Posted on February 26, 2019 By Nikki Zelinger
Optoma EH330UST Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise
The Optoma EH330UST 3,600 lumens, but, no surprise, it did not meet its claim. This is typical of projectors in both the business/education and home theater markets – most measure up to 25% below claim. We don’t really pay much attention to whether or not a projector meets its claim – we care much more about how the projector performs. In this case, it didn’t come in much under claim – 2,966 in Bright Mode. The next brightest mode is actually DICOM SIM., which measured at 2,770 lumens.
Presentation Mode measured at 2,199, which is enough to combat moderate ambient light. In the image above, I have the same image projected in a fully darkened room, and with my curtains thrown open, casting lots of ambient light on the screen. You can see here that, though washed out, all of the information is still visible.
Cinema Mode is actually brighter than Presentation by a couple hundred lumens, measuring 2,440. Game Mode came in just behind Cinema, at 2,372 lumens. sRGB Mode measured just 1,477 lumens. Bright Mode, measured in ECO Mode, came in at a respectable 1,970 lumens. Most of these modes are able to handle a fair amount of ambient light.
The contrast claim of the Optoma EH330UST is 20,000:1. Again, it’s not as important to us whether or not a projector meets its claim – in this case, we don’t even have a way to measure contrast – it’s all about performance. Contrast relates to black levels, that is, how close the blacks are to true black. This is much more important on home entertainment and home theater projectors, as those are used for watching movies, which have dark scenes, and therefore need some level of black level performance.
Business and education projectors don’t need that. What they need is more brightness, and that generally reduces black level performance – generally, not always. Some business and education projectors have pretty good black levels, like the Sony I recently reviewed (they included some of their features that they use on their home theater projectors, and I was really wowed by that one). But, for most, if you know the blacks are at least trying to be black on a business or education projector, then that is good enough.
A color image of the black levels.
A black and white image of the black levels.
In the case of the Optoma, I’d call the black levels entry level. They’re a sort of grey tone, or, as you can see in the photo of the Bigelow rendering with a space background above, a dark blue. The next photo in the slider is the same image, but in monochrome. This is to further demonstrate what the black levels are like. Keep in mind that we overexpose these images so that you can see a more accurate representation than what our DSLRs would portray at a normal exposure. I overexposed these images to the point that they closely match what I saw on the screen.
Let’s talk audible noise! Audible noise is the amount of fan noise you can hear when the projector is on. Optoma claims the audible noise of the EH330UST is 33db at full power, 25db in ECO Mode. That’s about as loud as my home theater projector, which is to say, not loud at all. Sure, you’ll notice a hum, but it’s the kind of sound that disappears into the background the more you hear it – like air conditioning.
The projector will likely be wall mounted, and close to the screen surface. I seriously doubt any of those viewing in a classroom or conference room would be able to discern the noise, especially if, like most classrooms or conference rooms, there is some level of ambient noise. The presenter may be able to hear it, but it wouldn’t be loud enough to be distracting. And, if you’re showing a video or documentary, or your presentation has audio, you won’t be able to hear it at all.
That does it for our review of the Optoma EH330UST ultra short throw business and education projector! On the next page, I summarize everything you learned in the review, provide some insight as to the pros and cons to the EH330UST. See you on the last page!
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