I went into my secret MAN lab and went to work. I decided to link up a garden variety Samsung Blu-Ray player to both the 42” JVC flat display and The Optoma GT760 running both simultaneously just for a visual comparison while I had the room lights still on. I selected a level of room lighting typical to what you experience watching TV on any evening around the house. The soft lighting measured at approximately 38 lux (approx 3.5 foot candles). I played with the light settings alternating between that and a bright room of about 50 lux (about 4.65 fc.). Finally, I cranked the room lighting down to 13 lux (1.2 fc.) which is ideal for quality flick-time or geeking out to a tall order of Modern Combat 4 with a side of GTA-5.
Playing with Brightness and Color Modes
I alternated between different brightness and mode settings. As a general rule, a projector out of the box will deliver about 60-70% of the stated brightness. But when you’re talking 3400 lumens, that’s still pretty bright even if you are only getting 60 to 70 percent. There are three different brightness settings; BRIGHT, Eco, and Eco+. BRIGHT is maximum power. Eco reigns back on the output to dim the brightness, lower energy consumption and extend your lamp life. Eco+ automatically detects brightness levels and adjusts them accordingly thus prolonging lamp life even further. I tried all 3 and although I found none of them to diminish my gaming experience per se, I still have to give the nod to the Bright setting if I had to make a choice here.
To get a more accurate assessment, I recorded the lumens readings for the various modes on BRIGHT. While the little Scotty’s inside the GT760 were screaming “I’m giving it all I can Captain!” I pushed to see how close to 3400 lumens I could get.
I started off using a garden-variety portable 1.0 gain matte white projection surface. I did this on purpose since your average Joe/Jane-consumer who buys this is not going to accompany it with a projection screen that costs more than the projector does. I looked beyond the comparatively poor video performance of my laptop and the $19.99 “cheapo-mart” DVD player to recognize this setup as an inexpensive and honestly, impressive way to entertain the kids. I ran the Big Lebowski in true college fashion and it looked great for what it was…even off my laptop drive. However, I could only take so much of the mickey-mouse media players for so long before trading up to my blu-ray and Playstation.
I tried running various modes in moderate room lighting. As expected, I got the best overall picture clarity (IMHO) on blackboard mode because of its sheer brightness to compensate for moderate room lighting.
Although the picture dimmed somewhat on movie mode, it’s a non-issue as long as the other people in the room don’t mind you dimming the lights just a touch.
Color balance and clarity was honestly terrific. The picture was so clear that one of my gamer buddies mistook it at first glance for a 1080. In an aircraft scene for Grand Theft Auto V, I was honestly impressed with how clear the graphics were coming across. Likewise, I wasn’t ever a casualty to enemy fire on Modern Combat because the contrast sucked and I couldn’t spot the guy in the shadows. I was a casualty because charging into a room full of enemy troops while armed with only a sniper rifle is a stupid move. In addition to really good picture quality, the contrast was good enough for me to see detail in the dark images and not have a diminished gaming experience.