Optoma H27 – Overview

It’s the middle of summer (’05) and Optoma has just started shipping their new H27 home theater projector, which is intended to replace their highly regarded H31. First and most important possibly, is price. The H27 launched with a $1099 MAP (minimum advertised price), but stree price will be even lower.

It turns out, according to Optoma, that the H31 (already on the market for 9 months as of this writing) has been so successful, that they are continuing to sell it, while bringing in the H27 as well. The H27 offers a number of enhnacements over the H31, and a slightly lower price. Truth is, however, few home theater projectors sell briskly before the word gets out – in the form of reviews, so Optoma’s strategy makes sense for the next couple of months. Offering the same brightness as the H31 projector, the H27′s performance should ensure its position as not only a truly improved replacement for the H31, but as a strong contender as best home theater projector. Since you are going to ask, overall, I would recommend the H27 over the H31.

The Optoma H27 projector is a widescreen projector, with WVGA resolution. It claims 850 lumens and has two different contrast modes. The standard contrast is 2500:1, however for best performance there is a 4000:1 contrast ratio. This extremely high contrast ratio is the result of Optoma’s “AI” circuitry. Like a few other (top rated) projectors (Panasonic PT-AE700u, BenQ PE7700) the H27 projector is using frame by frame image adjustment to enhance picture quality, and Optoma H27 projector owners are benefiting from the results. The H27 uses the 854×480 Darkchip2 DLP processor, which is the heart of this projector’s performance.

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Note please, I have seen some online databases showing the contrast of the H27 as 2500:1 which means without the “AI” circuitry. This is misleading, as, in the same database, other projectors with AI- including the Panasonic AE700u are always listed with their contrast ratio based on AI turned on. This could be the fault of Optoma’s own preliminary data sheets, or confusion. I imagine other projectors that show their contrast ratio with AI on, would have truly dismal contrast specs otherwise.. So the bottom line – the H27 projector behaves most like other projectors claiming 4000:1 contrast ratio.

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Click to enlarge. SO close

Overall, the Optoma H27 DLP projector is very impressive, and it shares the same type of image quality – with rich vibrant colors, that has earned the higher resolution Optoma H57 and H78DC3 projectors, their Hot Product Awards.

Before we get into all of that, let’s start with the projector’s physical layout:

Starting with the basics, the Optoma H27 projector is an all white projector, (which means it will “hide well” ceiling mounted in rooms with whitish ceilings). Overall it has a few sculpted lines, but it is pretty basic looking. The beauty is in the image performance, not the styling.

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