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Optoma UHL55 4K DLP Projector Review

Living in a box...

by Phil Hinton
SRP: £1,449.00

What is the Optoma UHL55?

This is the first 4K DLP home entertainment projector that has been specifically designed as an all-round projector. All of the competing models to the UHL55 are traditional office-based designs with the lens to one side and exhausts to the other, with some connections at the rear.

This is not a home cinema model for critical movie viewing, it is designed to be portable and offer big-screen entertainment with gaming, 3D movies and fast moving sports.

It uses an LED light source as opposed to the traditional bulb and this offers instant on and off capabilities. It also reduces the risk of thermal shock when moving the unit around the home, or taking it down your mate's house. Other advantages of this technology are the expanded lifespan of 30,000hrs as well as image brightness consistency and improved colour performance versus a colour wheel based unit. We should also see a reduction in the rainbow effect sometimes seen by some viewers.

The Optoma uses the TI 0.47 DMD XPR chipset which flashes four times to create an 8.3 million pixel image that your eye can see on the screen. The chipset is not a native 4K chip, but by using this technology with the fast flashing that your eyes can't see, it creates a 4K-like image with the increased resolution. While not native, it is a cost-effective technology that gives an image that from normal viewing distances is hard to tell apart from a native resolution image. It will be other image attributes which stand out more than resolution.

The UHL55 is also a full 3D projector (in 1080p) and you can buy optional glasses. As the technology is no longer available on the latest TVs it is nice to see that big screen viewing via DLP projection is still available in 3D, which takes advantage of the DLP traits of good motion and lack of crosstalk.

Finally, to be an all-round home entertainment machine it has frame interpolation available for fast-moving video content, like football and sports action, as well as voice operation via Alexa and two HDMI 2.0 inputs that are HDCP2.2 compliant and HDR compatible.

Optoma UHL55 Video Review

The full review of the Optoma UHL55 is in our video review which you can watch here:

Verdict

7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

The Good

  • Excellent 3D performance
  • Accurate enough Rec.709 colour
  • LED light source and instant on/off
  • Good motion
  • Lack of rainbow effect
  • Frame interpolation for sports and fast moving video content
  • Fits the intended use

The Bad

  • Noisy
  • Not a home cinema projector
  • Poor black levels and shadow details
  • Low brightness thanks to the LED light source
  • Poor HDR performance

Optoma UHL55 4K DLP Projector Review

As has been said a few times within the review, this is not a home cinema projector and as such, it is not designed for critical movie viewing. It is designed to be a portable home entertainment unit that offers bright colourful images for big screen sports, 3D movies and gaming.

It has a unique design that separates it from the usual office style chassis used by its competitors, and the design fits with the portability and fun nature of the product. It has a Nintendo-esque look to its boxy shape, which separates the sound and image side of things.

The use of a sound system on a projector of this nature might seem like a gimmick that isn't required in normal use, but the UHL55 is not designed for normal use, it is designed to be used in any room and display any kind of content the end user wants to watch. As such, the fact it has a nicely designed speaker enclosure and two decent 8W drivers enables the Optoma to offer up audio for that impromptu gaming session with your mates against the white wall in the living room or for using it as a Bluetooth speaker system in a bedroom or reading room. You can catch the football in the office during the World Cup and the speakers are good enough quality that you will still get a decent volume for the commentary and crowd noises.

The lens is fixed and as such you will need to think about the installation if you want to avoid keystone correction, something we always suggest you should do. A 100-inch image can be created from around 8.5 to 9 feet from your projection surface and brightness does suffer a little, so you will need to use it in a room with some light control. As it is an LED light source it also requires plenty of cooling and, as such, it can get quite noisy. While the fans get to around 32dB there is also a high pitch whistle that gets quite loud as the image gets brighter and that can be very annoying in reflective rooms as the sound bounces around.

Image quality is what we expect at this price point and with DLP technology, so that is mediocre black levels, non-existent shadow details, but sharp and colourful images. The Optoma doesn't disappoint with its 3D performance and this is the real strong point of this projector. The excellent motion, sharpness and lack of crosstalk, really brings 3D images to life. Plus the use of the glasses and their filter helps to improve the poor black levels. There is still crush and a lack of shadow details, but the rest of the image is very good indeed.

Gaming is also adequate here with a 66ms lag time which casual gamers will probably not notice, but it's too slow for your competitive player, however, we think the vast majority of users will be fine.

Big screen sports and fast action video content can also benefit from the frame interpolation system used by the Optoma to help smooth out football games and other events. You will need to experiment with the three strength options available, but for 24fps movies and gaming you should switch it off for the best results.

The Optoma is also ISFccc certified and calibrators can unlock two extra picture modes to add day and night settings, and then lock them so they don't get wiped. There are also a host of calibration controls, but as we explain in the video review above, these don't work that well. Plus, we doubt that the target audience of this type of projector would ever pay the £200-300 for a full calibration, but it is interesting that the UHL55 has some of the capabilities to have its images improved.

Overall, the Optoma UHL55 is designed to fit a certain role as a home entertainment 4K projector and it does this as well as we would expect. The design is unique, the LED light source and instant on/off work well with the portability aspect of the design and it has a fantastic 3D performance. If you're looking for such a device, you should really check out the UHL55 and see if it will fit with your goals for a fun and capable home entertainment machine.

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

.
.
.
.
6

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

.
.
.
7

Image Uniformity

.
.
8

Video Processing

.
.
.
7

2D Picture Quality

.
.
.
7

3D Picture Quality

.
9

Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box

.
.
.
.
6

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
.
8

Features

.
.
.
7

Ease Of Use

.
.
8

Build Quality

.
.
.
.
6

Value For Money

.
.
.
7

Verdict

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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