Posted on September 14, 2018 By Nikki and Chris Kahl
Optoma ProScene ZU660 Projector Review – Performance: Brightness, Contrast, Audible Noise
As mentioned, the Optoma ProScene ZU660 has six color modes. Though it did not meet its 6,000 lumen claim (many projectors don’t hit claim, instead measuring in at up to 25% below!), it did measure within the acceptable percentage below, and is plenty bright for most applications, even those with some pretty serious ambient light.
Below, you’ll find two stacked images. The first image is of the ProScene ZU660 projecting in a fully darkened room, and the second is of another image from the same scene, but projected with the curtains open and bright light pouring into the living room, where I test all projectors. These photos were taken in Movie Mode, which is not even the brightest mode, and still handled that ambient light like a champ! Now, obviously, this looks better in a fully darkened room, but you can still see everything pretty clearly.
The brightest mode, called Bright, measured at 4,806 lumens. The next brightest mode – Blending – came in at 4,361 lumens. If you recall from the previous page, Bright Mode had better color than the less-bright Blending Mode, which works in your favor if you’ve got a lot of ambient light to deal with, such as may be the case in either a museum exhibit or a small entertainment venue (stage lighting).
A quick note if you’re using this projector for an entertainment venue – if you mount the lights behind the projector, and do your best to keep the lights from directly hitting your screen surface, you’ll have a better time with your projections.
Presentation Mode and DICOM SIM. measured rather close to one another, with Presentation coming in at 3,889 lumens, while DICOM SIM. (x-ray films) measured at 3,833 lumens. Presentation will likely be the most used of the brightest modes, as it has the best color of these higher measurements. Still, in a pinch, even Bright has pretty good color compared to some other projectors’ brightest modes, and with the Color Management System, I’m sure you could get even better color out of any of the modes on the ZU660.
The final two modes are Movie and sRGB. These two modes have generally the same color, with minor differences, but a huge difference in brightness. Movie Mode measured at 2,750, and sRGB only measured at 1,694. I would choose Movie Mode over sRGB for that alone, but 1,694 lumens can handle some moderate ambient light on my 92” screen. The large the screen, though, the less bright the projector will seem. Keep that in mind when choosing your modes.
The contrast ratio of the Optoma ZU660 is 2,000,000:1 with ExtremeBlack enabled. Without ExtremeBlack enabled, the projector does about as good on black level performance as any high brightness commercial projector, which is to say – average. Blacks take on more of a dark grey, which is good for dark shadow detail – you can see more detail in dark areas of the image.
However, blacks aren’t black. This is hardly an issue in the business and education world, but worth noting because Optoma has implemented their ExtremeBlack function, which deepens the blacks. A nice feature if you’re looking for a commercial projector that has black levels to rival, and perhaps beat, some of the 4K UHD projectors in the home market. Granted, those projectors aren’t the best in terms of black level performance, but I am impressed with the ZU660’s nonetheless.
I included a photo below from Journey to Space, showing the ZU660’s black level performance in Movie Mode. The blacks you see in this photo are slightly darker than what you’ll see in person, but are a pretty good representation. I cropped it so that you can see the difference between the projected image and the black surrounding it, for your reference.
Optoma only provides an audible noise claim for their ECO Mode on the ProScene ZU660, which is 34db. Not bad – that’s in and around what many home theater projectors claim. Though I could hear the fan, with audio, it didn’t bother me even though my head was right by it. I had Chris take the photos for this, and he didn’t seem to think the projector was all that loud either.
However, those brighter modes that do not use ECO will be louder. I didn’t notice much of a difference, and most likely, neither will you. Add to that the fact that the projector will likely be ceiling mounted, well above anyone’s ears that may be sensitive to such noises. I think it’s safe to say that this is a relatively quiet projector, especially for the size.
That’s it for the Performance Page! The final page of our review is the Summary Page, where I’ll, of course, summarize, as well as speak on some of the competition. I’ll also list some pros and cons so you can decide if this commercial projector suits your business or higher education needs!
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