Optoma HD20 DLP Projector Review
There's plenty to be excited about in the Optoma HD20. It's a 1080p projector for under a thousand dollars.
The Optoma HD20, even in its brightest mode, falls well short of the brightness that office and mixed-use projectors offer. That is expected, in part, from a projector that's intended for home theater. The presumption is that the lights will be off, so there's no ambient light to compete against – frequently a factor for offices and classrooms.
If you look at the chart below, you'll also notice there's a huge difference between the various modes. Obviously, the user mode called Bright is brighter. An additional bump happens if you go into the System > Lamp Settings submenu and enable the Bright Mode. (Just to clarify the overlapping nomenclature, that's Bright mode, then Bright Mode on top of that.)
The Optoma HD20 doesn't produce the most consistent black levels, but we've seen far worse. The problem occurs when you have varying amounts of black on the screen. An actual black level on all-black screen is going to appear slightly darker than the black level on a screen with a little black surrounded by bright white. Picture the mouth of a cave in an Arctic landscape. You'll see less shadow detail than is ideal.
The Optoma HD20's screen uniformity was tested in four different modes. Below is a chart that shows how well it did in the brightest mode. There's not a lot of variance here, aside from some falloff around the edges. Overall, we were pleased.
The greyscale gamma measures how well the projector transitions from black to white along the greyscale. The chart below tells us a few things. First, we notice that the curve is flat on the left side, which indicates that the TV has a hard time seeing details in the darkest shadows. All projectors suffer from this a little, but the Optoma HD20 may have been a bit worse than average. Secondly, we're looking at the slope of the curve. An ideal slope is somewhere between 2.1 and 2.2. The Optoma HD20's performance of 2.46 is too steep, which means that it might miss out on some of the finer gradients in the greyscale.
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