Optoma HD20 Projector Review

Optoma HD20 Projector Brightness

The HD20 is a bit dissapointing in brightness, but not in a serious way. It’s not based on our measurements, as the HD20 is brighter than most in best mode (Cinema), including most more expensive projectors, and about average in its brightest (Bright) mode.

The dissapointment comes from the Optoma claim of 1700 lumens. Now, most companies tend to overstate their brightness, and often significantly. That said, let’s say that Optoma may have gotten a bit carried away, since it measured almost 40% less than their claim. (15% – 25% isn’t that unusual, and it’s rather uncommon to find a projector that beats its marketing claim).

Ultimately, though, we measured an impressive 701 lumens in our calibrated Cinema mode (User mode). Bright mode, measured 996 lumens (with just minor adjustments). Both numbers are post calibration measurements. Actually, using out of the box settings, Cinema mode was dimmer, though insignificantly, at 695 lumens

In truth, one can make the projector brighter. I ended up increasing contrast from a recommended setting of 44 to 54, which definitely put an extra 100+ lumens on the screen, but was definitely starting to crush some near-white highlights. Still, this worked well when fighting a bit too much ambient light.

These were the measurements for all modes, Pre-calibration. Shown along with the lumens are the color temperature measurements for white (100 IRE):

Cinema 695 lumens @ 6327K
Bright 996 lumens @ 7339K
Photo 683 lumens @ 8148K
Reference 747 lumens @ 6212K
User 747 lumens @ 6248K

Going from mid-point on the zoom to full telephoto (it’s really not far to go) drops the brightness by about 7.5%. Going from mid-point to full wide angle increases brightness by 6.5% In other words, place the projector where it fits best, and don’t worry about losing a few lumens (or gaining them).

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Optoma HD20 Sharpness

Today’s single-chip DLP projectors are typically a little bit sharper than most 3LCD or LCoS projectors, due to the other technologies being 3 chip devices. And with that, there’s always at least a tiny bit of misconvergence to unsharpen the image. The Optoma HD20 projector, as expected, does provide a very sharp image. Some DLP projectors are a touch sharper, and one recently reviewed, the Sharp XV-Z15000, seems similar, but the Z15000 has more trouble with edge to edge sharpness than most others. That is to say, both the Sharp and Optoma projectors will look very sharp at the point where you have focused it, but look towards the corners, and the HD20 would hold its sharpness better than the Sharp.

Optoma HD20
Sanyo PLV-Z3000
Panasonic PT-AE3000
Samsung SP-A600
BenQ W5000
InFocus X10
Optoma HD20
+Sanyo PLV-Z3000

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