Projector Reviews

Best in Class – $1000-$2500 Performance Home Theater: Optoma UHD50

Optoma UHD50

We already gave an award to the UHD50’s smarter twin, the UHD51A. That projector received an award for both its smarts (Alexa, etc.) and its feature set.

By comparison, the UHD50 is the same projector – less the extra smarts, and less $300!

For most folks, it will be the favored choice. Alexa, Google Assistant, etc. are nice features, but without full smarts – adding apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc., which we assume will be added in the future, most folks won’t be willing to spend the extra $300, just to be able to use voice commands to change sources, power up or down, or advance photos in the slide player.

That makes the UHD50 the more popular of the two, probably by a wide margin.

Optoma UHD50 Overview

What’s the UHD50 have going for it? Notice we gave it a Home Theater oriented award, instead of Home Entertainment.

Ultimately, I had to compare the UHD50 with projectors like the BenQ TK800 and HT2550, and the equivalent ViewSonics, and other 4K UHD DLP projectors using the lower res of two (1920x1080x4) DLP chips.

First, this Optoma has an RGBRGB color wheel, which we sometimes refer to as a home theater color wheel, and those with RGBW wheels – W being a clear slice – as being home entertainment, since the RGBRGB wheels produce richer colors, but have less maximum lumens.

$1000-$2500 Best-in-Class-Best-Value-4K-Capable-Home-Theater

So, that’s a plus, but a rather minor one, since projectors using both types of wheels, and a similarly bright lamp, will tend to produce similar calibrated brightness measurements. It’s just that the RGBW wheeled projectors, produce more maximum lumens (with inferior color).

The other reasons though include audible noise. This Optoma UHD50 is quieter than the those BenQs, ViewSonics, etc. The others tend to have more of a humming sound on top of the usual noise. Turning off the pixel shifting eliminates that on those others, but the Optoma is just as quiet doing 4K UHD with pixel shifting as those others are when running only as 1080p projectors.

The Optoma UHD50 has an RGBRGB color wheel.
The Optoma UHD50 has an RGBRGB color wheel.

In addition to being quieter, the Optoma UHD50 offers a modest amount of lens shift, another feature that’s a plus for those who are really into the best, cleanest picture. Lens shift can simplify installation, but it also is the proper alternative to using keystone correction to properly get a rectangular image on your screen. Keystone correction reduces the picture resolution a bit, lens shift does not

Those items make the UHD50 a bit of a standout compared to those other 4K UHDs, among those holding to an under $1500 spend, but wanting the 4K UHD that does best in overall picture quality, and viewing experience.

The Bottom Line on the Optoma UHD50

Like all the other 4K UHDs in the price range, there are weaknesses, such as black levels, but, as I’ve said many time before. You’ll have to spend close to $1000 more than this Optoma to get a projector with serious black level performance.

The BenQ HT2550 which also has the RGBRGB color wheel, is the closest competition to the UHD50.  I believe it has a faster color wheel (which only helps those few of us who are rainbow sensitive), a plus for some, but otherwise:  he Optoma UHD50 is slightly quieter. Along with the lens shift, etc.

As a result, the Optoma beat out the HT2550 for the award. Definitely a solid choice for entry-level 4K UHD – home theater projector! After all, it’s one that can produce some very good color, do well on HDR, and overall, slightly outperform the competition. And it’s priced in the middle of the pack of these lower res 4K UHD projectors.

Optoma UHD50 Review