What is the Optoma UHZ65?
The UHZ65 can also accept and display HDR images when the metadata is detected and Optoma claim it has a wider colour gamut than Rec.709 (which most 4K DLP models are restricted to), saying they can cover 80% of DCI-P3 which we will be measuring and testing in due course. A nice additional extra is a vertical lens shift for easier installation as well as PureMotion frame interpolation technology and dynamic black settings and laser light output adjustment.
We thought that the UHD65 was a good 4K DLP model, so can its big laser powered brother prove to be the best yet? Lets find out…
Design, Connections and Control
The top plate looks like one single piece of gloss plastic, but if you press down on the front half it opens to reveal the lens shift and zoom controls under the front flap. Single chip DLP projectors rarely have a vertical lens shift so it is very welcome here and will help with the installation of the UHZ65. You should never need to use the keystone correction on any projector when installing, as it will kill all fine detail in the image and cause artefacts on straight edges. Always take the time to correctly install your projector to get the absolute best performance from it. Every manufacturer publishes the best set up positioning information for their model, so make sure you follow this advice. The flap is easy to push down to lock again once you have completed the installation, and being locked in place makes it ideal for ceiling mounting.
The remote control for the Optoma UHZ65 is the exact same model used on the UHD65 and other models. It is a small silver coloured unit with a bright white backlight for use in darkened rooms. The buttons are small and fiddly to use, but are logically laid out at least. The most important picture and menu options are within easy thumb reach with the source input buttons to the bottom. Overall the remote is designed to sit in the hand with its tapered edges, but you can’t help but feel it is a little cheaply made given the price of the package here.
UHZ65 Features and Specs
The image processing is the same as the UHD65 with PureMotion on hand to smooth out judder in some content but it does so by adding Soap Opera Effect (SOE) which with film material is to be avoided by switching it off. However if you watch a lot of video based TV content and fast moving sports you may want to experiment with the settings to find one that suits, just be aware that as well as SOE there are image artefacts seen with image tearing on some fast moving content. There are also contrast and colour boosting processing modes within the PureEngine section of the menus, but again use these with caution as they usually add more bad than good to the image quality. There are also three Dynamic Black settings, which act much like a dynamic iris dimming the light output slightly, and there is a power mode to reduce the laser output by as much as 50% of the brightness. Optoma also claim that the laser source will last for 20,000 hours without any real drop in brightness over that life span, meaning no changing of bulbs and reduced costs of ownership. Plus with such a stable light source you can leave the image longer between calibrations as it holds the settings for longer, again saving money.
Colour is where we tend to notice more errors if things are not quite right and we did notice this more than any greyscale errors. The Rec.709 colour gamut results (top right) are a tad disappointing for the UHZ65 as we see a number of hue and saturation errors, which are obvious with some viewing materials. The main issue is skin tones looking a little bit red around the cheeks and that’s all down to too much red saturation and magenta also heading towards red, which amplifies the issue slightly. It is not a glaring error that you’ll notice on every face in the image, but reds do appear blown out and some rosy cheeks look a little too rosy. Most actor’s look like their blushing and some with existing tans look a little David Dickinson. We did see a similar result with the UHD65 out of the box, but with slightly less of a hue error on magenta. Would this be noticeable if you were not calibrating your UHZ65? It all depends on the material you are watching and how sensitive you are to seeing such errors. Add in any of the image processing features on board that force more luminance into the colours and you’ll soon notice those! There is a Colour Management System (CMS) on-board so we should hopefully be able to tame this error down and get the tracking a little more accurate – which will be good news for those who will get their projectors calibrated.
Colour gamut wise (top right) we finally managed to fix most of the errors and get at least the 75% and below saturation points correct to the standards. We managed this in most cases and luminance was also very good (not shown in this graph). It is just a shame Optoma couldn’t get this accuracy out of the box given it uses a laser – read stable – light source. But we are very happy with the calibrated results and performance.
When you feed the Optoma an HDR signal it automatically switches into that (HDR) picture mode, which is usually greyed out when no metadata is received. All controls within the menu are still accessible and some are automatically switched on to handle the HDR image. The interesting thing here is that all DLP projectors we have tested so far that can accept HDR signals have only had Rec.709 colour gamuts so are unable to show the wide colour information properly. The UHZ65 is reported to cover at least 80% of the DCI-P3 gamut, which is used for Hollywood films and UHD discs. So let’s see how well it actually performs.
The colour gamut coverage (top right) is also decent within the limitations of the projector and it’s colour capabilities, which place it well above other 4K DLP models on the market at this time. Looking at how it racks to DCI-P3 (the lighter triangle) you can see that it cannot get out far enough in Red, Yellow and Green, and then it’s capped in the Green and Cyan side as well. This is the native gamut of the projector and all it is capable of reaching towards DCI-P3 with good luminance performance, not shown in the graphs. This is the best we have seen from a consumer level 4K DLP projector so far. It could be better, but it is a decent start and without artificial colour boosting which always looks bad.
UHZ65 Picture Performance
Moving to 4K UHD HDR material and we were again pleasantly surprised with the jump in quality over the other 4K DLP projectors we have reviewed recently. Dynamic range is good with solid blacks that are a good depth of black for much of our viewing and only suffering the same issues with washout on tricky scenes. One obvious scene for this is the title sequence of Lost in Space where as the screen becomes a star field and as the text starts to appear the image gets brighter and washed out, as it becomes too difficult for the projector to manage with it’s limited blacks and above black performance. However it soon reverts to providing a decent dynamic range to the rest of the show, so it really is just the more difficult mixed scenes or movies where it will struggle in such an environment. Indeed switch it out to a more light coloured home cinema room with some ambient light or reflected light and the raised black floor of the room will really suit this projectors overall image performance.
HDR images do look nice and before we get on to the real positives with the UHZ65 it would be wrong of me to avoid the issue of rainbow effect. This is were some viewers will see strips of red, green or blue or a mixture of these against high contrast edges of objects within some scenes. I am quite prone to seeing this effect although it does vary from person to person on how susceptible you are to noticing this. On older model DLP projectors of a decade ago I found most of them unwatchable due to the issue, but as resolution and colour wheel technology has improved, the instances of seeing it have also diminished. With todays 6 speed RGBRGB colour wheels I hardly notice rainbow effect unless I go looking for it, or it is a very high contrast scene and I move my head. With the UHZ65 (which uses a RGBY colour wheel) in HDR image modes I did notice rainbow effect on a more regular basis than normal. It is obviously impossible to translate that to how much you would see by watching the UHZ65, but if you have noticed it in the past you should perhaps get a demo of the Optoma before taking the plunge, just to be certain it won’t be an issue for you personally. I didn’t find this to be a deal breaker for me personally as it wasn’t overly annoying or distracting in the instances that I did notice it, and it was far removed from the days of feeling nauseous watching a DLP machine.
So back to the 4K HDR image quality and I almost finished the entire series of Lost in Space in the UHZ65 and didn’t at any point wish I had waited until I could use the reference JVC we have here instead. Colours were very good indeed with actual on screen materials and not just looking at the graph results. Skin tones for the most looked natural with just a slight hint of push now and again, but that is me being reviewer picky, I think most users wouldn’t notice this as an issue. Blacks were very good and only in a cave scene did the lack of shadow detail cause larger areas of black to look like one solid lump. A few raised black floor scenes also popped up now and again, but for a 4K DLP unit compared to those we have already tested, this was leaps and bounds ahead of the pack in this regard. Moving to 4K UHD Blu-ray was also interesting but also raised some issues not seen with the streaming HDR content. Our new favourite test disc is Blade Runner 2049 with its sumptuous Oscar-winning visuals and testing scenes for displays. We immediately went to ‘new’ Vegas and the orange, red fog that is really quite challenging to show in the correct hues, but without gradation issues of posterisation. Sadly the Optoma failed this test with some obvious posterisation issues around the light source (hidden sun) and within the slight hue changes of the fog. This was also noticeable in high contrast backgrounds such as the dream makers’ scene with K. We double checked our sources and used three 4K UHD players all set up correctly to feed the Optoma, but it is an image processing issue on the UHZ65 and not the source this time. However for the most part we didn’t notice much else wrong with the image quality with excellent colour performance (despite a restricted gamut) that is the best we have seen so far from a 4K DLP machine. The scene with Wallace and Decker chatting within the interrogation room, with its shadows and water rippled yellowy orange light also held up well. The tone mapping used by Optoma does tend to pull up the darker areas of the image and where the faces should go to silhouette now and again, they are a tad brighter than they should be and washed out, slightly. But the rest of the scene looks sublime with a nice dynamic pop and ultra sharp edges and dripping with detail from the pores on each of the faces in the scene. The UHZ65 can produce some really nice looking images.
- Good out of the box image quality
- Excellent calibrated image quality for SDR
- HDR images are very good for a DLP projector
- Images are sharp and detailed
- Good wide colour performance for a DLP projector
- Decent black levels compared to other 4K DLP machines
- Instant on/off capability
- Still struggles with shadow detail and blacks can't match similar priced bulb projectors from JVC and Epson
- Posterisation seen in some 4K UHD HDR content
- Rainbow effect more noticeable with HDR images (for some users)
- Noisy in brighter modes
Optoma UHZ65 Projector Review
What are my alternatives?However if you want deep blacks, excellent above black shadow detail and full DCI-P3 wide colour coverage you are looking at the bulb based JVC DLA-X7900 and either the Epson TW9300 bulb or Epson TW10500 laser projector. All of these are around the same price as the Optoma and in dedicated cinema rooms with dark coloured surroundings and complete light control they out-perform the 4K DLP projectors by some margin. But again the context is the viewing environment in question and what suits such circumstances. Put these three projectors in a light coloured room with some ambient light and you will lose their USP of deep blacks and shadows as the room black floor is too high (too much reflected light) and washes those USPs away. So you need to think carefully about what you need and which projector will suit you, as not all are made equal and there is no one perfect display out there.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels
2D Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
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