Posted on September 4, 2019 By Art Feierman and Nikki Kahl
The Optoma UHL55 follows in the footsteps of the UHD51A, which was Optoma’s very first smart projector. Like the UHD51A, the UHL55 has Alexa and Google Assistant integrated into the projector itself. When Optoma announced the UHL55 almost a year ago, the suggested price was $1,499. At a glance, that made it a very interesting solid-state home entertainment projector, at a price point currently being dominated by entry level 4K UHD projectors that are lamp based.
I am not sure when they did, but the UHL55 is now just $999, and that price drop is a game changer – making it a clear winner for our Price Performance Award in the Under $1000 Entry-Level Class. Dave was most impressed when reviewing this projector, noting that it does really nice skin tones, has plenty of brightness, and some hefty sound for a projector with built-in speakers.
The Optoma UHL55’s 1,500 lumen claim makes it ideal for a room with at least some control of ambient light, and you can bet that, when calibrated, it’ll push out a couple hundred less lumens. It produces a fantastic image, with great black level performance, with an LED light engine that has a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours. The UHL55 has native 4K UHD resolution via the TI .47” UHD DMD chip.
This lightweight and portable projector has a unique, boxy shape, and could easily be “mounted” on a stylish wall shelf. Dave Duncan, our reviewer of the Optoma UHL55, says it is an all-in-one home entertainment solution. It has built-in, 8-watt stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Decoder for compression, as well as an option to connect your Bluetooth speakers. This is particularly awesome if you have a Bluetooth soundbar or Bluetooth surround sound system.
This projector is feature-laden. It has compatibility with Alexa and the Google Assistant for a number of advanced controls, such as on/off, volume level, input selection, the Media player playback, image mode changes and more. The UHL55 has an Android OS with a 4K UHD media player, integrated smart TV apps (an improvement over the UHD51A), and downloadable content from the Optoma Marketplace App Store, which they are always improving.
It has Dynamic Black to help with those really dark scenes in movies. This projector has four HDR10 picture modes to choose from, for that extra “pop and wow” factor, as we like to call it. The Optoma UHL55 also features the BT.2020 expanded color space, Dynamic Black to increase the black level performance, as well as other features to enhance the picture – UltraDetail and PureColor – and PureMotion (CFI) for sports viewing. Whether you’re an avid movie aficionado, TV binge-watcher, or sports fanatic, the Optoma UHL55 has you covered.
The Optoma UHL55 also has an onboard media player that is compatible with both 4K content and HDR. It can play both 1080p and 4K UHD + HDR files. You can also play audio files and show images, so you can set the media player up to loop a playlist of photos during a party. Its lightweight, portable nature, combined with the ability to play HD and 4K UHD video files means you can take this projector out for a movie night in the yard. It has wireless capabilities, as well as 3D compatibility.
The titles from Baywatch, projected by the Optoma UHL55.
A scene from Baywatch, projected by the Optoma UHL55.
A scene from Journey to Space, projected by the Optoma UHL55.
If you think about it, the UHL55 is most impressive. Not only is it a 4K capable projector under $1000, but it is smart too. Like Optoma’s more expensive, but lamp based UHD51A, it has support for Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can download apps, run Netflix, etc. One can argue that a couple of the other better projectors under $1000 may have a slightly better color – this projector runs a little cool – but there’s no doubt that this one is smart, and has a lot of features.
This is a portable solution, place on a table, or the floor? Take it outside at night for movie night. In a price range where “entry level” home theater projectors slug it out with home entertainment projectors that are definitely a step or two up from the most entry-level, this UHL55 stands out.
We don’t review a whole lot of under-$1000 projectors, but we pay close attention to anything home theater or home entertainment, that’s over $500. If you want a projector that can do 4K content, with HDR, is portable enough, and even a good gamer, has some respectable built in sound, other features like smooth motion, and finally, a bright picture, all for under $1000, I think you just found it.
Get the Optoma UHL55 on Amazon!
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