Optoma GT720 Projector Review Summary
Time for a short summary of the Optoma GT720 projector's pros and cons and capabilities.
7/13/11 - Art Feierman
Optoma GT720 Projector - The Bottom Line
With a typical $699 street price and a $749 MSRP, this is one of the least expensive projectors around, targeted for the home. In addition, it can easily double as a good basic business portable projector. (Tax write-off anyone?)
Before I summarize, let's talk award. That the GT720 is a competent gaming projector is of no doubt. While our gamers indicate that there's better around, especially for non-gaming, both think there's a lot of bang for the buck at the Optoma GT720's street price.
I have been stumped: Does the GT720 deserve a Hot Product Award, or a Special Interest Award? As it turns out, I've opted for the conservative choice of a Special Interest award. It's not that the GT720 may not deserve a Hot Product Award, but our criteria would call for this to be one of the very best gaming projectors under $1000, to qualify, and it's only the first we've reviewed for gaming.
As a result, without any other game projectors to compare the Optoma GT720 to, I'm not comfortable with the Hot Product Award. Sure, after reviewing 3-4 more gaming projectors, hindsight might say - give it a Hot Product award, but, then I've got an ace in the hole, which is that the newer GT750 projector should be in, and review posted before the end of of August. And with the Optoma GT720 and at least one other projector considered for gaming by then, it will be time to start giving out HOT Product awards for the strongest gaming projectors.
By Thanksgiving, look for us to give out our first specific gaming awards: Best In the Game, and Best In the Game - Runner-up. By that time we will have seen at least four or five game projectors!
The GT720, is, of course, first and foremost, a gaming projector! Both Pete and Scott, our gaming projector bloggers, find that the GT720 does very nicely. Both have much more expensive projectors, yet see real value, and ability, for about 1/3 of what their projectors cost.
This is the first official "gaming projector" (or any projector) we've considered for its gaming abilities. Read Pete's, and Scott's full blogs about the GT720, if you are into gaming, and want to learn what a couple of heavy hitters think!
One more time, for your convenience - here are two summaries from our serious gamers, about the GT720's game performance:
Pete summarizes the GT720 projector as a gaming projector:
The Optoma GT720 is a fabulous choice for gamers on a budget. It throws an extremely bright and respectably sharp image (720p). It’s made for a shelf mount configuration, like most gamers use, and it also is notably portable - both because of its size and its built-in-speakers. I could easily see myself packing the GT720 up (in the included travel backpack) for a night in a friend’s house or taking it “down the hall” for a movie night in the lounge. Unfortunately, we did not test the GT720 for 3D gaming, although future game projectors will be, as soon as we are set up. There are better choices for home theater enthusiasts, but the GT720 is great for gamers who have limited space and are on a budget. - Pete
Scott S's two cents about the GT720 as a game projector:
The Optoma GT720 is bright, easy to set up, has built in sound, lag is a non-issue, and the best part...it is portable! This makes it a fun, and capable gaming projector that is easy to transport to a friend's house. Another huge plus for motion control gamers out there is that the Optoma GT720 is a short throw projector. You can set it up in front of you on your coffee table and you will never walk in front of the projector's light path. While I loved this projector for its gaming abilities and portability, I felt it was a weak performer when it comes to movie viewing. Though it would be passable for the occasional movie. The black level leaves much to be desired, and the color always seemed a bit "off" to me, though the GT720 wasn't calibrated until after Pete and I looked at it (see Art's comments). This projector is affordable, portable, and very capable when it comes to gaming. I would definitely recommend the GT720 for those purposes. If you intend on using it primarily for movies and television viewing you may want to look elsewhere. - Scott
GT720 Brightness: Ahh, I do love the GT720's brightness. With Brilliant Color opened up to 10, the projector is a light canon, with multiple modes measuring over 1800 lumens, and the brightest, breaking 2100 lumens! That's a good amount of horsepower to cut through ambient light in your favorite room. Consider that the average home theater projector offers about 1000 lumens it its brightest mode. Ok, the GT720 is no where's near up to dealing with sunlight, but some modest lighting won't destroy the picture.
Look folks, if movies or sports are your thing, and gaming is just a curiousity, you can do better, but if the reverse is true, then the Optoma GT720 looks to be a good place to start your life as a gamer with a real (immersive) display - aka projector! Movies just aren't this projectors strength, but it does extremely well on sports and TV with ambient light present.
Wireless needs mentioning. The GT720 claims wireless PC abilities with an optional module. We did not receive this module, and therefore could not test it. It is there for PC presenting, primarily, and I consider it a legacy feature, so to speak from the GT720's beginnings as a cross-over portable business projector.
The Very Bottom Line on the GT720 projector:
Just got off the phone with Pete. As he put it, the Optoma GT720 is very nicely targeted at younger gamers - from kids to college. Consider their marketing - including the black and red backpack the projector comes packaged in.
Pete thinks it's very nicely, and reasonably priced, for the job it does, and that's as a game projector first. He's looking at the BenQ W1200 right now, in terms of game performance (it's not marketed as a gaming projector, but as a "step up" from entry level 1080p home entertainment projector). As an overall projector - not just for gaming, Pete already says, definitely a step up, but why not? After all, the BenQ W1200 sells for almost exactly 2x the GT720 projector's street price, and it can't do any 3D, let alone 3D gaming. In other words, Pete might really like the W1200 as a gaming projector, but he understands that budgets are king, and sees a strong position for the GT720, and for that matter, the just announced GT7750, which for the extra money, provides Blu-ray 3D compatibility and other 1080p 3D functionality.
Above, GT720 filling a 100" 16:9 screen with moderate ambient light in the room yet only barely washed out.
Optoma GT720 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Optoma GT720 Projector: Pros
- For the price of a 42" 3D LCDTV, you can have 90" 100", 120", or even larger, for game playing. Talk about immersive!
- Both of our gaming / projector bloggers find that the GT720 delivers as a gaming platform. No lag, good shadow detail. While consensus is picture doesn't look as good as Epson projectors selling for 3x the price, unlike the Epson's, no lag whatsoever.
- Extremely bright projector whether for game playing, movies, or sports
- Wide range of Brilliant Color settings allows you to trade off brightness for more realistic color handling - smoother skin tones
- 3D ready - supports some, not all standards
- nVidia 3D and DLP-link 3D supported
- Decent color after calibration
- Exceptional shadow detail performance - reveals all the details in dark scenes including games
- Looks very good on sports
- Short throw design works well for gaming, putting the projector between you and the screen
- A portable game player. If you aren't convinced: The 6.5 lb. GT720 comes packed in a black and red backpack
- Built in sound does a decent job
- An Audio output jack allows external audio, and especially the ability to hook up a powered subwoofer, which should really shake the house while playing FPS games (first person shooters)
- Wireless capabilities
- Easy to use menus
- 3D works as advertised! In addition devices like Viewsonic's VP3D1 and Optoma's XL-3D allow the GT720 to work with Blu-ray 3D, and multiple other 1080p formats.
- A very reasonable value, and reasonably versatile 2D or 3D gaming projector for under $700.
Optoma GT720 Projector: Cons
- Black level performance is seriously weak, (however that turns out to also be a plus - in shadow detail, expecially for gamers)
- Color could be better in 2D, but acceptable for typical buyers (try our color settings!)
- 3D color is off more, but that seems to be pretty standard
- Glasses not included for the price
- Unable to play 1080p 3D content, including Blu-ray 3D without an external processor such as the Optoma XL-3D, or the Viewsonic VP3D1 ($399 and $299, but both currently ship with one pair of glasses)
- For those seeking Blu-ray 3D, etc. the just announced and slightly more expensive GT750 may be the better solution
- Remote Control: Very odd layout, no backlight
That's it folks. Grab your fav computer game, or console game, put your GT720 in its back pack and head over to a friends to do battle!
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