Optoma HD8200 Projector Review

Optoma HD8200 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z3000

Pricing immediately becomes a big factor here. The Sanyo is the least expensive of the “ultra high contrast” projectors, selling for not much more than $2000 right now, and therefore a good 1/3 less than the Optoma.

The Sanyo PLV-Z3000′s black levels (weakest of the ultra high contrast 3LCD projectors) are likely just a tad better than those of the HD8200. I’d say close enough to be a non-issue.

Brightness is a split decision. The Sanyo, in its very best mode “Pure Cinema” (with all the “enhancements” turned off, is definitely dimmer than the HD8200. That worked out to 235 lumens vs. 525. The thing about the Sanyo is, that most will not choose Pure Cinema. Creative Cinema is going to be the logical choice for a true “best mode” and the Sanyo does much better there, with 373 lumens. Still no match for the HD8200, but getting pretty respectable.

The Sanyo is the quieter of the two projectors!

The tables are turned when you want to leave some lights on, for American Idol, CSI, or your favorite spectacular HDTV channel (Discovery HD, Palladia, Science HD, Travel HD, etc.), and of course sports. The Sanyo reigns supreme for this type of viewing, with 1046 measured lumens vs. 660. While the Optoma has the lumens for a pretty large screen (say 123″ diagonal) in best mode, in a fully darkened room, it really can’t deal with more than the absolute minimum amount of ambient light on the same sized screen. The Sanyo, while still far from the brightest in “brightest mode”, will tackle significantly more, but still modest ambient light.

In terms of overall picture quality, the advantage in skin tones goes to the Optoma projector. I was never quite satisfied with the color accuracy of the Sanyo, with a slight yellow-green shift. I imagine had we had the time to recalibrate, the Sanyo could do much better, and I would say close, but still, the Optoma does those skin tones extremely well. All considered, I have to give the picture quality advantage to the HD8200, despite that slight advantage in black levels that the Sanyo should demonstrate.

Optoma HD8200 vs. BenQ W5000

Very interesting! Nothing like two good DLP projectors going head to head. In this case however, the BenQ W5000 sells for far less (not much over $2000), and overall, seems to have more advantages.

Let’s start with brightness. In best mode, they are close enough – 482 (BenQ) vs. 525 (Optoma). That’s not enough difference to be a deal maker or breaker for either one. Moving to brightest mode, however, and the BenQ has a real advantage. Mind you, the BenQ in brightest mode is strictly average, but it’s still 40+% brighter than the Optoma, and can handle a larger screen nicely with modest ambient light present.

Both the HD8200 and W5000 produce very sharp images. While they are close enough, in my opinion, to not matter, I’d probably have to give the BenQ the very slightest advantage.

Audible noise is a different story. True, both are DLP’s but the BenQ manages to be the quieter of the two. At full power, my guess is probably a 3-4 db difference favoring BenQ.

Even though the BenQ has only a 1.2:1 zoom compared to the Optoma’s 1.5:1, the W5000 still wins the battle for placement flexibility. BenQ’s lens shift is viable for shelf mounting the projector, Optoma’s is not. BenQ, to make this possible has a longer throw lens than most other DLP projectors with 1.2:1 zooms, and can be placed about the same maximum distance back from a given sized screen as the Optoma, but can’t be placed anywhere near as close.

In terms of black levels, I really would have loved to place these two side by side. The HD8200 technically has the better DLP processor for black levels, but the BenQ’s iris system offsets much of that gain. I’d have to say that the two are pretty much comparable, except that the iris action is more visible with the HD8200, which will turn off many folks who are critical in their viewing demands.

Both projectors do a really good job on skin tones and overall picture quality, both are DLP’s and have that “DLP” look.

Bottom line – the HD8200 is going to be hard to rationalize due to the much higher price, but of course, it is local dealer only, and those projectors always cost more.

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