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Optoma HD20 DLP Projector Review Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Article Index
Optoma HD20 DLP Projector Review
Performance and Conclusion


I had a stack of 1080p Blu-ray discs to test out from The Dark Knight to Pixar's Up  as well as DVD performance, cable box performance (HD and SD) and an Xbox 360 to review gaming performance.  One aspect of the unit that really impressed me right off the bat was the lighting performance.  I was in the middle of transitioning a family room into the pitch back theater and the HD20 really cranked out a visible picture with ambient and direct lighting hitting the room.  Utilizing this unit during March Madness was quite spectacular, ideal for anyone into HD sports.  (I was using the Bright mode on the projector for the day games)

RemoteThe vibrant colors produced by the HD20 also grabbed me, specifically on a few Pixar movies that I was testing out.   Sully and Mike in Monster’s Inc. really popped off the screen with this projector, more so than other units I’ve testing in the past.  On the opposite end, black level performance really isn’t up to snuff compared to other DLP projectors.  Scenes with the deepest blacks often look too gray.  This was evident in the majority of The Dark Knight as well as the night scenes of the Season 1 of Lost.  That being said, this is a position of price versus performance.  Those looking for a sub $1000 1080p projector likely won’t care as much about below average black levels.

In my testing, I tried out a few of the preset image modes, but found myself wandering back to Cinema all the time.  Optoma’s preset modes are spot on for the most part.  I only found Reference to be lacking in quality, ironically.  Also, SD performance (480i) was decent, but wasn’t as good as similar projectors around the same price point (likely due to the use of composite connection).   It’s obvious that the main focus of this projector is to be used with HD feeds, which it performs admirably.  In regards to switching between feeds, the Optoma HD20 is very fast when switching between inputs and different resolutions.

In regards to gaming performance with the Xbox 360 via HDMI, I was really blown away.  I’ve recently been testing Rockstar’s Western themed title, Red Dead Redemption, and the old West looks quite fantastic in full blown HD.  I even fooled a couple friends walking by during a demonstration who through it was Costner & Duvall’s Open Range.  The Xbox 360 GUI looks great as well along with Netflix HD Streaming content.

One final note on performance; the HD20 does have the oh-so-dreaded rainbow effect due to a 4x color wheel inside the single chip unit.  I’ve never been able to see the rainbows on any DLP projector, but I did get a couple comments from those who were sensitive to it.

Front View

The Optoma HD20 isn’t without fault.  If you are a stickler on black levels and have a hyper sensitivity to color rainbows, the HD20 may not be the projector you are looking for.  That being said, the Optoma HD20 packs a serious punch!  You are going to be hard pressed finding a 1080p projector with picture quality as good as this for less than $1000.  It’s really the perfect projector for those first timers looking to build a home theater.

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