A few weeks back we checked out an intriguing new concept aimed at the gaming community from projector maker Optoma. The GameTime GT-3000 package comprised of a DLP projector, a separate, colour-matched 2.1 speaker system, and a specially designed carry bag to lug everything about in - all for the frankly amazing price of £349.
However, while the GT-3000 was sort of OK, it ultimately failed to win TrustedReviews' heart on account of its lack of HD support. After all, while the Nintendo Wii might be alright for Christmas parties, the vast majority of our gaming time is spent in the HD company of a PS3 or Xbox 360. Sorry Wii fans, but that's just the way it is!
So it is with considerably more excitement that we take delivery of the GT-3000's bigger brother, the GT-7000. For despite costing just £150 more than the GT-3000, the GT-7000 introduces an HD Ready native resolution and HDMI input to the party, instantly making it much more likely to tickle our game-playing fancy.
Actually, its much-improved HD credentials aren't the only improvement the GT-7000 brings. For it also claims a contrast ratio of 4,000:1 - double the figure claimed for the GT-3000, raising real hopes that the GT-7000 will tackle the slightly underwhelming black levels witnessed with the GT-3000.
My hopes that this will be the case grow with the discovery that the GT-7000's brightness is rated at 1600 lumens versus the GT-3000's 2300 lumens. In my experience, while you can never fully trust manufacturer's quoted specifications, the GT-7000's contrast-favouring contrast/brightness balance is far more likely to produce really likeable results than the brightness bias of the GT-3000.
To my eyes the GT-7000 betters its cheaper sibling aesthetically, too. It's basically the same remarkably small, slightly business-like shape as the GT-3000, but it sports a piano black finish that's much classier and easier to keep clean than the ‘ice white' of the GT-3000.
The speakers with the GT-7000 are, so far as we can tell, identical to those found with the GT-3000, other than they're black, not white. They're quite attractively designed, looking like a classic iPod speaker accessory. And their design is quite clever too, thanks to the way they ‘flat pack' for transporting around but sport a fold-down subwoofer that allows the stereo speakers to stand up when placed on a table.
As we've already noted, the GT-7000's connections include an HDMI input. But gamers might also appreciate a component video port and a D-SUB PC input. Plus there's an S-Video port, and even, surprisingly, a 12V trigger output that could be used for automatically firing up a motorised screen. We've seen many projectors costing thousands of pounds fail to provide one of these handy little jacks, so kudos to Optoma for being so thoughtful.