out of warranty), it developed a dead (white) pixel. Now, there's hundreds of them. The projector has about 1600hrs on it. Two failures in less than the lifespan of one bulb. I've bought my last Optoma.

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