The UHD55 has a total of 11 preset picture modes. The CINEMA and REFERENCE modes look excellent and are my preferred out-of-the-box picture modes for most movies.
In the gallery above, I took several stills in various modes, using a variety of content to show the differences between specific preset modes. The first still shows how dynamic the colors of the UHD55 are. The second image is one of our standard color testing images and is in BRIGHT mode, where colors take on a washed-out look and are a little more bluish-green hue than the other modes. This picture mode is designed for use in rooms with ambient light but usually causes color accuracy to drop significantly. However, in this shot, the color saturation remains acceptable. The last two are from Marvel's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The CINEMA mode colors are moderately oversaturated, and the skin tones lean toward red and orange. It is a DLP, after all.
The UHD55 displays a nice image using the projector's OTB modes, even though colors are slightly oversaturated in almost every mode, which I don't mind.
The UHD55 provides a wide range of simple to more advanced color adjustments, allowing users to dial the image precisely to their preference. For example, if skin tones are a little too red or the overall image is a little too blue, fine adjustments can be made to the projector's color and gamma settings to achieve the desired skin tones. Like previous Optoma models I've reviewed, the UHD55 produces good color out of the box and excellent color with professional calibration.
WALL COLOR ADJUSTMENT
The UHD55's Wall Color adjustment alters the overall hue of the image based on the color of the wall being projected upon. The six Wall Color modes are BLACKBOARD, LIGHT YELLOW, LIGHT GREEN, LIGHT BLUE, PINK, and GRAY. You can choose the mode which will give you the most accurate color for your wall.
While this feature may seem gimmicky, I'm here to tell you that it works quite well. I have a wall in my living room that is a creamy beige color, so I set the Wall Color adjustment to YELLOW. While the image did look slightly warmer than it would have on a screen, it still looked amazing.
At 3,600 lumens, the Optoma UHD55 is a bright projector. I set the UHD55 up in my living room with ambient light coming in from two windows, and the picture was more than good enough to watch with decent colors and even better contrast than I expected. I took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the lens, which usually gives a pretty good approximation of ANSI lumens. At the full wide-angle zoom setting, I measured the Optoma UHD55 in its brightest picture mode, BRIGHT, with the lamp power also set to BRIGHT.
At wide-zoom, Bright mode, and the Lamp set to Bright, the Optoma UHD55 measured 3,478 lumens. Optoma missed its rated brightness of 3,600 lumens by 122 lumens. I measured all available OTB preset modes at wide-zoom, and my measurements are below.
My measurements showed a roughly 15% drop from full power (labeled BRIGHT) down to ECO mode. Many projectors drop 25% to 35% when switching into their ECO mode.
The Optoma UHD55 has four lamp modes, DYNAMIC, ECO, ECO+, and BRIGHT.
PRESET PICTURE MODES
CONTRAST AND BLACK LEVEL
As a DLP projector, the UHD55 will not be able to produce super deep blacks like more expensive projectors that use LCD or LCOS imagers. However, the UHD55’s shadow and bright details are very good considering that it is lamp-based.
Also, its blacks were better than many DLP projectors in its class. I paired the UHD55 with an Elite 100-inch matte white screen. This combination produced better-than-average black levels and shadow details.
In a room with some uncontrolled ambient light sources, the UHD55's blacks were darker than I expected. The UHD55's rated brightness of 3,600 lumens allows projected images to pop even in rooms with less than perfect light control.
The photos in the galleries above are primarily dark scenes. Dynamic Black is in the Off position in the scene from The Batman; therefore, you can see a lot more detail in the shadows of these images. I think Dynamic Black is a great feature for a fully light-controlled room, or, at least, in a mostly darkened room. Ambient light tends to wash out good black levels. So for those times when you're watching content with the lights on, turn Dynamic Black off to see more detail in dark scenes.
Optoma has done an excellent job with dark content on the UHD55. For instance, the blacks are recognizable as blacker than the typical DLP projector of this class. In the images above, you'll see that blacks are clean, and you can also see a decent amount of contrast which allows details in the darker areas to be more prominent.
The UHD55 supports HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma). Optoma's HDR color and tone mapping algorithms make HDR content look visibly better on the UHD55 than on projectors without these features.
In recent years the amount of HDR content being streamed has dramatically increased thanks to platforms such as AppleTV+, Disney+, and HBO Max. 4K HDR content delivers expanded color space with better highlight and shadow detail, but even the brightest HDR projectors can still struggle when trying to reproduce HDR. Fortunately, that's not the case with the UHD55. When viewing HDR, the UHD55 did a good job balancing the onscreen brightness with the need to display highlight detail.
A good amount of streaming content is available in 4K HDR because Disney+ and HBO Max have begun streaming various movies in 4K HDR. However, most content is still produced in High Definition, and since it's likely to be produced in HD for years to come, good 4K upscaling will continue to be necessary. This projector's upscaling is excellent. Whether I was watching 720p sports content or 1080p Blu-ray content, it all looked very good.
Below are various images of videos and photos in 4K and HD resolution. Like all our photos, they remain unadjusted for color, so they don't look as good as they would in person.
The Optoma UHD55 does a really good job of upscaling HD content to 4K. In many cases, it was hard to tell if I was looking at an actual native 4K movie. YouTube content also played very well. The Optoma UHD55 does an excellent job with a variety of streamed content from Standard Definition up to 4K Ultra HD. This flexibility makes it a good choice for a home theater projector that will also function as a core home entertainment device.
Like the UHD50X, the UHD55 has a single 10-watt mono speaker. As I pointed out in my UHD50X review, this is unfortunate, especially since the UHD55 is both a home entertainment and gaming projector. Competitors like BenQ still offer built-in stereo sound in their gaming projectors, and the UHD55 projector can't compete with the immersive sound that a stereo-based sound system provides. However, the UHD55 does get very loud with almost no clipping happening at the projector's higher volume setting.
Optoma should have done a better job with the sound system. It's now 2022, and any home entertainment projector over $1,000 should have stereo sound or ARC at a minimum.
Regarding audible noise, nothing has changed from my UHD50X review. Optoma lists the UHD55 fan noise as 26 dB in ECO mode, which is pretty quiet. The loudest the UHD55 gets is when the projector is in BRIGHT mode when the noise level goes to 28 dB. While the cooling fan is noticeable at lower volume levels, I did not find it distracting. At higher volume levels, you should rarely hear the projector's cooling system working.