Projector Reviews

Optoma HD65 Projector Review coming along nicely!

Ahh, where to begin?

As many of you have read, I was really impressed with the Optoma HD71.  It’s a really bright 720p home theater projector, who’s review posted earlier this month.  Being a big fan of having some lumens to spare, I really looked forward to the HD71 review, and considered the less expensive, physically tiny, and less bright HD65, to be of secondary interest, compared to the HD71.

Having said all that, I’ve been working with the HD65 for more than a week now (interrupted by a nice weekend out to the desert for the Joshua Tree Music Festival), and find it to be a rather formidable projector in its own right.

I’m already starting to write up the review and hope to post Wed. night, (May 21), but probably you’ll have to settle for Thursday evening.  Projector reviews rarely manage to get finished right on schedule.

Here’s some tasty tidbits about the HD65 that hopefully will hold you over until the full review posts:

It really is tiny for a home theater projector!

The HD65 actually has very good “out of the box” performance, I was most impressed with the color balance.  This is one of the few projectors that you can just bring home, plug in, and enjoy a really good picture, and I’m sure that will be a real strength that will have many people who simply don’t want to have to “fool around” with their projector – calibrating it, etc., before it can do a really good job.

There are a few downsides I should mention, but none of them are deal breakers for most home theater projector shoppers.  Thanks to its really small size, its fairly noisy in terms of fan and color wheel noise.  Of course most DLP projectors are.  The HD65 isn’t the noisiest out there, but, on the other hand, it isn’t a quiet projector either.  This little projector also leaks a fair amount of light. Some comes through the lens and you can see that light primarily below the screen if you have light colored walls.  More light comes out the front exhaust vent on an angle.  That has the light leakage exiting at about a 45 degree angle from the front – probably will hit your side wall.

The good news, is that the amount of light leaking isn’t a real problem.  If you are a purist, and demand minimal light leakage, fine, maybe shop elsewhere, but if you just want a really nice, little portable home theater projector that does a really nice job, with no real effort on your part, the HD65 really is one of the better choices out there.

If the HD65 was more typical in size, and improved on both noise and light leakage, it might find an even bigger following, but it should have plenty.  It produces one of those classic DLP type images that many really love.  Typical of Optoma’s in general, the gamma levels seem high in the lower IRE (brightness) ranges.  This provides a slightly darker than normal image in the darker areas, but one that produces really rich, standout, dark colors.  I’ve always found that to be a strength of most Optoma projectors.

OK, enough said, for now.  Tonight is “photo shoot night”, and the last night of viewing.  Check back Wednesday, if you are a real optimist – otherwise, Thursday night it is.

Last thoughts – we’re trying to bring in a number of projectors in the next 6 weeks (with Infocomm tradeshow in the middle).  On the home theater side, I’m still trying to talk SIM2 out of one of theirs, plus I’m waiting to hear back from Viewsonic on their new Pro1800, an LCD home theater projector, and of course, BenQ’s W20000.  And that, folks is just for starters.  -art