The Art of Gaming

Optoma GT720 Gaming Projector Review

I will admit, coming from the Epson 8700UB I was a bit underwhelmed.  I then got over the fact of trying to compare this $699 projector to a $2,000+ projector, and was ready to judge it for what it really is; a great entry level gaming projector.  As Pete posted in his review (with pictures), there was no lag experienced while playing.  During my time with the Optoma GT720 I played the following games:

Half-Life 2: Deathmatch (PC)
Bioshock (PC)
F.E.A.R. (PC)
Mario Kart (Wii)
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Pete is a console gamer, so I put most of my time into the PC gaming aspect.  I put in a few hours of gaming, and a quick comparison of The Mist on Blu-ray.  I watched The Mist on my Epson 8700UB the night before, and I wanted to see how the GT720 would hold up.  The comparison of the $699 projector vs. a $2,000+ projector was not a good one, especially when it comes to a movie with a lot of dark scenes like The Mist. I would also check out Art’s review on the GT720, since he concentrates on the actual movie, and television viewing aspects.

As far as gaming, it was plenty bright; a tad brighter than my 8700UB set to its brightest mode.  I have a decent sized 120″ screen, and the GT720 had no issues lighting up the entire thing, and then some.  My setup is in my livingroom, and ambient light is an issue during the day.  I played half of the time during the day, and half of the time at night.  All of my game play was with the projector in the “GAME” setting.  The projector handled ambient light very well, other than the black level performance.  The black levels were pretty bad to begin with, but even worse with ambient light.  Other than the black levels, the projector performed very well with moderate ambient light.

As stated previously, no lag whatsoever…very impressive.  Overall it is a very good projector for gaming.  I was gaming on my HTPC, which is not the most up-to-date computer. The resolution is not exactly the best for computer gaming on such a large screen, and a bit of a letdown.  However, the Wii looked a lot better on the Optoma, than on my Epson.  Displaying a 480p image on a 1080p projector is always a bit of a bummer.  It made the Wii game play on the Optoma a much more pleasurable experience.

The thing I loved about the Optoma was the portability.  The Optoma comes with a backpack, which makes it great for taking it to a friend’s house, especially for console gaming. You can set this thing up on a coffee table within a couple of minutes and throw the image on a bare wall.   It even has a built-in speaker; the sound quality isn’t the best, but it’s better than nothing! It would also be great for small LAN parties – if you’re not a geek, go look it up, lol.  If you want to set this up in a permanent location, then the setup would be a little more difficult, as the Optoma has no lens shift capabilities, or zoom.

If you own a Wii, Kinect (Xbox 360), or PS3 Move, the short throw is a HUGE plus with a front projector.  I have my 8700UB placed on a bookshelf, and the projector is mounted at about 8′.  Whenever we use the Wii I have to stand off to the side, so that I am careful not to walk into the light path of the projector.  Having the short throw means the projector can be set-up in front of you, so you will never walk in front of the light path while bowling, boxing, exercising, or playing tennis on your Wii/Kinect/Move.  For console gaming with motion sensor controls, getting a projector with short throw is a no brainer.

I am not sensitive to rainbows, so I did not notice them throughout my time with the GT720.  That will vary from one person to the next.  If rainbows are an issue for you, then you may want to look into a comparable LCD projector.  DLP’s are better overall for gaming and sports viewing (fast action).  You will experience some lag with an LCD projector as well, some more than others.  If you are really sensitive to rainbows, then this DLP may not be an option.

In all of my reviews I will go over the good, the bad, and the ugly.  This is my final verdict on the Optoma GT720:

The Good:

No lag
Great shadow detail
Very bright
Awesome portability
Easy to set-up (when used as a portable)
Built in speaker
Short throw (great for console systems using motion controls)

The Bad:

It’s white (I say the same thing about my 8700UB)
The colors while gaming never seemed quite “right”
The remote is very basic, and has a cheap feel to it
No lens shift is a negative, but keep in mind this is an entry level DLP projector

The Ugly:

Black levels (if you can even call them black)
No zoom lens
Short throw (a negative for those looking to use this as a home theater projector on the cheap)

Conclusion:

If this were my first projector, the Optoma would have blown me away.  So, don’t let my negatives scare you off too much, I am a bit jaded.  If you are looking to get into front projection on a budget, and want something that handles gaming very well, then this is your projector.  It does a respectable job on movies as well; and 480p cable/satellite programming will look much better on this, than a 1080p projector.  I can honestly say that is where a 720p projector beats out a 1080p projector any day, on standard definition programming.

Now, since I am very “frugal”, I will offer the following advice: If you can grab this for about $600, then I would say jump on it.  Optoma has the GT750 coming out soon.  So if you have a budget near $799 I would wait for Art’s review on ProjectorReviews.com of the GT750 before making a final decision.  The GT750 might be worth the extra $200, and then some; we’ll just have to wait and see.

Well, that is the end of my first review.  I tried to keep it simple, I did not have a whole lot of time with the Optoma, but got in as much game play as possible.  I will include pictures in future reviews as necessary.  Time was short with this projector, so I was not able to get any photos this time around.  I figured that the ProjectorReviews.com review, as well as Pete’s review would have enough to keep you busy.  If you have any suggestions for review content, or just have a question, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you.

In the upcoming weeks I am going to provide you with some of the best deals and shopping sites online.  My main blogging goal is to get you the best possible gaming products and electronics for the best possible price, without sacrificing customer service.  I am also attending the San Diego Comic-Con, and I hope to get a lot of great photos.  Hopefully there is some interesting gaming news there this year as well.  If not there is always a good time to be had at Comic-Con.  The pictures will be entertaining nonetheless.  Stay classy, San Diego. =)

- Scott a.k.a. Ebenezer Stooge


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