Optoma GT1080 – Picture Quality
The GT1080 is a solid enough performer overall for its money, but it struggles to really stand out from the crowd.
Its greatest strength is the way it manages to deliver pictures that look quite sharp and detailed over most of the screen – more on that qualification later – without suffering much with the sort of fizzing, dot crawling noise sometimes seen with affordable DLP projectors.
The sense of crispness holds up quite well when there’s motion in the frame, too, thanks to minimal interference from motion blur or judder.
The GT1080 is at its most engaging when running in either its Vibrant or Gaming picture presets. With these, colours look punchy, the contrast seems strong, and the image’s sense of sharpness is at its most pronounced. The most vibrant settings lack some colour subtlety, and can also leave the darkest areas looking lower on shadow detail than the less ‘dynamic’ picture modes. But these aren’t great problems when you’re talking about computer graphics rather than video, meaning that the strengths are much more to the fore when you’re gaming, and the weaknesses become less important.
The only downside when gaming is that the GT1080’s images didn’t keep quite as much of their punch as we’d have liked when asked to compete with a little ambient light, despite the fairly high claimed brightness figure. But then personally we would always recommend using a projector in as dark an environment as possible, no matter how casual a user you might be.
While the GT1080 is at its best with the relatively clean-cut, very dynamic content you get with game graphics, that’s not to say it’s a wash-out with film and TV viewing. For instance, so long as you tone down its brightness setting a touch from that selected by the ‘Film’ preset, the GT1080 is capable of producing a passably deep black colour that makes dark scenes feel just about natural enough to draw you into the action.
To be clear, we’re hardly talking here about the gorgeous black-level response of higher-end projection heroes like JVC’s D-ILA range. But the level of greyness on show is certainly not so bad that it’s the only thing you see, like it can be with some rival budget projectors.
It’s good to see, too, that the dynamic contrast tool goes about its business gently enough not to cause too many distracting leaps and shifts in the image’s overall brightness. The downside to this is that the dynamic contrast system only improves the GT1080’s contrast very slightly.
There are trio of other issues we need to mention, too. First, where there are small areas of brightness against a darkish backdrop you can see the so-called rainbow effect, where the spinning colour wheels that single-chip DLP projectors use to produce colours generate pure stripes of red, green and blue that become especially visible if you move your eyes over the image.
Second, despite our best efforts with the colour-calibration tools, the occasional skin tone, pale backdrop or light source still looked more yellow-tinged than we’d ideally like. Finally and worst of all, it was noticeable – especially though not exclusively when gaming – that the picture loses focus in its corners due to uniformity errors in the short-throw lens. This problem didn’t just affect the extreme corners, either; quite a bit of the picture lacked the same sharpness as the image’s central portion.