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Tech Review: Optoma HD50 Projector

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For a couple of weeks I was lucky enough to test out Optoma’s HD50 projector. It is always so much better watching films on a big screen and even better when you can watch them in the comfort of your own home.

Straight out of the box, the small yet powerful projector was easy to set up. Attach the blu-ray player or console to one of the two HDMI ports, plug in and switch on. For the review, the projector was under a coffee table. This was no problem as the HD50 has a great optical shift meaning the image was perfect on a higher screen.

The only initial problem I had was the fact there was no audio out from the projector and neither did the blu-ray player I was using. Luckily I had another player with an audio out so I linked that to my soundbar and we were good to go. If you are going to get one of these, check your blu-ray player has an audio out.

I was mightly impressed with the projector which costs £999. It features full 1080p HD, 2,200 ANSI Lumen brightness, 50,000:1 contrast ratio, an RS-232 port, a 12V trigger output which means you could have it automatically lower a motorised screen and it has been set up for home cinema. There is also a 3D transmitter jack, but no transmitter or 3D glasses are included in the price. That also means we could not review the 3D side of the HD50, but it does have a 2D to 3D converter built in.

The projector is very quiet. The cooling fan can be a distraction with some projectors, but the HD50 is not one of those.

The picture quality if superb. The blacks are rich and deep. Just what you want to see in a movie. It has a feature called Dynamic Black which “more depth to your image by smoothly adjusting the lamp output, based on the brightness information of each frame; to create a stunning high contrast ratio. Bright scenes appear crisp and clear, while dark scenes remain detailed with deep blacks and exceptional light and shade detail.” Colours are incredibly crisp and clear and the full HD image is sharp, but with none of the grain that you can get on low quality televisions or projectors.

It features a number of presets for you to try and these all came in handy depending on what time of day we were watching films. The are numerous manual options you can tinker with to get the perfect setup. It also has something called UltraDetail, which “ensures all the information contained in an image is faithfully reproduced on the screen giving a stunning crystal clear, pin-sharp picture.” At first I thought this was just some basic contrast or sharpness thing, but having played with those separately I can say the UltraDetail did make the picture pop and we ended up watching most films with it on.

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For review purposes I got friends and family round (at various times) ranging in age from 7 to 64. All of them loved the projector and felt the picture quality was fantastic. We watched a range of blu-rays and some DVDs. The picture quality on the latter was obviously not at good as the blu-rays but was still perfectly fine to watch. They also had no problem changing the picture settings using the small, yet functional remote control.

Here is what we watched:

Blu-rays – Wings of Desire, Apocalypse Now Redux, Touch of Evil, The Terminator, The Raid 2, Wreck It Ralph, Convoy, The Fall, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Reservoir Dogs, Twin Peaks, Despicable Me 2

DVDs – Smokey and the Bandit, Community, Godzilla (1954).

Game wise we had a few games of FIFA 2014 and it ran smoothly with no stuttering whatsoever.

During the day, with the blinds closed the picture was still very sharp with deep colours. There were only a couple of times, when the sun was shining at a particular angle, that it effected the viewing. As everyone’s house is different this may not be a factor for you.

The only downside was the fact there was no audio out, which could be a limiting factor for some people.

All in all the Optoma HD50 projector gave a stunning home cinema experience. Fantastic picture quality and, if you are considering going for a home cinema setup, I can highly recommend it.

Thanks to Optoma for the use of the projector and to Penny for sorting it all out.

5-out-of-5

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