Optoma HD20 review: Optoma HD20

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The Good Small and easy to position. Good image quality. Value for money.

The Bad Noisy in "Bright" mode. Slow HDMI input detection. Blacks could be deeper.

The Bottom Line Value for money, compact dimensions and easy to get up and running out of the box, there's a lot to like about the Optoma HD20.

8.0 Overall

Compared to most 1080p projectors, Optoma's HD20 is tiny. Not pico-sized, but certainly portable, and if space on your coffee table is at a premium, physically this is as compact 1080p projection currently gets.

Optoma's RRP for the HD20 is AU$2499, but after searching for a few seconds online we found several retailers offering it for under AU$2000 including the promise of a bonus lamp (RRP AU$499) thrown into the deal (Note: this is an Optoma promotion for a limited time). As always with online shopping, do some research to discover if the seller is reputable or authorised — a supposed bargain can often come back to bite you with warranty issues (grey imports, second-hand goods etc).

Design and features

White, compact and uncluttered by superfluous buttons, the HD20 looks deceptively plain. After setting it on a table it needed very little adjustment before our LP Morgan Galleria screen was filled. One foot is adjustable, and with the addition of manual zoom and focus, you're up and running in no time.

The Optoma features a Texas Instruments DLP chipset and native resolution is, naturally, 1920x1080 (1080p). Brightness is stated at 1700 ANSI lumens and the contrast ratio given at 4000:1 (or 3000:1 with the Image AI feature turned off). If it reaches close to these levels, it's a very respectable set of figures. Lamp life is also pretty good at 4000 hours in Eco-mode, dropping to 3000 with full brightness. Expect to pay around AU$300-$400 for a new lamp, which is about average price-wise. It also pays to stick with the genuine replacement article rather than opt for less expensive, but inferior, generic lamps.

The Optoma's menu is well laid out and presented — the basic set-up is quick and painless, and the image quality courtesy of the factory presetting is perfectly acceptable. Choosing "Reference" as the default setting, you may not want to further tinker with the picture settings as things looked pretty good to our eyes. But, if you simply can't help yourself, feel free to increase and decrease image settings, just make sure you're using a decent set-up DVD or BD such as Digital Video Essentials.

The HD20 comes with a small remote and it's perfect. The few buttons take care of the functions you want to have immediate control over and the blue backlighting is so bright it'll even help you find your way around a darkened room.