Projector Reviews

Optoma ProScene ZU660 Projector Review – Summary

Optoma ProScene ZU660 Projector Review – Summary: Summary, The Competition, Pros, Cons

Summary

The Optoma ProScene ZU660 is a commercial projector intended for business and education applications – for use in boardrooms, higher education, museums, houses of worship and smaller entertainment venues. This WUXGA (1920×1200), DLP laser projector boasts 6,000 lumens, but measured at 4,806 in its brightest mode (not bad). The ZU660’s laser light engine has an estimated lifespan of up to 20,000 hours. This is typical of laser projectors, and allows for longer use than a lamp based projector, staving off maintenance for an impressive number of years. It has a $9,999 list price, but has a street price of $5,999 – a fantastic value for such a projector. It has excellent placement flexibility, due to the interchangeable lens options and motorized lens shift.

The ZU660 has a host of special features in addition to the already-mentioned interchangeable lenses and motorized lens features. It also has Image Stacking, Color Matching and Dynamic Black, is 3D Capable, has Quick Resume, and, of course, Advanced Networking. Those Advanced Networking features include HDBaseT for running AV signals over long distances (up to 328 feet in this case), and Crestron RoomView for command and control of this projector or a fleet of projectors.

Optoma ZU660 Input and Connection Panel
The Optoma ZU660 offers a healthy array of connections for all business and educational applications.

Optoma’s ZU660 offers a healthy array of inputs and connectors. There’s a standard RJ-45 port for LAN Networking, and an HDBaseT connection, which supports HDMI signals from a compatible device via a LAN cable. Two HDMI connectors allow connectivity with modern computers, BluRay players, steaming content, etc. A DVI-D port offers compatibility with older computers. There are also old-school VGA-IN and VGA-Out ports, with the VGA-In doubling as a connector for YPbPr, and a connection for a wired remote control. The ZU660 also has a 3D Sync In and a 3D Sync Out connector for use with 3D equipment and an RS232-C connector for older command and control units, and Kensington Lock port. There are no USB ports on this projector.

The Optoma ZU660 has six color modes: Bright, Presentation, Movie, sRGB, Blending, and DICOM SIM. All have rather good color, save for Blending Mode, which is entirely too green – and it’s only the second brightest mode (4,361 lumens). Bright beats it out in lumens and in color accuracy (4,806 lumens), though Bright is strong on the greens and yellows as well. Presentation has some pretty excellent color for a mode so bright (3,889 lumens), and has enough brightness to combat some pretty serious ambient light – so you may never need to use Bright. Movie Mode is the best mode (2,750 lumens), closely followed by sRGB (1,694 lumens). The final mode, DICOM SIM., is used for viewing high contrast films such as x-rays (or film negatives, now that I think about it), and came in at 3,833 lumens. Good work, Optoma.

The Competition

The projector that most closely competes with the Optoma ProScene ZU660 is the NEC NP-PA653UL. It, too, is WUXGA resolution (1920 x 1200), has interchangeable lens options, motorized lens functions, a laser light engine with a 20,000 lifespan, and a similar street price. The differences come in brightness, projection technology, and feature set. The PA653UL claims 6,500 lumens, but measured at 6,156 lumens in its brightest mode. That’s quite a lot brighter than the ZU660 (keep in mind that the Optoma has Image Stacking to use two projectors to double the brightness), and add to that the NEC’s 3LCD technology, well – the NEC’s got as many color lumens as it does white ones, which means that it will have the edge over the Optoma in terms of color lumens.

The NEC NP-PA653UL, winner of our Best in Class Performance Award for the Large Venue Projector category in this year’s Best in Classroom Education Projector Report (published last spring), can accept 4K content. It’s a pixel shifter, meaning it takes that 1920 x 1200 image, copies it and shifts it up diagonally to create a higher pixel count. This makes the projector inherently sharper than the ZU660, but, thanks to the laser light engine and single DLP chip (no panels to align), this Optoma is still quite sharp. If your commercial applications require a higher resolution, perhaps check out the review of this NEC before making any decisions.

The next projector I would position as competition is the Panasonic PT-MZ670U, a WUXGA resolution projector with a laser light engine, claiming 6,500 lumens. It came in just a smidge over claim – an impressive feat, as most projectors come in under claim. It has a lot of awesome features such as Daylight View Basic (combats ambient light), LinkRay compatibility, wireless capabilities, advanced networking such as HDBaseT and command and control software, and its vast placement flexibility, due to interchangeable lenses and motorized lens shift. Its MSRP is $11,999, but also has a similar street price to the NEC and Optoma.

The projector also comes with a 90-day trial of Panasonic Multi Monitoring and Control Software, allowing control of up to 2,048 devices over LAN. Like the NEC, it also has 3LCD technology, and, with that Daylight View Basic feature to combat ambient light (plus the fact that it beat claim), this Panasonic may also be one to consider. Check out these other reviews if they sparked any interest for you – otherwise, consider the Optoma ProScene ZU660 to be a great commercial projector, if you found the feature set suitable to your business or education applications!

Pros

  • 6,000 Lumen Claim – Measured 4,806 in its Brightest Mode
  • $9,999 List Price – Street Price of $5,999
  • WUXGA Resolution (1920 x 1200)
  • DLP Technology
  • Laser Light Engine – Light Engine Life of Up to 20,000 Hours, No Need for Filter Replacement
  • 2,000,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Great Placement Flexibility – Motorized Lens Shift (±50% vertical ±15% horizontal), Interchangeable Lens Options, 4-Corner Geometric Correction, 360 Degree and Portrait Mode Operation, and HDBaseT
  • Image Stacking
  • Color Matching with HSG Adjustment
  • Dynamic Black
  • 3D Capable
  • 24/7 Operation
  • Quick Resume (Quick On/Off)
  • Advanced Networking – HDBaseT and Crestron RoomView Compatible
  • Backlit Remote – Nice!

Cons

  • Did Not Meet its 6,000 Lumen Claim
  • Would have liked to see more color accuracy in Presentation Mode

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