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Projectors : Projector Reviews : Optoma HD25 Projector Review

Optoma HD25 Projector Review

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Optoma HD25
Quick Stats

Optoma HD25 Projector Review

Brightness: 2000 ANSI lumens
Weight: 6.4lbs.
Contrast Ratio: 20000:1
Native Resolution: 1080p
Details: HD25 Specs
! The Optoma HD25 is no longer available!

Our customers are now selecting the Optoma HD25e
Replacement: HD25e Projector
6/6/2013 - Bill Livolsi from ProjectorCentral

Optoma HD25 Home Theater Projector Review
Bill Livolsi, June 6, 2013
ProjectorCentral.com

This year, it seems like each week we see a new low-cost, 3D-capable 1080p projector -- and the year isn't even close to over. The Optoma HD25, at less than $1,000, is a full HD 3D 1080p projector with a crisp, clear, reference-quality image in both 2D and 3D. For those who want a great picture and don't have a lot of money to spend, it is one of the most attractive projectors to surface this year.

The HD25 has features usually reserved for higher-tier products. It uses radio frequency 3D glasses that don't require line-of-sight or light pulses in the image to maintain synchronization. It has a full color management system and excellent default color, making it a great projector for people who like to tweak as well as people who want their equipment to "just work." Add a ten-watt onboard stereo sound system and over 1100 calibrated lumens and the end result is a powerful, portable home theater projector at a knock-out price.

Editor's Note June 7 2013: The original text of this article stated that the BenQ W1070 had a three-year warranty. Our source at the company was mistaken and the projector in fact has a one-year warranty. We apologize for the error, and the relevant text has been corrected. Bill Livolsi

The Viewing Experience

The HD25 is a small projector in a sleek white case shared with several other models in the Optoma line, all the way back to the HD20 from 2009. It has a 1.2:1 manual zoom lens with no shift capability, mounted off-center in the projector's case, that can throw a 120" diagonal 16:9 image from a throw distance of 13' 1" to 15' 8". It has a fixed upward throw offset of 15%, so the bottom edge of the image will appear about nine inches above the centerline of the lens for that same 120" diagonal picture.

These factors make the HD25 an easy projector to ceiling mount. The projector's white case blends into a white ceiling very well, while the throw offset puts the image at just about the right height for comfortable viewing. Alternately, you could set up the HD25 on a table and watch it from your couch; the projector's fan is quiet enough that you should not know it's there, most of the time, unless DynamicBlack is enabled. The projector has three adjustable rubber feet to help you level it, though they can be difficult to get started. If you do plan to use the HD25 on a coffee table, spend a minute to loosen up the feet before you start up the projector.

Once you have the HD25 set up properly, getting a great picture out of it is just a matter of turning it on. The default grayscale and gamma in Cinema mode are already very close to the reference standard, which is no small accomplishment on such an inexpensive projector. Our test sample measured 6400K across the board with no adjustment at all and an average gamma of 2.2. At over 1100 calibrated lumens, the picture is bright enough for living room use, if desired. In a darkened theater environment, the Eco lamp setting's roughly 850 lumens is still quite bright and extends lamp life to 6,000 hours. On a 120" diagonal 1.3 gain screen, the HD25 produces an on-screen brightness of 26 foot-Lamberts in this mode.

This can be a concern for some people with small theaters or small screens -- the HD25 is quite bright. If you require less light output than Eco mode provides, you can reduce BrilliantColor, purchase a neutral-density (ND) filter, or purchase a lower-gain screen. For smaller screens, say 80" to 100" diagonal, the ND filter is a good option, though it is not the simplest option. An ND2 filter reduces light by half, cutting Cinema Eco's output to 425 lumens. In doing this it also deepens black levels. Most neutral density filters are built for cameras, and as such there is no easy way to mount one to a projector lens that is not threaded to accept a filter. Some folks attach their filters with tape or other adhesive while others build brackets or mounts to hold the filter in place in front of the projector. This seems like a lot of work, but it does have a payoff: once your projector's lamp begins to dim, you can move the ND filter out of the light path and continue watching at your preferred brightness.
6/5/2013 - Bill Livolsi from ProjectorCentral

Optoma HD25 Home Theater Projector Review
Bill Livolsi, June 6, 2013
ProjectorCentral.com

Shootout:
Optoma HD25 vs BenQ W1070

The HD25's nearest competitor in terms of both price and features is the BenQ W1070, a $1000 DLP 1080p projector with full HD 3D capabilities. Our BenQ W1070 review revealed its brilliant, sharp, well-balanced home theater image, making it an excellent match for the HD25.

The problem in comparing these two projectors is how similar they are. Given a sufficiently darkened room and good source material, the HD25 and W1070 appear to be mostly the same when it comes to picture quality. Both projectors produce natural, well-balanced images with plenty of color saturation and shadow detail. Given this similarity, most people will have to decide between the projectors based on feature set, not image quality.

Light output. In Cinema mode, the two projectors produce the same amount of light. The HD25 at 1146 lumens is roughly equal to the W1070 at 1220 lumens, as the human eye cannot detect minor brightness differences without a head to head comparison. The W1070 does have Dynamic mode, which at 1554 lumens is brighter than any of the HD25's image modes and particularly useful for living room use. However, even that lumen difference is fairly minor.

Contrast. The two projectors are exceptionally similar when it comes to contrast. Both have so-so black levels and very accurate default gamma curves, so shadow detail is maintained without any loss. The HD25 has DynamicBlack, but the contrast improvement granted by this feature is minimal when it is present at all. It is impossible to select between the two projectors on this basis alone.

Color. The HD25 has more accurate color out of the box; it measures 6400K across the grayscale to the W1070's 6800K. Both projectors can be calibrated to 6500K with very little effort on the part of the user, so final calibrated color is excellent on both models. However, the W1070 has full RGB gain/bias controls, something the HD25 lacks. Both projectors have full color management systems.

Sharpness. Both the HD25 and the W1070 are single-chip 1080p projectors without detail enhancement systems. Once sharpness is set correctly (which can be done easily without any special equipment), they appear identical.

Input lag. At 17ms of input lag, the HD25 is half a frame faster than the W1070 at 24ms.

3D. While both projectors offer full HD 3D, the HD25 has the option to use either DLP Link or RF-sync 3D glasses.

Placement flexibility. With a 1.3:1 zoom lens and a small amount of vertical lens shift, the W1070 is easier to install for most people than the HD25 (which has a 1.2:1 lens and no shift).

Lamp life. Both projectors' lamps are rated for 3,500 hours at full power or 6,000 hours in Eco mode.

Warranty. Both projectors have one-year limited warranties.

Sound. The HD25's speakers are 10W stereo (5W+5W, not 10W per channel) to the W1070's 10W mono. While the presence of sound at all is a bonus, stereo sound is useful for people who plan to make extensive use of the feature.

Conclusion

The Optoma HD25 is a great little projector. Its bright, sparkling HD image is perfect for home theater, and its bargain price of $949 makes it an exceptional value. While the HD25 has some flaws, those flaws are all related to usability, not image quality. The menu system can be complicated at times, and the lack of multiple User modes limits the HD25's calibration potential. Overall, though, the HD25 is a strong projector for entry-level home theater with potential for portable use as well.

Competition in the HD25's market segment is particularly fierce this year, with projectors like the BenQ W1070 providing stiff competition. The two projectors are more alike than they are different; however, the HD25 is a better projector for those users primarily concerned with 3D viewing (thanks to RF glasses), portable use (due to the HD25's better onboard speakers), or gaming (thanks to less input lag). On the other hand, the W1070's better placement flexibility will appeal to many potential buyers. Whichever projector you choose, the end result is a beautiful home theater image at a bargain price.




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