Amazon Review by frequentAmazonbuyer101
143 people found the following review helpful
Adequate but disappointing
Before buying this projector, I literally read every expert review about it on the web, including those in other languages. The reviews all boiled down into two groups:
- those who thought that the projector was mediocre and only a slight step up from the Optoma HD26, which is about $220 cheaper. These reviews complained of video artifacts (which looks like pixelation in dark areas), poor contrast and average 2D and 3D performance.
–and those who thought that the projector was amazing, the closest thing to a 4K projector you could get with a sub-$1000 projector, thanks to the Darbee Image Enhancement capability, with fine colors, contrast and performance, well worth the typical $799 cost.
I don’t rely on most of the user reviews for this projector because many of them are from people who bought the projector for the first time. When you buy an HD projector for the first time, almost any decent HD projector will look awesome. But when you’ve owned an HD projector for a while before buying a new one like me, then you’re able to give a more informed opinion.
I paid for this projector with my own money, buying the bundle that includes the $50 gift card. And the truth, at least for me, was in the middle of those two groups of reviews that I mentioned.
I upgraded from the Optoma HD20, which was a fine HD projector that I bought about 4 years ago and is now discontinued.
The HD20 did not have 3D capability, so I wanted to get a new projector with 3D and also with better contrast, resolution and brightness. Because of its low lumens, it was always difficult to use the HD20 projector during the day. I wanted something better.
Is the HD28DSE better and if so, by how much?
It’s better, but not by as much as I had hoped. After making projector adjustments suggested on some expert web sites, here are my comments:
- The HD28DSE keeps the same good overall performance of the HD20 but doesn’t improve much on it.
- The additional clarity that the Darbee function provides is noticable but subtle, not the amazing result that some reviews said it would give.
- The HD28DSE does suffer from visual artifacts, but not as much as its detractors said. I only noticed it in a couple of times for every hour of video that I watched.
- The HD28DSE does have mediocre contrast, but not any worse than the HD20. I’ve read that most sub-$1000 projectors suffer from the same issue. It’s not bad enough that it would take away from the enjoyment of what I’m watching.
- The HD28DSE is significantly brighter than the HD20, enough so that I can now use the projector in the daytime with some ambiance light. It’s not as good as watching it in a totally dark room, but it’s OK.
- The DynamicBlack feature is worthless. It dynamically increases contrast in dark scenes so that the blacks are blacker, but it also makes the image contrast change so visibly and frequently that it’s very distracting. So it’s really unusuable. I think the only reason why Optoma includes it is in order to claim much higher contrast levels. The HD20 had the same feature, and it was just as worthless.
- General video performance is pretty good but nothing to write home about.
- Projector placement is quite difficult. The new 4-corner keystone function is very helpful, but you always lose some pixel resolution when using keystone adjustments
- The HD28DSE includes a 10W speaker, which is useless for the majority of projector users. If you’re going to spend 800 bucks on a projector, you can at least spend $30 on a pair of speakers. Most users buying projectors at this cost will have some kind of dedicated audio system. Instead of a speaker, Optoma should at least include some kind of vertical and horizontal lens shift.
Once I use the $50 Amazon gift card bundled with the projector to $750, and once I sell the HD20 and apply that to what I purchased the HD28DSE projector for, I’ll feel that I got enough value from the new projector. But I was hoping for something better.
From what I’ve read from expert reviews, the BenQ HT1075 and the Optoma HD37 might be better than the HD28DSE for a sub-$1000. I can’t say for certain myself because I would need to see the projector image in my environment before being able to accurately talk about other projectors.
If you’re considering buying the HD28DSE, it’s a decent projector, but consider other options as well.
Update after 4 months from purchase:
After 4 months of use, I’ve enjoyed the projector and would add a half star more if it were possible, but I’ll let it round out to three. This is what I’ve encountered over the 4 months:
Visual Artifacts: Still there occasionally, but not enough to disturb most of my experiences.
Contrast: Still not that great in very dark scenes, but it’s adequate.
Fan Noise: The fan is loud. It doesn’t make a difference for me because I have a surround sound system that’s usually louder than the noise, and the projector hangs from the ceiling about 2 feet in front of me. But it could be a problem if the projector is going to hang right over your head.
Projector Placement: It’s very hard to position the projector in a way that’s completely aligned with the screen while not necessitating keystone corrections, which diminishes resolution. So I’ve had to live with part of the projection being skewed and running off the screen.
Darbee: It’s advertised as making the image look as good as a 4k projection. I have a good 4k TV and I have to say that when all the “ducks are in a row”–the Darbee is adjusted correctly, the source video is has solid HD resolution, and the bandwidth is good, the result does dramatically improve visual quality and make it on par with good 4K. That’s what I would add the half-star for.
Here’s my recommendation for Darbee settings, which have worked great for me:
Full HD Source content of anything produced since 2000, or anything earlier that has great HD restoration: Set Darby to 50%. (More makes it look overprocessed.)
Full HD Source content produced before 2000: Set Darby to 20%
3D HD Source content: Set Darby to 70%. This adds even more depth to your 3D projection, making it as good as anything you’ll see in the theaters.