Optoma HD25 Home Theater Projector Review
This year, it seems like each week we see a new low-cost, 3D-capable 1080p projector -- and the year isn't even close to over. The Optoma HD25, at less than $1,000, is a full HD 3D 1080p projector with a crisp, clear, reference-quality image in both 2D and 3D. For those who want a great picture and don't have a lot of money to spend, it is one of the most attractive projectors to surface this year.
The HD25 has features usually reserved for higher-tier products. It uses radio frequency 3D glasses that don't require line-of-sight or light pulses in the image to maintain synchronization. It has a full color management system and excellent default color, making it a great projector for people who like to tweak as well as people who want their equipment to "just work." Add a ten-watt onboard stereo sound system and over 1100 calibrated lumens and the end result is a powerful, portable home theater projector at a knock-out price.
Editor's Note June 7 2013: The original text of this article stated that the BenQ W1070 had a three-year warranty. Our source at the company was mistaken and the projector in fact has a one-year warranty. We apologize for the error, and the relevant text has been corrected. Bill Livolsi
The HD25 is a small projector in a sleek white case shared with several other models in the Optoma line, all the way back to the HD20 from 2009. It has a 1.2:1 manual zoom lens with no shift capability, mounted off-center in the projector's case, that can throw a 120" diagonal 16:9 image from a throw distance of 13' 1" to 15' 8". It has a fixed upward throw offset of 15%, so the bottom edge of the image will appear about nine inches above the centerline of the lens for that same 120" diagonal picture.
These factors make the HD25 an easy projector to ceiling mount. The projector's white case blends into a white ceiling very well, while the throw offset puts the image at just about the right height for comfortable viewing. Alternately, you could set up the HD25 on a table and watch it from your couch; the projector's fan is quiet enough that you should not know it's there, most of the time, unless DynamicBlack is enabled. The projector has three adjustable rubber feet to help you level it, though they can be difficult to get started. If you do plan to use the HD25 on a coffee table, spend a minute to loosen up the feet before you start up the projector.
Once you have the HD25 set up properly, getting a great picture out of it is just a matter of turning it on. The default grayscale and gamma in Cinema mode are already very close to the reference standard, which is no small accomplishment on such an inexpensive projector. Our test sample measured 6400K across the board with no adjustment at all and an average gamma of 2.2. At over 1100 calibrated lumens, the picture is bright enough for living room use, if desired. In a darkened theater environment, the Eco lamp setting's roughly 850 lumens is still quite bright and extends lamp life to 6,000 hours. On a 120" diagonal 1.3 gain screen, the HD25 produces an on-screen brightness of 26 foot-Lamberts in this mode.
This can be a concern for some people with small theaters or small screens -- the HD25 is quite bright. If you require less light output than Eco mode provides, you can reduce BrilliantColor, purchase a neutral-density (ND) filter, or purchase a lower-gain screen. For smaller screens, say 80" to 100" diagonal, the ND filter is a good option, though it is not the simplest option. An ND2 filter reduces light by half, cutting Cinema Eco's output to 425 lumens. In doing this it also deepens black levels. Most neutral density filters are built for cameras, and as such there is no easy way to mount one to a projector lens that is not threaded to accept a filter. Some folks attach their filters with tape or other adhesive while others build brackets or mounts to hold the filter in place in front of the projector. This seems like a lot of work, but it does have a payoff: once your projector's lamp begins to dim, you can move the ND filter out of the light path and continue watching at your preferred brightness.
|Review Contents:||The Viewing Experience||Key Features||Performance||Limitations|
|Shootout vs BenQ W1070|