Optoma GT1080 review
Projector type: Single-chip DLP, Native resolution: 1,920x1,080, Video inputs: 2xHDMI (1xMHL), Lamp life: 5,000h, Lamp brightness: 2,800 lumen, Size: 114x315x224mm, Weight: 2.65kg
Short throw projectors are a great way of bringing big screen gaming to a small room at a lower price than a typical large TV. The Optoma GT1080 does exactly this and is able to create a 100-inch display from just a metre away, meaning that even the smallest gaming den should have room for it.
At just 2.65kg, the GT1080 is both small and light enough to be moved around, and also comes with a carrying case for extra portability. It's adaptable, too, as it supports both inverted and mirrored projection should you wish to use a ceiling mount or place it behind your projection screen to save space. Each of its feet are adjustable and there's vertical keystoning to ensure you get a proper rectangular image on to your projection surface regardless of the height the projector is sitting at.
The only video inputs available on the GT1080 are a pair of HDMI ports, one of which is compatible with MHL, which means you project your tablet or smartphone’s screen on to a bigger surface. We’d prefer a slightly larger selection of video inputs, and would like a VGA input especially, but given that most modern consumer devices have HDMI outputs, we can just about forgive the omission of other ports.
Image quality is excellent for the price. The 2,800 lumen bulb is bright enough to overcome some artificial light, although you should dim your lights and close the curtains whenever possible as darker spots on screen suffer greatly when external light sources are present. The DLP chip, which projects through a high-speed colour wheel, creates crisp and colourful images although during your first few days with the projector you will need to test out various colour and image options to see which ones suit you best.
For example, the Gaming preset unsurprisingly works very well for games, making hard-to-spot objects in darkened areas easier to see. When we switched to another source to view some high-resolution photographs, though, we found the Gaming preset to be totally unsuitable and artificial-looking. We found the more realistic Reference preset to be better for our high-resolution photos. Thankfully, your choice of preset for each HDMI input is remembered, so if you use the Gaming mode for your games console on input and Reference for your laptop on the other, the projector will automatically choose the preset you last used for each device.
There are also three slots for user-created presets and a large array of colour options, including BrilliantColor and Dynamic Black. Both of these work well in moderation, but when BrilliantColor is turned up too high it creates a very messy and artificial-looking image. Dynamic Black alters contrast levels based on what's on screen, but this can sometimes be distracting as the change can jar when it happens in the middle of a scene. Whether you like Dynamic Black will probably be down to your own personal taste.
There are more conventional image adjustments as well, including individual hue, saturation and gain settings for red, green, blue, cyan, yellow, magenta and white, and it's all very easy to do via the well-designed remote control. The remote control is backlit, too, which is a nice touch which makes it easier to use in the dark.
The GT1080 handles rapid movement reasonably well. It doesn't support frame interpolation, which is something we’ve seen on more expensive projectors, but we found that although juddering on moving objects was present it didn't distract from the action or ruin our gaming. We would have liked to have seen more digital image processing tools such as noise reduction, but they are rarely found on a projector at this price.
3D is also supported, although this comes at an extra cost in the form of a transmitter and one pair of active shutter glasses priced at £90. Extra glasses thereafter cost £80 each, which is a steep price to pay, particularly as the 3D isn't brilliant. It's by no means bad, but we found that 3D films and games such as Avatar and Killzone 3 sacrificed a lot of their vibrancy and lush visuals because of the 3D effect. This is more an effect of the glasses than the projector. Even so, it’s nice to have the option to upgrade.
We were impressed with the 10W speakers built into the GT1080, unlike many projectors where the speakers feel like they’ve been added as an after-thought, those of the GT1080 are loud and very clear. They can’t match a good set of 2.1 or 5.1 speakers, but they’re more than adequate for normal usage if you're not too bothered about the sound of your games.
The only audio output present is a 3.5mm jack, which will be handy for headphone users and for basic multimedia speakers. If you want to use high-end audio devices you'll need to connect them directly to your video source rather than the projector itself, which may prove problematic if you have multiple sources such as a games console and a PC or set-top box. In this case, you'll need to invest in an amplifier.
The Optoma GT1080 is a brilliant projector that's perfect for gamers who want a bigger screen but don't have the money for a large TV. Its short-throw capabilities mean it should fit into any room, and its adjustable feet, keystone settings and colour settings means it’s very versatile and easy to set up. The lack of video input beyond HDMI and slightly lacking 3D performance are minor drawbacks, and we’d still heartily recommend the Optoma GT1080. If you have more to spend and don't need short throw capabilities, the Optoma HD25-LV is well worth considering, as it’s a strong performer with a brighter lamp and a better range of inputs.
|Projector type||Single-chip DLP|
|Native aspect ratio||16:9|
|Max diagonal at 7ft distance||196.4in|
|Video inputs||2xHDMI (1xMHL)|
|Audio outputs||3.5mm stereo|
|Noise (in normal use)||26dB(A) (Eco mode)|
|Internal speaker (power)||Yes, (10W)|
|Image formats read||None|
|Document formats read||None|
|Lamp life in economy mode||6,000h|
|Lamp brightness||2,800 lumen|
|Price including VAT||£650|
|Lamp cost (inc VAT)||£125|
|Lamp cost per hour of use||3p|
|Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)||2p|