Optoma TX700 Digital Projector Review

I had great expectations for the TX-700 when I first saw it at Infocomm (June 2006). It appeared to be a very small, “featherweight” class (under 2 kilograms/4.5lbs.), very endowed with features, yet with a very low price point, and a good warranty. For the most part, my reviewing of this projector confirmed my initial impressions.

In fact, I am very impressed in almost all areas that matter, but one. That is the color handling. I definitely don’t expect DLP business projectors to match the rich saturated, and more accurate colors that LCD projectors are known for.

 

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Of course, there are only a handful of LCD projectors on the market that are this light, and none that I can think of that are any smaller. Those that come closest in size and weight, are more expensive. Had I not included the TX-700 in this grouping of six projectors for the comparison review, I would have been even more impressed.

 

The TX-700 does have trouble with bright reds and yellows as DLP business projectors are expected to. My only concern lies in that the other three DLP projectors in the comparison review, did do a visibly better job on both reds and yellows. True, only two of them were significantly better, but if you are really concerned about bright reds and yellows, you’ll have to consider that the big trade-off against price, since the TX700 is definitely less expensive than the other XGA projectors in the comparison (DLP or LCD). Please consider, though, over the years, probably a million DLP projectors or more have been sold to business and education, and very few have come back because of the handling of reds and yellows.

And, of course, price is almost always a key determining factor, especially if you are considering an “entry level” XGA projector, the assumption is that your budget is limited.

So, let’s talk street pricing for a moment. I do not do a thorough search of online selling prices for my reviews, and when I do look at pricing, I tend to keep it to prices from direct, authorized dealers, rather than non-authorized ones which often save you a few bucks more, but aren’t in a position to support you as well, if at all. A quick look at the time of this review, found authorized dealers showing prices around $1000, and I had to look no further than one of those dealers advertising on our site, quoting $1099, and throwing in a free lamp, which most value at $300. As a result, the TX-700 definitely qualifies as an under $1000 value, possible significantly lower, and perhaps, on average just slightly more than the InFocus IN26, so almost the least expensive of the 5 XGA projectors in the comparison.

Taking the price into consideration, and a couple of nice touches, including the really compact carry case, the inclusion of a DVI-I input for true digital sources (or you can use it for a 2nd analog computer input), I remain overall impressed with the Optoma TX-700 and extremely close to granting it our Hot Product Award. I still think it’s a great value, but I would have just liked to see the color handling to be just a bit better.

Pros

  • Very good brightness for it’s size, weight and price
  • Extremely portable! Small, and only 4.4 lbs.
  • Capable of handling small rooms under full florescent lighting, and much larger screens with moderate lighting.
  • Excellent inputs, including 2 computer inputs, one a DVI-I input which can handle either digital or analog, and a 2nd, traditional analog computer input, for extra flexibility
  • Monitor out for working with desktop computers
  • Good compression technology
  • Noise levels quiet enough for small room use
  • Very good, friendly menu system
  • Good remote control
  • Very good on video
  • Better than average warranty
  • Excellent Price/Performance

Cons

  • Bright reds and yellows need work, typical for DLP projectors, but other recent DLP models do a better job.
  • Image sharpness is the softest of the projectors in the comparison
  • Zoom lens has very limited range
  • Remote not backlit (typical for this class of projector)

Typical Performance

  • Documentation
  • Noise levels
  • Startup and cool down times

Final thoughts on the TX700 projector

First, considering the low price, this is a excellent alternative to slightly less expensive lower resolution SVGA projectors (the true “entry level” projectors). I’m a big fan of recommending that people only buy SVGA, if they are using SVGA sources – which mostly means K-12 classrooms. The rest of us have laptops or desktops of at least XGA resolution, and probably should avoid SVGA, unless the budget allows no choice.

There are a number of other XGA projectors selling for prices similar to the TX700. I should note, however, that most of them are either a). Not as bright, or b). noticeably larger and heavier (the 6-9 pound projector class), where you’re not paying for small size.

Overall, the TX700 provides a sharp image, neutral whites, a good warranty (my experience with Optoma, previously as a dealer, found them to be very good in terms of support), compact size and very good price performance. There are other projectors which can outperform the TX-700 without costing a whole lot more, including some from Optoma themselves, but choosing the TX-700, you get impressive performance and excellent flexibility in terms of inputs, for an extremely reasonable price!

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