Optoma HD25

Score

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Good picture quality for the price
  • Living-room friendly design

Cons

  • No vertical image shift
  • Operational noise can be distracting
  • Minor rainbow effect

Key Features

  • Review Price: £799.99
  • Single-chip DLP projector
  • Full HD native resolution
  • Active 3D playback (one pair of glasses supplied)
  • DynamicBlack system
  • 20,000:1 claimed contrast ratio

Introduction

The HD25 is the first new home cinema projector we’ve tested from once-prolific manufacturer Optoma since the HD83

we reviewed in June 2012. And even that model was actually a rejig of

an earlier version, rather than a brand new projector in its own right.

With

this in mind, it’s perhaps surprising that the HD25 is pitched as a

budget home cinema projector rather than a swanky mid-range or high-end

model that might have enabled Optoma to really show off what its

engineers have been busy with over the past year or two. Still, if the

HD25 delivers decent image quality for its £800 price tag, then we’ll

doubtless end up feeling happy enough with Optoma’s long-awaited return

to the home cinema fray.

Optoma HD25 – Design

The HD25’s

design is reasonably pretty, thanks to its glossy white finish, coffee

table-friendly dimensions, and boldly curved front edge. However, there

are also some tell-tale signs of its comparatively budget (for a

projector at least) £800 price tag, including a rather plasticky finish

that’s especially noticeable around the lens housing. This cost-cutting

theme continues with the extensive use of grilling down each of the

projector’s edges, which hints at a rather basic approach to heat

dispersal and potentially inefficient use of the projector’s lamp power

should those grilles turn out to leak light as well as heat.

Optoma HD25

Connectivity

is actually quite good for a budget projector though. The two HDMIs are the

most important jacks, but some users will also appreciate the twin D-Sub PC

ports. The most surprising connection, though, is a small circular jack

to which you can connect a diddy 3D transmitter. Yes, that’s right:

despite costing just £800, the HD25 provides active 3D, even going so

far as to supply both the 3D transmitter and a pair of 3D glasses in the box.

Optoma HD25 – Specifications

The HD25 supports

its active 3D talents, moreover, with a Full HD native pixel count of

1920 x 1080. And that’s not the only number that impresses for £800

either; also promising is the combination of a claimed 2000 Lumens of

output brightness and a 20,000:1 contrast ratio achieved with the help

of a so-called DynamicBlack system that adjusts the lamp output

automatically in response to the image content. Furthermore Optoma also

claims that this dynamic contrast system is cleverer than most as it

also works to retain shadow detailing, so that the quest for a

convincing black colour doesn’t result in dark picture areas looking

excessively hollow and flat.

Optoma HD25

The

HD25 is a DLP projector, and as with most DLP projectors these days,

it’s equipped with Texas Instruments’ BrilliantColor technology for

boosted colour vibrancy. Experience suggests that this colour boost can

be accompanied by an alarming increase in grain though.

In

keeping with most budget projectors, the HD25 sports built-in speakers.

In fact, these are a cut above the norm and deliver a startlingly high

10W output using an SRS Wow HD processing engine to enhance bass,

clarity and soundstage size.

Optoma HD25 – Set Up

Setting

the HD25 up isn’t a particularly great experience. The projector only

delivers a quite limited amount of optical zoom, and (in keeping, it

must be said, with most sub-£1000 projectors) doesn’t provide any

optical image shifting, either vertically or horizontally. Many people

will thus to have to use the projector’s provided keystone adjustment to

get the sides of the image straight – a process which, of course,

digitally manipulates the picture, denying AV enthusiasts the pixel for

pixel image quality they crave.

Optoma HD25

The

focus ring around the lens is unusually robust and capable, though,

which gives you pretty fine control over the sharpness of your picture.

The HD25’s on-screen menus are straightforward for the most part too,

and the unusual dog-bone shaped remote is boldly backlit and fairly

intuitively laid out once you’ve got used to how different its functions

are to those you might find on a typical TV remote.

We were

excited for a moment to spot image shift and zoom tools within the

on-screen menus, too. Unfortunately though, it quickly becomes apparent

that these are both limited in scope and digital rather than optical in

nature.

Further exploration of the menus uncovers a few useful extras including the ability to adjust the intensity of the DynamicBlack and

BrilliantColour systems, along with a variety of useful content-based gamma

presets. Actually, since there are no general presets beyond simple

‘User’ and ‘3D’ profiles, these gamma presets are really your only way

to significantly alter the way pictures look without getting stuck into

the TV’s more complex picture set-up tools – tools which include a

colour management system that allows you to adjust the hue, saturation and

gain of all six main video colour components.

Latest from Trusted Reviews