Optoma, a brand known for its DLP projectors, recently released the HD25, a video projector with a Texas Instruments 4244 DarkChip 3, the same chip BenQ used in the W1070 that we loved so much. Like the W1070, this home cinema projector has some nice hardware and offers active 3D compatibility at a reasonable price.
2D IMAGE QUALITY
The first difference between the Optoma HD25 and the BenQ W1070 is that when positioned the same distance from the wall/screen, the HD25 projects a smaller image: between 1.67 m and 2.01 m, while the W1070's image is between 2.03 m and 2.64 m.
Colour fidelity: average Delta E = 2.7
Colour temperature: 8,110 kelvins
After using our recommended settings (see inset below), the Optoma HD25 gave a natural image with faithful colours (average Delta E = 2.7) and good high and low light levels. The only weakness is the grey shading, which is a little too blue, with a colour temperature of 8,110 K instead of the preferable 6,500 K. The W1070 has slightly better colour temperature, at just under 7,000 K.
The BenQ also outperforms the HD25 by a hair when it comes to contrast. The HD25 delivers contrast ranging from 360:1 to 1,090:1 depending on the amount of white contained in the image, whereas the W1070 delivers between 340:1 and 1,330:1. Put more concretely, the Optoma gets a brighter image (150 cd/m²) than the BenQ (90 cd/m²) because it's smaller in size, but the black isn't as deep (0.14 cd/m² on the Optoma, 0.07 cd/m² on the BenQ).
Both projectors have very little rainbow effect. It's there, but only in pictures with the highest possible contrast (such as white subtitles over black bars in a movie). We asked around the office here and everyone agrees it's very low.
3D IMAGE QUALITY
Naturally, the 3D is active, because not only is passive 3D extremely difficult to set up for users, but it's also insanely expensive due to the cost of the polarised screen.
To keep the sale price down, Optoma chose not to include 3D glasses in the box. In addition to the built-in DLP Link emitter, Optoma is selling a radio frequency 3D kit (for broader signal range) with a pair of glasses and an emitter for about £100. Each additional pair of 3D glasses costs somewhere around £80.
That's a little pricy, but they're comfortable and they charge via USB.
HARDWARE & HANDLING
Understandably, Optoma used the same, compact shell for the HD25 as they used with the HD20. But there's no lens shift, so the projector has to be directly facing the screen or wall in order for the image to look right.
The Optoma HD25 has more or less all the connectivity you need: two HDMI ins, VGA, composite, two audio line ins and an audio out for use with an external speaker system. The audio out will certainly come in handy, because while the built-in speakers are tolerable, they aren't really good enough to fully immerse you in a movie.
The remote control is practical, compact and backlit. It has several shortcuts and a wide signal range (wider than the BenQ's).
NOISE & ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Like the BenQ W1070, the Optoma HD25's biggest issue is noise. From one metre away, we measured the noise produced by the fan at 40 dB. Best place it as far away from your couch as possible.
The HD25 consumes an average amount of power: 225 W while running and 0.2 W while asleep.