Optoma HD72 Projector Review

We have another winner. Yes, the HD72 picks up a Hot Product Award.

Is it the very best projector for everyone in this price range? No, there are a number of excellent competitors, but this Optoma, definitely has a great number of strengths. It’s shortcomings, by comparison, mostly relate to whether is will work with your room and placement requirements. This is due to the typical limitations of DLP projectors in terms of ergonomics, when compared with LCD projectors.

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I am especially impressed with this projector. I have always liked what Optoma has done with their home theater projectors, when it comes to their image quality (but they all tend to need at least a basic calibration to really excel.) This one I will have no trouble recommending to friends, ergonomic issues aside.

If the HD72 will work in your room enviroment, relating to placement and mounting, you are looking at a great overall value. If, due to the limited zoom lens range or lack of lens shift, or the large offset angle, this Optoma is impractical in your room, look to one of the other projectors (probably LCD) that offer the flexibility you need.

The Optoma, though, is the brightest projector, in its class, or, at least, noticeably brighter than those we have tested. That alone, is a real plus for many potential buyers, including, those that watch with a little light on, those that like sports, gaming, etc., in a non-darkened room, and, even those with fully darkened rooms who want a particularly large screen.

The HD72, for example did fine on my 128″ Firehawk. By comparison the Panasonic PT-AE900u was marginal in Cinema2 mode on the same large screen, and the Sanyo Z4 definitely lacked the power to fill the screen in its best mode. Only the BenQ PE7700 which is close to the HD72 in brightness could also handle the 128″ screen without difficulty in its best mode.

Image quality is excellent, black levels are very good, and the color dynamics (thanks to TI’s “BrilliantColor” I assume?) are particularly impressive.

Pros

  • Overall image quality
  • Plenty of Image brightness, both in “best” (Cinema) mode and in Bright mode
  • Color accuracy, with minor adjustments, excellent flesh tones. Of special note, the bright mode picture quality is better than most.
  • Easy to navigate menus
  • Adjustable front, and rear feet
  • Lamp can be replaced without unmounting projector, also it accepts a tripod mount.
  • Image sharpness is better than most in this price range
  • “Brilliant Color” technology offers an easy way to adjust the image dynamics to meet user preferences
  • Two digital inputs (one HDMI, one DVI-I) note if you want to hook up an analog computer signal, you would need to use the DVI-I input
  • Remote control layout, and brightly lit keys
  • Lens offset lets you mount the projector above the top of screen or below the bottom of screen
  • 16:9 or 16:10 capabiliities for full support of XGA resolution, makes this the best choice for doubling as a business projector – tax write-off anyone?
  • Digital Image shift, its’ nice when watching DVD’s to move the image down and not have a letterbox at the bottom (just the top).

Cons

  • Limited range on zoom lens (typical for DLP projectors in this class/price range)
  • No lens shift (also typical for DLP projectors in this class/price range)
  • Remote control is weak, in terms of range
  • Using zoom control knocks projector out of focus, requiring refocus. (Of course once your projector is setup, zoom set, and focused, you aren’t likely to touch it again, unless you are using the HD72 as a portable. A Con, but no big deal!
  • Lens offset may not work for people with low ceiling rooms and large screens
  • I would like to see multiple discreet user savable settings
  • 4X color wheel speed – this may have effect on just a few, but others in this price range sport 5X wheels

Typical

  • 2000 hours in full power mode, 3000 in Low power, but most people will use AI On, and lamp life will fall between those two numbers.
  • Side venting allows for shelf mounting
  • User Manual – could have better explanation as to what many controls actually do
  • Fan noise, not the quietest, not the noisiest. Note, with the most typically used settings (AI on, or bright), the projector runs at its noisest, but it is quieter than most other projectors in their full power modes.

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