Optoma GT720 Projector - Image Quality
7/8/11 - Art Feierman
Optoma GT720 Out of the Box Picture Quality
General tendencies right out of the box, include decent color, and a bit too much contrast. Fear not, almost all can be adjusted, for improvement.
For that reason, the GT720 is watchable, and definitely playable, right out of the box. Pete did all his first playing with the GT720 for his gaming blog, without touching a setting! We invite you to try the settings we publish for the GT720, on the Calibration page. For those who care about improving the image quality, our settings should provide a real benefit. Not night and day, but a more enjoyable picture, nonetheless.
Optoma GT720 Projector - Flesh Tones
Not the best, but very reasonable, especially with our settings used. Hey, the GT720 does at least as good on flesh tones, as the flesh tones you see at Best Buy on most of the LCDTVs they have on display.
Above and below, our usual suspects - Gandalf and Arwen, from Lord of the Rings, on Blu-ray.
Below are our three James Bond images from Casino Royale. Each has a different lighting scenario, the first - full sunlight, the second image; indoor fluorescent, and finally, filtered sunlight in the third image. And as one would expect, that causes each image of James Bond - Daniel Patrick - to have different looking skin tones. All look pretty good!
It should be noted, that use of a lot of Brilliant Color makes skin tones less natural, as there seem to be less colors available, and therefore a flat (mottled?) look on skin tones as in not enough shades of those skin like colors.
Consider these two images, varying by the amount of Brilliant Color. The second one has BC at 10. Start with the shades in the hand holding the iPhone (or even the fingertips. Don't look for huge differences, but ones that make a difference:
Brilliant Color = 10
Brilliant Color = 6
Note, the difference in the hand. Also, you see a good deal more detail in the boy's hair on the right, with the lower BC, due to more natural looking contrast. Colors are also a touch over the top with BC at 10.
More images we like for considering skin tones:
Optoma GT720 Black Levels & Shadow Detail
Next, is the starship image from The Fifth Element. All the images are a good bit overexposed. This allows you to get a better handle on the black levels. If the starship's brightness is about the same, from image to image, then the projector with the blackest blacks in the letterbox and stars background, is the one with the blacker black performance. (A lot of bright stars in its own right may just reflect gamma differences. It's the blacks you want to be watching).
Viewsonic Pro8200 projector:
Sony VPL-HW15 (LCoS projector under $3K)
Vivitek H1080FD ($899)
BenQ W6000, BenQ's next step up, with better black levels.
Shadow Detail Performance
Our comparison, once again turns to the night train scene from Bond's Casino Royale.
As is common, projectors with relatively poor black level performance tend to do well at shadow detail. This is, if for no other reason, because the blacks and near blacks are so bright - due to the weak black level abilities. Thus, with everything "lightened" based on the the only slightly darker than medium gray blacks, shadow detail is everywhere.
One would almost be screaming from the rooftops "Awesome shadow detail", but for one thing. (Actually, I really don't think anyone would do that - for any projector - rooftops can be dangerous, probably doubly so for those who game all day and night).
OK, you already know what that one thing is. The GT720's black level performance is not great, not good, not even mildly impressive.
For your curiosity, and for general demonstration of blacks and shadow details, here's the GT720 taking on the usual other projectors, in the night train scene:
Ouch! The above image is the GT720, and boy is it washed out compared to all the others. Note the brightness of the letter boxing, even compared to the image right below, the more expensive, but still low cost, BenQ W1200 home entertainment projector.
As I had mentioned elsewhere, if movies are your thing, and gaming is second, this image above is a good indicator of why the GT720 probably isn't the best projector for you. On the other hand, if you are playing World of Warcraft, and find the dark areas too dark on many projectors, they're probably just dandy, if a little lacking in dynamics, with the GT720 game projector.
BenQ W1200 :
Sony VPL-HW15 (last year's $3K Sony projector)
Sharp XV-Z15000 (the 2D version of the XV-Z17000 3D projector):
Black Level and Shadow Detail Performance: GT720 Projector - Bottom Line
Lots of shadow detail, a fantastic amount, in fact. This is most helpful for games. Oh, however, I really would have liked to see better blacks. I've reduced the Brightness setting enough to crush some near blacks, to get some blacks vaguely resembling that of most entry level "regular" home entertainment projectors. Black level performance is more on par with some of the low cost all-in-one projectors, than anything stand alone and designed for home.
Optoma GT720 - Overall Color & Picture Quality
Tweak the GT720 and it performs reasonably well as a general home projector for TV, HDTV, sports and, of course movies. Color, using our settings is respectable. Even out of the box the GT720 is watchable, though most can do better.
This is an entry level priced 720p projector. As such, it's got its pluses and minuses. In some ways the picture isn't up to the older Optoma HD66 and HD71 projectors, but, once again, they are optimized for different uses.
The next sequence of images are all taken with the same exposure. You are looking at the different properties of the different pre-set modes:
Look, for folks who have never adjusted the color and other such settings on their TV, the GT720 will probably be considered just fine in its Cinema mode, or in User mode, if you try our provided settings.
A mix of additional images to show off the Optoma GT720 projector's abilities:
And here are a few assorted, additional images, some of which can be found on other recent reviews:
Optoma GT720 Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
Note, all HDTV images were photographed with either low to modest ambient light levels. We actually used a good deal of lighting, but the dark walls, ceiling and floor do absorb a great deal of the ambient light.
Optoma GT720 Projector: Bottom Line on HDTV Sports
Not bad at all, on sports. Oh, better blacks would produce a bit more sizzle even in those daytime football games and other sports, but, because most sports are devoid of really dark scenes, the GT720 does rather well. Oh, it lacks CFI - smooth motion, which many of us really like for sports, but, it does a nice job overall. The image is reasonably crisp as expected from single DLP projectors, even 720p projectors like this GT720.
What does make the GT720 stand out, is the brightness. With this projector capable of over 2000 lumens, it's got twice the punch of what we consider a typical home theater projector. That's a good amount of brightness for your favorite family room, bedroom, or wall somewhere.
Here's what the back of our room looked like for the higher ambient light shots: Shutters were mostly open. The ceiling you see, is a very flat, very dark blue, and still reflects a lot of daylight. In addition, the side wall window's shutters (closest to the screen) were also partially open, as shown below. So, with all the back windows letting in a lot of light to the rear of the room, plus a little from that side window, and as you can see below, there's still a very watchable overexposed image, although it is definitely taking a hit to the contrast and blacks. Immediately below that, is a second shot of the same coach, just an exposure to match the image, which makes the rest of the room look really dark, but more closely resembles what the picture actually looked like to view.
Now in the image below, the shutters are all pretty much closed, but still leaking light, and the recessed lights are off. Voila! This room is still no where's near dark, but the 2000 lumens provide a vibrant image for your sports and general HDTV viewing pleasure!
The GT720 does well on a different kind of sports as well. I'm talking Wii Sports, and therefore other similar console games. The short throw lens you a pretty large image when placed within 4-6 feet of your screen wall. That seems to work out well. Besides when playing two player games, players are to the left and right as well as behind the projector.