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Optoma GT1080HDR - Review 2020


Optoma’s GT1080HDR is a noticeable step up from entry-level 1080p home projectors like the BenQ TH585 and the ViewSonic PX701HD in terms of price, performance, and features. (The MSRP is $1,399, but it is widely available for $799.) It delivers good color accuracy straight out of the box, high contrast and deep blacks for its brightness level, a fast lag time for gaming, and sufficient brightness—rated at 3,800 ANSI lumens—for a big image to stand up to ambient light. In addition, it can produce that big image from close to the screen, thanks to a short-throw lens that makes it a top choice for use in small rooms. The Optoma also supports 4K UHD (3,840-by-2,160-pixel) input, which it downconverts to its native 1080p (1,920 by 1,080). All of this makes it an impressive projector for the price. 


Fast Response, and a Big Picture Up Close

The GT1080HDR is built around a 1,920-by-1,080 DLP chip and a six-segment RYGCWB (red-yellow-green-cyan-white-blue) color wheel. The white panel is partly responsible for the projector’s high brightness, letting more light through than an otherwise identical wheel without a white segment would allow. The cyan and yellow panels help compensate for the loss in color accuracy that the white panel causes. In my tests, they did a notably good job of maintaining more-than-acceptable color in most preset color modes. 

Optoma GT1080HDR front view

Like any gaming projector, the GT1080HDR does swimmingly on key features most gamers care about, particularly input lag. Using a Leo Bodnar input-lag meter, I measured it at 16.4ms at 1080p 60Hz with the Enhanced Gaming mode on, which is consistent with its rated 8.4ms at 1080p 120Hz and fast enough even for serious gamers. And although the GT1080HDR doesn’t come with a carrying case, it’s small and light enough to make it easy to carry from room to room or to a friend’s house, or to stash away when you’re not using it. 

As mentioned, the Optoma’s short-throw lens allows a big picture for immersive gameplay even in small rooms. The onboard 10-watt speaker delivers usable sound quality at high enough volume to fill a small-to-midsize family room, though as with almost any projector, you’ll need an external sound system for high-quality audio. 


The Image: Go Big and Stay Home

The GT1080HDR measures 4.5 by 12.4 by 9.5 inches (HWD) and weighs just 7.7 pounds. As with most short-throw models, there’s no lens-shift control to adjust image position, and the only way to change image size is with digital zoom, which you should avoid using if possible since it can introduce artifacts and affect brightness.

The alternative is to adjust the projector’s position, which can be a little tricky. In my tests, it lit up a 90-inch diagonal, 1.0-gain white screen from just 39 inches away. Inputs include two HDMI ports, but only one is HDMI 2.0b, with support for 4K UHD and HDR. Be sure to connect your 4K video source to the right port. 

Optoma GT1080HDR rear ports

Almost all of the color modes meant for movies, video, and games offered vibrant, saturated color and adequate color accuracy with default settings to be within a realistic range in all of my tests. That includes the one 3D mode and the one HDR mode, the latter which is the only mode available when the projector sees HDR10 input. 

Among the three most useful color modes for 2D standard-dynamic-range (SDR) input—Cinema, Game, and sRGB—the last offered the most accurate color. However, Cinema was a close second and offered noticeably better contrast, black level, and brightness, making it my preferred mode for video and movies. Game mode was also in the running, scoring a close third in contrast and color accuracy. It also brightened up dark areas the most, making it easy to see details lurking in the shadows. This can be helpful for games, but it can rob dark scenes in movies of visual impact. 

Optoma GT1080HDR angle view

Changing the power setting to Dynamic improved image quality by lowering brightness in dark scenes to deliver significantly better contrast, black levels, and sense of three-dimensionality compared to the Full Power and Eco modes. It also delivered the same brightness as Full Power in bright scenes.

With 4K HDR input, the GT1080HDR automatically switches to its HDR picture mode and downconverts the image to its native 1080p. Like most HDR projectors, it lets you adjust what’s usually called HDR brightness, with four settings in this case. The best setting will vary from movie to movie and with the ambient light level. 

Optoma GT1080HDR top view

Based on Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommendations, the rated 3,800 ANSI lumens is bright enough to fill a 280-inch diagonal 16:9 screen in a dark room or a 160-inch screen in moderately bright ambient light, assuming a 1.0-gain screen in both cases. The modes you’ll generally want to use, though, aren’t as bright. As a point of reference, Cinema mode was easily bright enough in a dark room to light up a 90-inch screen for my formal testing, even in the lower-brightness Eco power mode. In a family room with lots of windows, Dynamic power mode let me fill an 80-inch 1.0-gain white screen for nighttime viewing with lights on, or for daytime viewing on an overcast day, albeit with less-saturated color. 

As with most projectors in this price range and below—including the BenQ TH585, the ViewSonic PX701HD, and the BenQ HT2150ST—the GT1080HDR offers only one 3D preset picture mode and works as shipped with DLP-link glasses only. I didn’t see any crosstalk in my tests, and although 3D-related motion artifacts were a little more obvious than with many current 3D projectors, they were less obvious than with earlier-generation models. Very much on the plus side, the 3D mode was much brighter versus the projector’s 2D modes than is typical, delivering a watchable 90-inch image in a dark room.

As with most Optoma DLP projectors, I saw very few rainbow artifacts (red-green-blue flashes). As with any single-chip projector, however, if you see these artifacts easily, or aren’t sure whether you do, be sure to buy from a source that allows returns without a restocking fee, in case you find them bothersome.


It’s All About That Short Throw

By any measure, the Optoma GT1080HDR is a solid value among home projectors. But its key feature is its short throw; if space is tight, that alone will potentially make the Optoma your first choice.

Optoma GT1080HDR

For users who don’t require a short throw, the question becomes whether you need the other features, such as the HDR support. If not, you can save some money by getting the ViewSonic PX701HD, the BenQ TH585, or another just-the-basics 1080p projector. But if you’re looking for a home projector for gaming, watching video and movies, or both, and you want one with good color accuracy and contrast plus some combination of HDR support, high brightness in general, and brighter-than-average 3D in particular, the GT1080HDR belongs on your short list. 

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