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Optoma HD25-LV review

Katharine Byrne
9 Jul 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
828
inc VAT

Ultra bright Full HD projector with superb image quality that you can use in daylight as well as darkness

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Specifications

Projector type: DLP, Native resolution: 1,920x1,080, Video inputs: VGA, HDMI, Component, Lamp life: 3500h, Lamp brightness: 3,200 Lumen, Size: 324x234x97mm, Weight: 3.1

The Optoma HD25-LV is the latest version of last year’s Best Buy-winning Optoma HD25. Like its predecessor, the HD25-LV is a Full HD 3D-ready DLP projector, but its ultra-bright 3,200 ANSI lumen lamp puts it in a class of its own when it comes to image quality.

This is roughly 800 ANSI lumens brighter than even expensive, high-end projectors such as the Epson EH-TW9200. With this much light, colours are as rich and vivid with the lights on as they are off. This is great news for those who don’t want to sit in total darkness when they want to watch a film, and even dimly lit night scenes showed plenty of detail in our brightly lit test room. This is a tremendous feat for a projector under £1,000, and it shames similarly priced projectors such as the BenQ W1080ST.

The HD25-LV comes with a great range of ports, too, allowing you to connect several devices at once. There are two HDMI, two VGA and one composite inputs, two 3.5mm audio inputs, one 3.5mm audio output and a VGA output. There’s also an RS-232C serial port for integrating the projector into a fully automated home cinema system.

Optoma HD25-LV ports

Menu buttons are located on top of the projector, along with the manual zoom and focus rings, but the remote control is much more convenient to use for changing the settings. Along with dedicated buttons for all the various sources, there are controls for brightness, contrast, gamma, picture mode, gamma options and 3D settings. The remote also has a handy backlight so you can use it in the dark.

There are five 2D picture modes to choose from (Cinema, Reference, Photo, Bright and User) and two 3D picture modes (3D and a second User mode). Only the User modes can be customised, though, and if you change the settings on any of the preset modes you’ll be switched over to the User profile automatically. This can be a little irritating if you want to keep the User mode for a specific function, but at least it lets you use the other picture modes as a baseline from which you can make changes.

Along with the basic brightness, contrast, sharpness, tint and colour settings, there are several advanced options that cater for noise reduction, gamma levels, colour temperature, colour space, dynamic blacks and a full range of individual colour values to help you calibrate the projector. You can also adjust Optoma’s BrilliantColour feature, which enhances colour vibrancy.

We used the default Cinema setting for our testing, as we felt Photo and Bright were too harsh and oversaturated while Reference didn’t produce such rich colours. In our Blu-ray test footage of Star Trek, colours looked superb. We felt very little need to tinker with the colour settings, and the projector’s claimed contrast ratio of 20,000:1 certainly gives darker scenes a real boost in detail. Blacks were deep as well, but we were a little disappointed that altering any menu setting caused the frame rate to slow down slightly. This was something we noticed on the original HD25, so it’s a shame this problem still persists with the 2104 model.

Otherwise, video looked smooth and almost judder-free. A few of Star Trek’s action sequences produced noticeable stutter during quick camera pans or when fast-moving objects shot across the screen, but chase scenes in Avatar, for example, showed no signs of judder at all. This is excellent for a projector of this price, and films were certainly a lot more comfortable to watch than on the BenQ W1080ST.

Optoma HD25-LV top

The HD25-LV’s integrated 16W speakers are also a highlight. Almost on par with modern built-in TV speakers, they had plenty of volume to fill our large test room and we were pleased to see audio settings in the menu to increase the level of the bass and treble. Of course, you’ll want to use a dedicated surround sound system in your home cinema, but integrated speakers are still useful if you want to take the projector round to a friend’s house or use it in a different room.

The HD25-LV can project in 3D too, but unlike the 2013 HD25 the HD25-LV doesn’t come with a pair of 3D glasses or a 3D emitter in the box. This is a shame, as you’ll have to pay extra for both the glasses and the 3D emitter system (Optoma ZF2100 E1A3E0000001, £85 from www.projectorplanet.co.uk), bringing the total cost of the projector to roughly £915. Once you factor in the cost of the 3D extras the HD25-LV starts to get dangerously close to some of the higher-end of home cinema projectors such as the £900 BenQ W1400, which has frame interpolation to help reduce jerky images and comes with 3D glasses.

The HD25-LV’s 3D capabilities are excellent, though. We saw no signs of crosstalk or flicker when watching Avatar in 3D and scenes looked smooth and judder free. In the default 3D picture mode, the glasses did cast a slightly green hue across the screen, which made colours look less natural than they did in 2D.

Otherwise, 3D menu options are relatively sparse. You can change the 3D mode from VESA 3D to DLP-Link if you already have different 3D glasses that use DLP-Link transmissions, as well as the 3D format (although anything other than auto or frame sequential was unwatchable), but that’s more or less it. You can’t change the depth of field or alter the brightness.

Optoma HD25-LV remote

The Optoma HD25-LV is an excellent projector. It may not be as good value as last year’s model, but this is still a first class home cinema projector that produces bright, accurate 2D video in all lighting conditions. Its 3D capabilities are also greatly superior to those on the similarly priced BenQ W1400. If you don’t want to spend more than £1,000, the Optoma HD25-LV is a superb choice.

Details

Price£828
Detailswww.optoma.co.uk
Rating*****

Specifications

Projector technologyDLP
Lamp brightness3,200 ANSI lumens
Lamp life3,500
Lamp life in economy mode6,000
Contrast ratio20,000:1

Picture

Native resolution1,920x1,080
Aspect ratio16:9
Other aspect ratios16:10, 4:3, letterbox, super wide
Max diagonal at 7ft64in
Throw ratio1.5:1 to 1.8:1
Optical zoom1.2x
Projection distance1.2m to 10m
Mirror imageyes
Invert imageyes
Lens shift horizontal0%
Lens shift vertical40%
HD Readyyes
Special view modesCinema, Photo, Bright, Reference, User

Inputs/Outputs

VGA inputyes
DVI inputNo
Sound inputs3.5mm
Composite inputyes
S-video inputno
HDMI inputyes
Component inputno
PAL supportyes
SECAM supportyes
NTSC supportyes
Audio output3.5mm
Video outputVGA, HDMI
Others inputs/outputsRS232

Other

Noise (in normal use)26dB(A)
Size324x234x97mm
Weight3.1kg
Internal speakersyes (2x 8W)
Extrasremote, power cable
Remote special featuresaspect ratio, input select, brightness, contrast, gamma, 3D format, lamp mode
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption on241W

Lamp

Lamp cost (inc VAT)£117
Lamp supplierwww.projectors.co.uk
Lamp cost per hour of use£0.03
Lamp cost per hour of use (economy)£0.02

Buying Information

Price£828
Supplierhttp://www.projectorpoint.co.uk
Detailswww.optoma.co.uk

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