Projector Reviews

Optoma UHD65 – A 4K UHD, DLP, Home Theater Projector Review – Summary page 2

OPTOMA UHD65 HOME THEATER PROJECTOR REVIEW – SUMMARY:  The Competition, Bottom Line, Pros and Cons

The Primary Competition for the Optoma UHD65

I believe all the most direct competition for the UHD65 consists of other 4K content capable projectors.  If you aren’t interested in 4K, there are less expensive projectors to be considered, that will provide better value.  But assuming you do care about 4K content, and the other improvements tied to it, this is what the competition looks like:

Other DLP 4K UHD projectors (single 2716×1528 chip, with pixel shifting):

Optoma’s lower cost sibling – the $1999 UHD60

Vivitek’s HK2299 (also $2500 street price)

Some additional 4K UHD DLP projectors that haven’t shipped yet, plus those coming year end, and early next year, that will be announced this fall.

But the single most serious competitor, is the current sales champ in the over $2000 range, which is Epson’s Home Cinema 5040UB.  There’s also their newer, lower cost ($2199) HC4000 that we’re reviewing after the Vivitek HK2299. (Eric is calibrating both at the time I’m publishing this review 7/18/17.)

I can’t provide all the answers competitively now, as the UHD65 is the first of the 4K UHD DLP projectors I’ve reviewed. I’ve logged a bunch of time on the BenQ HT8050 but only minutes on the Vivitek.   That’s why we’ll have a comparison report coming out comparing the 4K content capable projectors.

I will, however, address how the Vivitek HK2299 does vs the Optoma, in the Vivitek review, the next to publish.

Here’s some quick competitive info:

The UHD65 vs UHD60.  The two Optoma projectors are basically the same.  Have a brighter room, some ambient light – save the $500 and get the UHD60 which is the “home entertainment” version.  The UHD60’s  color wheel is designed to produce more overall brightness, but at the expense of not quite as good color (lower color lumens).  BTW even in a room with ambient light, the UHD65 will do almost as well, or as well, when both are showing their best color, those 3000 lumens of the UHD60 will drop more – when calibrated, than the 2200 lumens of the UHD65 has to drop for it’s best color.  That’s what happens when you put a clear slice on the UHD60’s color wheel.  For most folks the extra $500 is worth it, but if you are on a tight budget, the UHD60 is the lowest cost entry into 4K content at the moment, and also a good value.

Epson HC4000 – this review will be out by mid August. The projector just started shipping.  It’s almost the same as the Epson 5040UB, but it doesn’t have as high contrast 3LCD panels, so it’s black levels aren’t as good as the UB. But, they probably are comparable to the UHD65 (or the UHD65 might have a slight edge – or not, we’ll see.  The HC4000 has the same dynamic iris as their UBs, which helps offset the DLP projector’s advantage in native contrast.  At $2199 street price, right now, this is the 2nd lowest cost 4K content capable projector.  Other than black level performance, however, it performs just like the 5040UB, so I’ll cover more details here:

Epson HC5040UB — this has been the projector to beat, (at $2699 official street price) unless you can afford another $1000+.

As previously mentioned, the Epson can’t match the native sharpness of a single chip DLP projector with the new 4K UHD panels (2716×1528), but does have the advantage with HDR and 4K color space.  But for a lot of folks it’s the feature set of the Epson.  It has about the best placement flexibility possible without being able to change lenses, and for many of us, more importantly, it’s fully motorized lens functions culminate in Lens Memory, so that I and many other movie fans can choose to go widescreen, which simply isn’t practical with projectors with manual lenses, and therefore  no lens memory.  The Epson’s zoom lens also offers almost twice the placement range, making rear shelf mounting a viable option for the Epson in most rooms, while far fewer rooms would work for rear shelf mounting of the UHD65!

The Epson’s real strengths are first of all, best in class black level performance, plus it’s definitely got the advantage with the 4K color space (and also HDR).  Definitely more pop on 4K content, if sometimes a bit dim.  The Epson also calibrates better.  The Optoma UHD65 definitely looks good post calibration, but the Epson combines good, with being a good bit closer to “dead on the money” especially with 4K content.

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Optoma UHD65 close up of credits, 4K
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Epson Home Cinema 5040UB – close up of credits, 4K
Optoma’s  warranty is better!  Epson provides 2 years parts/labor with replacement program both years, but in fairness, this time Optoma (who likes one year warranties on most of their lower cost projectors) puts a 3 year warranty on, with three years of rapid replacement program.  So, they definitely beat the Epson in that regard.

 

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UHD65 close up shot of rendering of Bigalow space station, 4K
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HC5040UB, close-up of rendering of Bigalow space station, 4K
For those of us who are rainbow sensitive (RBE) that also favors the Epson.  But while you are deciding, remember, despite the various limitations, I think very highly of the UHD65, even if I give the overall advantage to the Epson. As you can see, each has strengths, but both can handle 4K content.  Decision time?
There’s one more projector to mention, although I don’t consider it direct competition.  That’s Sony’s VPL-HW40, Sony’s least expensive home projector, at $1999.  But the Sony doesn’t attempt to work with 4K, it’s just one of the best 1080p projectors around its price point.  Its black levels are close to the Optoma’s, and it’s overall 1080p color looks as accurate and natural as they come.  A great choice if you don’t care at all about 4K.  And it’s got more brightness combined with good color, than the UHD65 on 1080p content, that would favor it for sports – except that the Optoma is sharper!
We’re almost done.

The Bottom Line

It’s easy to pick apart this Optoma and the other first generation 4K UHD projectors, simply because doing 4K is a challenge, and the 3LCD and LCoS competition is mostly 3rd generation 4K (with HDR).  Practice makes perfect, or at least should make for “better!”

A little rough around the edges, sure – especially with color handling (more so on 4K), sure, but the UHD65 is a projector with a lot going for it – definitely.  It would be nice if it would calibrate better whether REC709 or BT.2020/P3, but, as I keep mentioning, while it may be off slightly, it still looks really good.

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The UHD65’s skin tones may not be dead on the money, but it’s really hard to quibble!

 

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The UHD65 doing 4K HDR, expanded color – pretty impressive – when’s the next flight to Mars?

Just remember, when you are weighing the pros and cons, and keep coming back to the feature advantages of most of the  3LCD competition, that this projector is still has the sharpness advantage – its not blatant, but it is a visible difference, thanks to inherently higher resolution 50% higher – than the competing 1080p 3LCD (and the LCoS projectors, but those start a good $1000 higher).

Choose wisely!

UHD65 Pros, and Cons!

Pros:

  • Well priced for a 4K UHD projector
  • Supports both HDR and expanded color space in 4K
  • Reasonably bright for normal non-4K viewing
    • Over 850 lumens calibrated in best mode (non-4K)
    • Over 1100 lumens calibrated in HDR mode for 4K
  • Very good skin tones
  • Adjustable Brilliant Color
  • Dynamic Black – lamp dimming for modestly enhanced black levels
  • Great warranty!
  • Better than most placement flexibility
    • 1.6:1 zoom
    • Modest amount of vertical lens shift
  • 2 HDMI inputs – one is HDMI 2.0 / HDCP2.2 (needed for Blu-ray UHD…)
    • One has MHL for mobile device support
  • Reasonably quiet
  • Internal speakers: 2 x 4 watts
  • Variety of features – CFI, detail enhancement, Digital Zoom, Image Shift,
  • Good backlit remote control
  • Allows one to emulate HDR from non HDR content (interesting)
    • reminds me of projectors that let us convert 2D to 3D on the fly, in that there are limits to what one can expect, but why not provide the feature, let folks choose.
  • Very long lamp life
  • A projector worth serious consideration

Cons:

  • Could calibrate better
  • Lacks the ability to tackle BT.2020 color space, as well as some of the competition, colors not quite as intense
  • When using HDR, too much near brights, and a little light detail loss, lacks as much pop as some other HDR projectors
  • Really not bright enough for HDR / BT.2020 – but then that’s true for pretty much all home theater projectors – so there are trade-offs
  • Came up over 10% short on 2200 lumen brightness claim
    • Very good color  starts around 1400 lumens, down a full 1/3 from claim
  • Gaming – input lag time of 83ms is considered too much by most gamers. Acceptable tends to start at around 50ms and below, with good, below 35ms.  This is not a projector for serious gaming.
  • No 3D – what were they thinking of?  This projector is likely to be an upgrade/replacement for another, and many of us have collections of 3D movies
  • Remote control has white backlight – which is terrible.  It’s easy to read, but forget trying to subtly adjusting colors, etc., after being blinded by the brightest remote control I’ve every encountered.  (fun fact – I picked on their overly bright blue LEDs on previous Optoma remotes – this is worse)
  • Potential issue – but likely the fault of both the UHD65 and my Anthem receiver, in that when watching content from my DirecTv box, I lose audio if using the HDMI 2.0 port. No problem with the DirecTv using HDMI 1.4, but that complicates setup.  I’ve seen this same problem in my theater with at least one other Taiwanese 4K UHD projector, but three other projectors have no problem with their HDMI 2.0 port, and same box
  • No wireless capability

Time for a new projector?

One last thought.  If these 1st Gen, 4K UHD projectors really have you interested, considering it’s mid July, many of you might want to wait until early September, when most manufacturers will announce new models at CEDIA in the US, and IFA in the EU.  We of course will have “full coverage” at CEDIA.

Thanks for checking out this review.  -art

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From Lucy, Blu-ray UHD, cropped photograph of screen using the UHD65 projector, and a Canon 60D dSLR to capture