Optoma HD26 what is it?
Who is it aimed at?
What does it look like?
How do I connect it up?
How do I set it up?
It’s important that you position the HD26 correctly because it doesn’t have a lens shift and you want to avoid using keystone correction if at all possible. Then you just enter the menu and select the appropriate picture mode and make sure any unnecessary features are turned off. You can do this by either using the controls on top of the projector itself or with the provided remote control.
How do I control it?
What features does it have?
The HD26 also supports 3D, although it doesn’t come with any glasses, so you’ll need to buy those separately. One of the HDMI inputs on the HD26 supports MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) which means you can project photos and videos from your compatible smart device. Finally the HD26 includes Optoma’s Dynamic Black feature which adjusts the brightness of the bulb, depending upon the scene - more on this later.
The technical stuff
However the gamma was better, tracking close to our target curve of 2.2. The colour performance was somewhat disappointing, especially when compared to previous Optoma projectors that we have reviewed. There were sizeable errors in the saturation of all the colours, with blue, green and magenta being especially under-saturated.
When it came to the colour performance, we were unable to improve the saturation performance and no matter what we did, the colour gamut was still significantly restricted. We were able to use the colour management system to improve the luminance and hue performance but thee were still noticeable errors in green, blue and magenta.
Optoma HD26 Picture Quality
The HD26 also provides other benefits and, as we would expect from a DLP projector the motion handling was excellent with no smearing on fast moving objects. This will make it ideal for fast-paced sports action or gaming and the low latency also made for a more responsive experience. The HD26 also handled 24p content well, so Blu-rays will look impressive and thanks to the single chip design, images will be pin sharp and detailed. The video processing was also very good and the HD26 will have no problems with standard and high definition interlaced images. The HD26 also supports 3D and anyone who has experienced the format on a DLP projector will know that the technology works particularly well with active shutter 3D.
Optoma HD26 Video Review
Optoma HD26 What’s not so good?
The next issue is that since this is a DLP projector, the blacks levels are fairly mediocre. The combination of the technology and the bright bulb do rob the HD26 of contrast ratio and dynamic range. As a result blacks look more like a dark grey and even resorting to the Dynamic Black feature didn't help. In fact the blacks really didn't look any different but the fluctuations in brightness did become annoying as the power to the bulb was adjusted. However given that the HD26 will probably be used in rooms with light coloured walls or ambient light, the black levels are less of an issue.
Since the HD26 uses a colour wheel, those that are susceptible to rainbow artefacts will undoubtedly suffer and the projector is quite noisy once you combine the fans and the colour wheel; however this is fairly standard for a single-chip DLP projector. The bright bulb is useful but there was a degree of light spill coming from the various vents around the chassis but if you're not using the projector in a pitch black room, this shouldn't be a problem.
- Bright image
- Easy to setup
- Reasonable greyscale
- Good motion handling
- Competitive price
- Mediocre blacks
- Undersaturated colours
- Possible rainbow artefacts
Optoma HD26 Projector Review
Is it worth buying?
The HD26 is aimed at a specific part of the market and in that sense it succeeds in its purpose. The projector is small, light and easy to set up, whilst its brightness makes it ideal for rooms with light coloured walls or ambient light. The overall performance was good and the HD26 would be ideal for anyone looking to try big screen entertainment for the first time. The inherent strengths of DLP make the HD26 great for sports, gaming and 3D; whilst its price will make it very attractive to those on a limited budget.
There are issues with the HD26 but most can be mitigated to some degree. Of course since it's a single-chip DLP projector with a colour wheel, those that are susceptible to rainbow artefacts should be careful. The combination of fans and colour wheel also result in some noise, whilst the bright bulb and air vents create a degree of light spill. This probably won't be that noticeable in a room with ambient light and the same is true of the mediocre blacks; whilst the muted colours are preferable to over-saturated ones.
What are the alternatives?
This area of the projector market is very competitive, with a large number of models being available for similar prices. Almost all of these are DLP projectors, so a lot of the same issues apply but certainly in the case of BenQ's W1070, the colour accuracy is considerably better for a similar price. Alternatively if you suffer from rainbows, you could take a look at Epson's TW5200, which offers many of the same features at a slightly higher price.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels
2D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
Our Review Ethos
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