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Optoma HD25 Home Theater Projector Review

Best Home Theater Projector
Performance
4.5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Optoma HD25 Projector Optoma HD25
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Street Price: n/a
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:20,000:1
Lumens:2000
Weight: 6.4 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:DLP
Lens:1.2x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:3,500 Hrs
6,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$399.00
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  Composite, VGA In (x2), HDMI 1.4a (x2), USB, RS232
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60

Performance

Light output. The HD25 is certainly a bright projector by home theater standards. Calibrated output in the projector's Cinema mode was 1146 lumens on our test sample, which is more than enough for home video or living room use on a 100" screen. At home theater levels of ambient light, 1146 lumens can light a 140" diagonal 1.3 gain screen at 26 fL. In other words, this projector can create a compelling home theater image on a very large screen.

The HD25 does not have too many image modes, but those it does have are all useful in one way or another. After Cinema comes Reference mode, which at 982 lumens on our test unit had slightly more accurate color and better shadow detail than Cinema mode at the cost of a few lumens. Photo mode, at 975 lumens, has a stronger blue character and measures around 6700K, making it roughly equivalent to many other projectors' Standard or Living Room modes. Finally there is Bright mode, which at 1185 lumens is not too much brighter than Cinema, but strongly pushes green and is appropriate for high ambient light viewing.

Eco lamp mode, in addition to decreasing light output by 25%, also extends lamp life from 3500 to 6000 hours. In Eco mode, Cinema on our test sample clocked in at 865 lumens, Reference at 736, Photo at 731, and Bright at 889. Eco mode is most useful for decreasing light output in darkened theater rooms, where all of the HD25's extra light is not required and can actually be detrimental.

While the HD25 has the light output required to power a large screen even in ambient light, it does not reach its 2,000 lumen specified output in any image mode. In point of fact, it never reaches even 60% of that specification. There are home theater projectors in the market that are rated at 2,000 lumens and actually produce it, and if you are working in high ambient light the extra lumens could make those projectors better options than the HD25.

BrilliantColor is a feature that boosts white light output but does not affect color light output. As a result, it can make the image look brighter overall, but can also throw an image out of balance if taken too far. It is enabled by default in all of the HD25's image modes. In Cinema mode, total color light output measured 84% of white light output, which is quite good for this class of projector. The image does not appear unbalanced or unnatural even with BrilliantColor enabled. If, on the other hand, you want to obtain perfect parity between white light output and color light output, you can reduce the BrilliantColor control to its minimum. This will reduce lumen output by 16%.

Folks using the HD25 in a home theater setting likely have light output to spare, and will be able to turn BrilliantColor off since they don't need the extra light output. If, on the other hand, you are using the HD25 in a living room or game room, BrilliantColor's additional output can be beneficial.

Contrast and black level. Like many other inexpensive DLP projectors, the HD25 cannot produce the same inky-deep black levels you'll find on more expensive home theater projectors, which typically come equipped with higher contrast light engines and automatic iris systems. However, unless you plan to watch on a very small screen (80" diagonal and smaller), the higher black level does not really become a cause for concern. Spread out onto a 100" diagonal screen or larger, the slightly high black levels are easy enough to ignore.

The HD25's gamma performance is already very good, even straight out of the box. Stock gamma matched the 2.2 reference curve with only a few slight deviations. Our test unit did not show any crushing of shadow detail or blown-out highlights or colors. The combined effect is a picture that pops with three-dimensionality and detail.

Color. In Cinema mode using the factory default settings, the HD25 measures 6400K across the entire grayscale. While this isn't the ideal 6500K, it's also better than most projectors' performance without adjustment. In order to bring the projector in line with the 6500K standard, you need to decrease green by several points (green is overemphasized by default) and red by one or two points. On our test sample, those changes resulted in a flat 6500K across the grayscale.

The HD25's white balance controls consist of a single unified slider for each color, rather than separate gain/bias controls. This limitation can make it more difficult to fine-tune the projector's color, but our test sample did not need extensive adjustment and so there was no real harm done.

As far as the color gamut is concerned, the HD25 is accurate enough that many potential buyers will not see the need to adjust color gamut, especially since those adjustments require a color meter and calibration software. If you already have the meter and the software, though, the HD25's color management system is easy to use.

Sharpness and clarity. Detail from high-definition sources came through crisply and cleanly on the HD25 without the aid of any smart-sharpening or detail enhancing features. For home theater use, our preferred Sharpness setting was 8 (on a 1-15 scale), which did not artificially soften the picture but also did not result in any edge enhancement artifacts or ringing.

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Comments (26) Post a Comment
Robert Posted Jun 6, 2013 6:52 PM PST
How does 3D brightness compare to the BenQ W1070? Which one is brighter?

Thanks for the review.
Maher Posted Jun 6, 2013 7:46 PM PST
"On the other hand, displaying 3D on anything larger than a 100" diagonal screen makes for a relatively dim picture, since 3D viewing takes away so much of the projector's high light output."

Will the optomo hd25-lv solve the dim picture problem ?
Kami Posted Jun 6, 2013 10:02 PM PST
Bill, thanks for the writeup, but there are a few things I've been wanting to know that weren't covered and I was hoping to find out... Specifically, how is the color wheel set up and speed on the HD25? What's the chance of rainbow effects for those who are prone to them? Also, the HD25-LV model at 3200 lumens for a couple hundred more bucks is the one that really interests me for large screen 3D use, but it isn't even mentioned. How is the HD25's image brightness in 3D mode? Any updates on this info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your hard work!
Jean-Luc Posted Jun 6, 2013 10:18 PM PST
What about rainbow effect? I am particularly sensitive to this and it's a big concern fir me when envisaging buying a DLP projector.
Chris Posted Jun 7, 2013 8:55 AM PST
It would have been nice to see something about the HD25-LV.
Bill Livolsi Posted Jun 7, 2013 9:09 AM PST
Folks,

We are planning to do another article covering the HD25-LV. That article will include a comparison with the HD25. We would have liked to include that information in this review, but we do not yet have the HD25-LV in-house.

Thanks for your patience.
Bill Livolsi Posted Jun 7, 2013 9:22 AM PST
With regard to the color wheel: Optoma does not publish color wheel specifications but usually provide it upon our request. Unfortunately, the folks at Optoma are busy with the ramp-up to InfoComm 2013, and as such they have not had time to get back to us with their answer. We will update the review with information about the color wheel as soon as we obtain it.
JCHilty Posted Jun 7, 2013 10:21 AM PST
It is worthwhile to note that both the HD25 and W1070 require the newer 144hz DLP Link glasses if you plan on using DLP link for 3D. The older 120hz glasses wil not work.
David K Posted Jun 7, 2013 7:25 PM PST
Also good to note is that the throw distance for the W1070 is considerably shorter with less offset than the HD25, making it a better choice for those with small rooms.
Kami Posted Jun 8, 2013 8:13 AM PST
Interesting, and good to know! I actually want one of the new 144hz 3D systems because I feel it will be less prone to inducing eye strain and headaches. I'm wondering, do the compatible RF-glasses for the HD25 also run at 144hz, or is it just the DLP-link that runs at the faster speed?
Jose Morais Posted Jun 10, 2013 11:28 AM PST
I have an HD23 and I want to replace it for a 3D projector. I am sensitive to RBE and I see it sometimes while using the HD23. Does the HD25 will reduce the RBE when compared to the HD23? Also does the HD25 have the same placement distance as the HD23? It would be a plus to be able to use the same ceiling support and avoid breaking and painting the ceiling.

Thanks!
Claude desaulniers Posted Jun 11, 2013 2:56 PM PST
Do you like the optima and the Ben q better than the Epsom 8350 ?
Sim's Posted Jun 13, 2013 10:04 AM PST
Approximately when would you be able to post an article on "HD25 compared to HD25-LV". I have to have decide the following week, running out time.
Suphot Posted Jun 16, 2013 10:05 PM PST
I am wondering for 3D glasses on HD 25, the DLP link or RF 3D glasses, which one is better?

In tern of 3D picture brightness and 3D effect.

Thank,
Miguel Guzman Posted Jun 20, 2013 9:39 AM PST
Hi Suphot. Go for the RF 100%. DLP link tends to make images look washed out because of the extra flashes on the screen to sync the glasses. RF glasses sync content through radio frequency eliminating the need to add extra frames to the content. This yields a better contrast and better color reproduction.
Windy Posted Jun 23, 2013 7:12 AM PST
How does Optima HD25 compare with Epson 5020?
chachanyc Posted Jun 26, 2013 8:31 AM PST
How does this projector compare to the optoma hd33?5
Ras Posted Jun 27, 2013 12:15 PM PST
I'd also love to hear your thoughts on these (especially the Optoma HD25) vs the Epson 5020.

While the Epson should have deeper blacks, the lower input lag and great brightness of the Optoma makes it very enticing (especially at less than half the price of the 5020, or half the price for the LV).
Eddie Whitaker Posted Jun 29, 2013 8:55 PM PST
For the Optomo HD25, will a filter be needed if projector is in a dark basement entertainment room with projector approximately 13 ft. from screen and screen size 95".
Mike Posted Jul 1, 2013 7:02 AM PST
Hi, I had 2 questions:

1st: Can a 3D SBS movie on my tablet be watched in Optoma HD25? When I plug it to an 3DTV, side-by-side content is put on top of eachother and I can watch it with glasses. Is it the same with the 3D projectors?

I am confused because on Optoma web page it says: "Optoma 3D enabled projectors can only display 3D images when 3D content is delivered to the projector from a PC with software able to generate a 3D image and a graphics card that supports 3D display."

2nd question: Which glasses do you recommend and why? Optoma BG-ZD301 vs Optoma BG-ZF2100GLS vs OTHER BRAND?

Thanks alot!
Mike Posted Jul 3, 2013 6:42 AM PST
One more thing:

I read that if u use DLP-link for 3D-glasses, they work on 144 Hz frequency. On the other hand, RF 3D glasses work on 120 Hz. (please correct me if I am wrong)

Considering this, will DLP-link glasses give a better 3D experience because of 144 Hz? Will it be more pleasing to the eye? All in all, which type of 3D glasses is suggested?

One guy was saying that 3D when using DLP-link glasses was much more pleasing than RF glasses.
Chris Posted Aug 25, 2013 7:00 AM PST
I have the HD25, I like it so far. My only concern lately is, watching a source as crisp as blu ray I still get extremely grainy pictures in dark scene's, like a faint analog signal used to look. Does that sound like a setting or is that typical from a projector? I just watched Olympus has Fallen and the newest Die Hard and it suffered horribly from dark scene graininess.. Any input would be appreciated, my first projector.
8sen Posted Sep 11, 2013 12:42 AM PST
What about the fan noise? It seems like the HD25 is the most quit projector. How is it in real life?
Michal Posted Sep 12, 2013 1:31 PM PST
I m new to projectors, would like to buy one, but have one question. I live in old house with high ceiling 3,5meter. Can I mount this projector up on the ceiling and set up image to be 1,5 meter below the ceiling?
Marcelo Posted May 25, 2014 1:16 PM PST
Hi there,

For what I have reviewed on both Optoma HD25 and HD25-LV I believe my best option for a closed dark room, with a screen size of 120' diagonal in 4:3 mode is the HD-25, am I right? Thanks for your replies in advance.
Bill Smith Posted Sep 12, 2014 3:03 PM PST
If the film is shot in a low light environment, the cameraman will often have to increase gain on the image introducing noise or grain into the film. Some of this is reduced in post production, but it is often not completely eliminated. The fact that you see the grain may actually bode well for your projector: it can pick up the detail of the grain in the film.

A simple test to see if it's the film or the projector: put in a Pixar movie of your choosing and advance to a dark scene. If the noise is there, it is likely in your cable, amp, or projector. If no noise on a Pixar film, but you have noise on a live-action film, it's likely the source material.

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