Optoma HD806 Projector Review

How does the Optoma HD806 compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market?

This section compares the Optoma HD806 home theater projector to the competition. Here you will find our impressions of the Optoma projector as it stacks up to existing projectors we have reviewed, and a couple that are about to ship, and not yet reviewed.

HD806 vs. Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB

Click to enlarge. SO close

True, the Epson is officially discontinued this month (12/2008), but one can expect them to be available at some dealers for the next few months. The pricing on the Epson closeout puts it no higher than the Optoma’s pricing.

The Epson, my favorite “lower cost” 1080p projector for the last year, may not have anywhere near the brightness in best movie mode as the HD806, but can match it lumen for lumen in brightest mode. The Optoma will have the more color accurate picture when both are at maximum lumens, but that’s when it’s less critical. The Optoma has a bit sharper image.

While we see the HD806 as a family room projector where at least a little ambient light is almost always present, and moderate amounts are common, we see the Epson as projector equally at home in a fully darkened room as a family room.

Click Image to Enlarge

The one area where movie watchers might favor the Optoma is for large screen use. True, Epson has multiple movie modes, and Theater has a fair amount of lumens, even in that mode, about 125 inch diagonal is about as far as you can push it without going to the lower image quality bright modes. The Optoma, on the other hand, in its best mode, would hardly consider a 128″ screen a challenge to fill, if the room is fully darkened.

That said, the Epson has phenomenal black level performance so highly prized for movie viewing, while the Optoma isn’t bad, with its (for most) too noisy to use dynamic iris on, but with the dynamic iris off, it’s not even remotely in the game, compared to the Home Cinema 1080 UB.

Placement flexibility is an Epson strength, and their two year warranty comes with an overnight replacement program, compared to the Optoma’s standard two year warranty.

Optoma HD806 vs. Mitsubishi HC5500

The Mitsubishi’s impressively bright (compared to most) best mode of over 600 lumens isn’t even in the ballpark when compared to the HD806 which is at least twice as bright. When you need maximum lumens, the Optoma doesn’t get any brighter than best mode, while the Mitsubishi jumps to 1061 lumens, still less than 2/3 the brightness. Of course we measure 3LCD projectors (HC5500) with the zoom at mid-point. If you ceiling mount the HC5500 at the closest position, you’ll get an extra couple hundred lumens, but it still comes up short.

Both projectors are roughly the same street price, but target a different home audience, with the Mitsubishi a very good movie projector in dark rooms on average sized screens, and the Optoma being a “light cannon” for HDTV/TV and Sports viewing.

Both have two year warranties. The Mitsubishi has two additional advantages. If you don’t need the all the lumens it offers for movie viewing, its low power lamp mode extends lamp life to 5000 hours. The other advantage, is of course, the huge difference in placement flexibility that is so typical when you put a 3LCD projector up against a DLP projector.

Optoma HD806 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z700

The Sanyo is far less expensive as the least expensive 1080p projector around, and it, being a 3LCD projector, wins the placement flexibility battle hands down. Black level performance between these two probably isn’t too far apart, even with the Optoma’s noisy dynamic iris turned off.

When push comes to shove, though, it’s a very bright Optoma HD806 vs. a Sanyo projector that is well below average in brightness. Other than from a price standpoint, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would have both of these on their short list, considering the strengths of the Sanyo for movie watching and the Optoma for bright viewing of sports and TV.

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