Optoma HD25-LV Home Theater Projector Review

Optoma HD25-LV Projector Pricing

Optoma HD25-LV Pricing:  Now for a friendly warning – know what you are shopping for. Things can be confusing out there if shopping for an Optoma HD25-LV projector. As is normal, I do take a look around the web to figure out what street prices are (from authorized dealers). This time around, on various shopping sites, there seem to be two groups of prices – a little under $1000 and right around $1300. Folks the second number is right.  After following 3 different sub-$1000 price statements to the appropriate dealers, in all cases they were advertising the lower cost, lower power Optoma HD25, not the HD25-LV.  Consider:  LV is probably an acronym for Large Venue, and in this case that’s because a standard HD25 is rated only 2000 lumens vs. 3200 lumens for the high brightness HD25-LV that we’re reviewing here. In my checking, it was sites like Overstock.com and the former Buy.com that were obviously having their prices listed for the wrong projector on sites like Bing Shopping, and Google’s paid image banners.  On Google they show A $900+ price from B&H, but go to B&H, and it’s the lower power HD25, with about 40% less claimed brightness. This Optoma projector is fairly small, and has built in sound, rather hefty sound at that, for a projector.  It comes with a very brightly backlit remote (in LED blue), whereas many competitors around this price have remotes that aren’t backlit, which I consider to always be at least a minor nuisance. Next are a few highlights, the basic specs, and then a few of the Optoma HD25-LV projector’s special features covered below.  On the next pages we’ll look at the projector hardware, then image quality, performance and more.

Gaming with the Optoma HD25-LV

The “LV” is a step up in performance from most entry level projectors, but it is still pretty basic in terms of performance features.  As is typical for almost all under $1500 projectors, for example, it lacks CFI – Creative Frame Interpolation, for smooth motion – which is particularly nice for sports viewing (but hardly critical).

Gaming with the Optoma HD25-LV

This projector should have very fast lag times as is typical of most DLP projectors. I will post lag times shortly.  Expect no issues here, gamers should be most pleased.  I base that assumption on previous Optoma projectors we’ve measured.

Optoma HD25-LV 3D Performance

I must admit to having watched only a couple of hours of 3D, far less than usual. That said, there are two ways of tackling 3D with this HD25-LV.  You can use DLP link or the VESA 3D.  Expect better preformance from the newer VESA 3D, which BTW, uses RF – radio frequency, which is generally a real plus.  Understand, this is not the first DLP projector we’ve reviewed that no longer is happy to settle for DLP-Link performance.  We also reviewed the over 2X the price Mitsubishi HC8000D which offered more brightness and more “pop” with the newer scheme, and matching glasses.

HD25-LV Lamp Life

Optoma claims three different lamp lives.  Full power claims 3500 hours  – definitely not bad.  Eco claims 5000 hours – very good, and Eco+ which is about throwing more smarts at Eco mode (very common on new DLP projectors), takes that up to 6000.

Let’s say that lamp life shouldn’t be a problem for most.  20 hours a week is only about 1000 hours a year.  If you live in California, your use of electric will likely cost you more over the life of the projector than lamp replacements.

1.2:1 Zoom Lens

The HD25-LV is still pretty entry level in 2D, and in design. A 1.2:1 zoom lens is typical of low cost DLP projectors. The lens is manual focus and zoom. More on placement, lens offset, on the Physical Tour page.

Overall, however, with a minimal amount of zoom, and no lens shift, placement flexibility has to be considered limited, although typical at the price point, unless you go with a 3LCD projector instead of DLP.

Let’s just say the HD25-LV produces a rather sharp image for a low cost projector. If you focus it at the dead center, though, it will be a little soft in the corners.  Ideally, try to get the best focus about 1/3 of the way from the center to the left or right edges.  That should get you an image that seems very sharp throughout.

HD25-LV Dynamic Black

Wow!  I’ve been dissing Optoma’s Dynamic Black and ImageAI features for years.  I’ve done that because I’ve felt that these features are just too noticeable when watching movies.  That’s especially the case in terms of dark scenes or fast changing mid to dark, and dark to mid scene transitions.  Not any more.  The HD25-LV’s implementation of their Dynamic Black which is frame by frame lamp dimming, is the best I’ve seen from them to date, and a major improvement from the past.

Like a good dynamic iris it’s almost always not noticed.  Still lamp dimming is slower than the speeds most dynamic irises work at, but in this case, I only notice a couple of favorite scenes where it was on my radar, and never as bad as I’m used to.  Look out though on credits that fade, you can really watch the background brighten and dim.  But, hey, we’re talking credits, so who cares?

In other words, unlike the last 3-4 Optoma projectors I’ve reviewed, I recommend using Dynamic Black, not turning it off.  The benefit of using it is obvious, with some of the best black level performance around under $1500, and far better than most.  With Dynamic Black engaged, the Optoma HD25-LV projector does not have “entry level blacks”, rather it has very respectable blacks that are a key strength for the price, and no doubt justify their claim of 20,000:1 contrast (On/Off).

OK, are you ready for quick tour of the projector?  We’ll also check out the remote control, and most of the menus. After that, it will be time to discuss how good the picture quality is.  Proceed!

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