Laser projectors are continuing to rewrite the big-screen home entertainment rulebook with their combination of high brightness, rich colours and long life spans. And as Optoma’s new UHZ66 home entertainment and gaming projector proves, they’re also now starting to get more affordable.
The UHZ66 ticks all the key laser projector boxes. It claims a huge peak brightness of 4,000 lumens, it claims an effective lifespan with no need for pesky lamp changes of more than 30,000 hours (enough for around 15,000 movies), and it claims to be capable of displaying more than a billion colors. Yet at $2,999 in the US and a really eye-catching £1,799 in the UK, it brings these classic laser advantage into living and media rooms across the world at a price that would have been unthinkable just a year or two ago.
The laser-based advantages I’ve just described are only the start of the UHZ66’s attractions, too. For starters, it claims a true 4K resolution from its DLP-based optical system. Some will take issue with this claim since the 4K resolution depends on DLP ‘re-flashing’ its digital mirrors multiple times a frame to create a 4K effect, rather than the UHZ66 actually deploying 3840×2160 separate digital mirrors. This DLP approach to 4K has, however, been deemed the real 4K deal by the US’s powerful Consumer Technology Association (CTA) foundation.
Home cinema fans will also be pleased to see the UHZ66 claiming a high contrast ratio of 500,000:1 alongside its 4,000 lumens of peak brightness. After all, while high brightness can be a hugely useful feature for a living room projector (especially a living room projector which, like the UHZ66, supports high dynamic range images), if it comes at the expense of decent contrast it can arguably do more harm than good when it comes to delivering a balanced and immersive movie experience.
The UHZ66 carries two HDMI 2.0 inputs (one with eARC support for passing audio out to a connected soundbar or AVR), and to back up its claimed strong gaming credentials it’s capable of rendering pictures it receives at its HDMIs with impressively little lag – just 4.4ms with 1080p/240Hz feeds and 17ms with 4K/60Hz feeds.
A throw ratio of 1.4:1 makes the UHZ66 capable of producing big images (up to 300 inches) without needing a huge room to work in, and finally the information Optoma has released about its latest projector marks the first time we’ve seen a projector brand really pushing a model’s eco-friendly credentials.
So we learn that: 50% of the UHZ66’s chassis is made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials; 97% of the projector’s packaging is made from recyclable materials; the projector’s compact bodywork (it’s 34% smaller than its predecessor) allows twice as many units to be fitted into a single shipping container; the UHZ66’s chassis is completely mercury free; and the projector allegedly consumes as much as 45% less power than regular lamp-based models.
The UHZ66 should be available now in both the US and the UK from multiple electronics retailers.
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