Optoma PRO350W WXGA Projector Review
The Optoma PRO350W is a new WXGA DLP projector for business, and it has a lot to offer. Its versatile 1280x800 (WXGA) resolution is always a great choice for display from laptops, desktops, and video sources. 2800 lumens of brightness give it the power to light up even very large screens, or allow you to leave the lights on without detracting from your presentation. It is also 3D Ready, though 3D display is limited to 1280x720. If 3D is something your business requires or is thinking about implementing down the line, the PRO350W is an affordable way to get started. If you have no need for 3D, it is still a great projector for your conference room, classroom, or home computer setup. With street prices around $750 and low recurring maintenance costs, it is a lot of performance for not a lot of money.
Lumen output. The PRO350W, specified at 2800 ANSI lumens, is a bright projector. In its brightest mode, conveniently called Bright, our test unit measured 2747 lumens. This is 98% of the projector's specified lumen output, and is enough to light up a large screen in ambient light. With the lights dimmed, the PRO350W has the power to illuminate a 150" diagonal screen easily. With room lighting turned up it will still go to 120". Low lamp mode reduces lumen output by 18%, which brings Bright mode down to 2258 lumens.
When you don't need the extreme brightness of Bright mode, you can improve color and contrast by selecting another image mode. Presentation mode improves contrast and color saturation and is a great choice for Powerpoint slideshows with lots of graphics. It produced 1815 lumens on our test unit. Movie mode has the best color of the bunch and measured 1535 lumens.
Contrast. The PRO350W has a 3000:1 contrast rating, which is typical for an inexpensive DLP projector. In a typical business or classroom environment, ambient light wreaks havoc on black levels. As a result, deep black levels are not expected, required, or especially helpful on a business projector such as the PRO350W. Despite this, the PRO350W can still be calibrated so that black levels are good enough for the casual display of photography in a darkened room or the occasional movie.
Color. As is true of all projectors, the brightest image modes have the least accurate color. Bright mode in particular has a greenish tint to it, and color saturation is low. Much better is Presentation mode, which gives a clear and appreciative increase in saturation and removes much of the green tint. This will be the mode of choice for most people using Powerpoint presentations or data graphics, since it offers over 1800 lumens while maintaining some semblance of color accuracy. Other modes, like Movie, further emphasize color saturation and contrast at the expense of lumen output.
3D. The PRO350W is a 3D Ready projector, so it will display 3D content from a compatible source. This content can be viewed through a pair of LCD shutter glasses compatible with DLP Link. While the PRO350W is a 1280x800 projector, it can only display 3D content up to 1280x720, which it displays at 120 frames per second, which equates to 60 frames per second per eye.
Right now, the majority of 3D sources are powerful computers, and content is scarce. Blu-ray 3D is on its way, but it does not appear that the PRO350W will be compatible with the Blu-ray 3D video standard.
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