The Art of Gaming

Review – Optoma GT720 Gaming Projector

Hello All!

I got my hands on the Optoma GT720 for review and received the “go ahead” from Art to post my thoughts on its gaming performance.  His full review will be out later and will include a summary of this review.

I must say, I’m pretty impressed. Optoma markets the GT720 as a “gaming projector”, and I think it’s safe to say it certainly performs as one.  I don’t think any gamers looking for a projector in this price range (~$799) will be disappointed.

First thing, this projector is super bright.  I’m talkin’ seriously bright.  It cut through the ambient light in my room with ease, making my 6500UB look painfully dim.  Day gaming is definitely possible with this projector.  I don’t have any equipment for light measurements, but I would bet this projector is throwing 2000+ lumens in brightest mode.

This extra brightness is also due to the fact that the GT720 has such a short throw.  At 11ft from the wall (where I keep my Epson), the image was not even close to fitting on my 100” screen.  With no zoom, I had to move it to a 6ft throw before I could get the image to fit.   At first I was a little taken aback, but the more I thought it, I really started to like it.

Typically, gamers don’t play in perfectly constructed home theater rooms.   They usually play in something like a tiny, cluttered room with white walls or a half finished part of a basement.  With such a short throw, you could put it on a coffee table, the side of a desk or even on the floor and easily reach over 100”.  You could even stick it 3ft from the wall and get a super bright 60″ if you wanted.  Also, because of the short throw, you can play Wii on this projector without worrying about blocking the light path -  A huge plus.

It had been a while since I last sat down with a 720p projector, but I felt the GT720 was noticeably sharper than other 720p projectors I had seen.  I brought a friend over who owns an older 720p BenQ to take a look – He agreed.  This extra sharpness gives the Optoma GT720 a digital feel which suits video games very well.

The GT720 is definitely a portable projector (only 6.5lb).  The folks at Optoma think so too,  as they included not just a carrying case, but a projector backpack, complete with cable/remote storage compartments. They also took the liberty of embroidering “Game Time” on the front.  I guess that is what “GT” in GT720 stands for? A little corny, but I must admit, I really like how this projector packs up.  In 3 min you can have it ready to go and be on the way to a friend’s house or down the hall.  It’s not something I would usually think about, but the portability of this display is definitely notable, and I could totally see myself packing it up for a night somewhere else.

Optoma also decided to include a pair of 5-watt built in speakers on the GT720.  They aren’t going to knock your socks off, but for built in projector speakers they are respectable.  Yes, they are lacking bass and sound tinny at higher volumes, but what can you expect?   I see them more as a +1 for portability than anything else.  You can throw the projector in it’s backpack, bring it to a friends house, and not have to worry about looking for a pair of computer speakers to bring along.   I would use them in a “plug and play” scenario.  In a more permanent setup, I would take advantage of the stereo outputs that Optoma was so kind to provide, and hookup a mightier set of speakers or throw a sub-woofer into the mix to make up for the lack of bass.

Input lag is not an issue at all for the GT720.  I played some rounds of Amplitude (PS2) (my new-founded, qualitative, input-lag, benchmark test) and I personally felt the projector did a great job.   There was no noticeable lag on my end.  I was glad to see my qualitative analysis match my quantitative testing.  I used an input lag test program recommended to me by comment in a previous blog.  This program is essentially a high resolution timer that displays two clocks – One on the laptop display and another on the projector display.  However far behind the projector timer is from the laptop timer, that is your “input lag”.  Photos are taken to show this difference.

As you can see – the results were excellent.

Zero input lag, good stuff!

I know I’ve had nothing but positive things to say so far, but there are a couple things I must mention.

First, it is possible to see rainbows on the Optoma GT720 as it is a DLP projector.  I have never seen rainbows before; however, I did notice them while playing on this projector.  It was very slight, and took me by surprise, but I did notice them.  I later found out that the GT720 uses a 2X color wheel – great for brightness, not so great for users susceptible to rainbows.  For me it wasn’t too big of a problem, I could learn to live with it.  Just make sure this isn’t a problem before you decide to buy.

The second thing worth mentioning is the black levels/shadow detail.  Maybe I’m spoiled by my 6500UB, but I think the GT720 struggles a bit on dark scenes.  Keep in mind, I played this projector pretty much “out of the box” and made no attempt to calibrate other than a quick brightness/contrast tweak, but I found it a tad washed out.  On some darker scenes, especially in Resident Evil 5, there was a little more shadow detail missing than I would have hoped.  It was by no means “unplayable”, just notable.

Now that those tiny gripes are out of the way, I’m finding it pretty hard to be a stickler.  I think the Optoma GT720 is a fabulous little gaming projector, especially for the price.  It throws a bright, sharp image.  It’s extremely portable and you can easily shelf mount it.  I really see this projector fitting into a gamer’s setup nicely, perfect for a college student or anyone with limited space.

 

-pete

Note 1: This projector is 3D capable.  I know some of you were looking forward to getting a little peek at this, but I am unfortunately not equipped to test this…YET!   I personally hadn’t taken the leap into 3D gaming, but now that I have an excuse, I am hoping to get a 3D ready graphics card in my desktop soon and am excited to check out some 3D games!

Also, I don’t know if I’m supposed to say…but Art might have a 3D card ready by the time he gets to the full review.  He may just have to take a look at it for me. Lucky him -  :)

 

Note 2:  I will be leaving for Europe Wednesday and will be out of the country until late June – I’m taking a trip to celebrate my recent college graduation from PENN STATE! :)  I will be checking in to respond to comments and might post a couple short blogs while I’m gone, but I will not be as speedy as usual.

News And Comments

  • http://www.moldabowl.com Drew

    Thanks for the thoughtful review, Pete.

    A couple features I most like about the GT720 are the RCA inputs and the audio output. In my opinion, these two things are necessary to call the projector gaming-centric. Can you post about or recommend other projectors with those features?

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/pete/ pete

      Drew,

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the feedback! Most projectors do include the standard RCA video port (yellow), but many do not include the audio inputs (white and red) and audio output. I agree, audio out is a cool feature that many projectors don’t include. – This is because most of the time, you have the option to route audio separate from video and bi-pass the projector from the audio signal completely (which is ideal in most cases). Projectors usually don’t have the best speakers (if any) and it’s pointless to pass the audio into the projector if you are simply going to pass it out and run it to a separate audio device.

      I have my Wii hooked up to my projector just fine without audio in/out on the back of my projector. I have the component video connected to the back of the projector, and then the stereo audio hooked up to extensions that reach the back of my receiver. You could use this same method to connect RCA video to the projector and then route the audio to an external device. Even devices that use HDMI have settings that allow separate audio/video. Ex- My ps3 is hooked up to my projector via HDMI for video and then to my receiver with an optical cable. The GT720 does a great job for including audio in/out, but there are many other ways of connecting devices to accomplish the same thing. All of the projectors I have seen were able to take in a video signal and either pass through the audio or allow me to send the audio to an external device without using the projector at all.

      Regards,

      Pete