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Review: Optoma UHZ65 4K Laser Projector Offers Quality at an Affordable Price-point

The Optoma UHZ65 4K laser projector breaks new ground to provide homeowners with an UltraHD solution that delivers low cost of ownership.

Review: Optoma UHZ65 4K Laser Projector Offers Quality at an Affordable Price-point
The Optoma UHZ65 features a laser-phosphor light engine and TI DLP UHD chipset, to support the projector's 4K and HDR compatibility, as well as its 20,000 hours of operational life.

Robert Archer · February 27, 2018

Quietly under the radar, the electronics company Optoma has been turning out some nice and affordable projectors the past couple of years. Some of these products include the GT1080DARBEE and the UHD65 4K projectors.

Arguably, the most symbolic of the company’s efforts to deliver value-minded, quality home theater and multimedia video products is its latest product: the UHZ65 4K laser projector.

Laser-based projectors are the hot product in the commercial video market because the products deliver high lumen levels, rich colors and low-maintenance requirements.

Initially, when laser products entered the consumer market, they were perched at the very top end of the market. Today, through Optoma, low-maintenance yet high-lumen laser products are now available to a larger audience due in part to the $4,500 price point of the UltraHD 4K UHZ65.

Taking a closer look at the UHZ65, this is a product that integrators can present to clients as a step-up solution without blowing up their A/V system budgets.

Optoma UHZ65 Features & Setup

The competitively priced UHZ65 is a Texas Instruments (TI) DLP-based UltraHD 4K projector that produces a resolution of 3840 x 2160.

Optoma explains the DLP UHD chipset employs TI’s high-performance DMD technologies with XPR video processing with fast switching to reproduce 8.3 million distinct pixels. Optoma emphasizes the TI UHD chipset meets the Consumer Technology Association’s 4K UHD 2160p specification.

Features

  • UHZ65 provides a native 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • Laser-phosphor light engine minimizes maintenance, delivers up to 20,000 hours of lamp life
  • Optoma UHZ65 produces up to 3,000 lumens and contrast ratios as high as 2,000,000:1
  • Multiple HDMI inputs, VGA input, SPDIF out, audio-in (3.5mm), audio out
  • Control options with choice of RJ-45 and RS-232
  • HDR support for HDR10, and compatible with the Rec. 709, Rec.2020 and DCI-P3 color gamuts

Through its laser-phosphor light engine, the UHZ65 is able to produce up to 3,000 lumens while providing up to 20,000 hours of operational life.

According to Optoma, the projector also produces contrast levels as high as 2,000,000:1 with "dynamic black" engaged. The projector is also capable of reproducing the Rec.709, Rec.2020 and DCI-P3 color gamuts.

The UHZ65 also employs PureEngine’s PureMotion technology to minimize image noise, motion noise and judder in fast-motion video.

Other options include a choice of 16:9 native, 4:3 auto, and letterbox aspect ratios, and a choice of inputs that include two HDMI inputs (one with HDCP 2.2, MHL 2.1 and 18Gbps compatibility), VGA-in, audio-in (3.5mm), audio out, SDPIF out, and a USB 2.0 service port.

Related: Optoma UHD60, UHD65 4K HDR Projectors Break Price Barriers

Aiding the projector’s integration into a third-party control system is the choice of RJ-45 and RS-232.

Setting up the UHZ65 in my system was pretty easy. After unboxing the projector I found the UHZ65’s size and weight easy to manage. Lifting the rectangular shaped UHZ65 onto my projector shelf I took a FIBBR fiber HDMI cable run from an Integra receiver and plugged it into HDMI input 2.

Once I plugged it in, I set the geometry and made some basic settings adjustments (I later fined tuned my adjustments).  

I will point out that while easy in my media room, the UHZ65 could be a bit lean on the installation options. It offers basic lens shift, focus and keystone options, but I suspect that in order to help keep the price point reasonable Optoma omitted broad image adjustment options.

Overall though, the UHZ65 should install quickly in most home environments, and because of its laser-based light engine its lumen capabilities make it a great option for rooms with ambient light.

Optoma UHZ65 Performance & Conclusions

After my initial setup I was quite impressed. I checked my first sources and the projector indicated I was watching 1080p content. I found the production of 1080p to offer rich colors and lots of perceived dynamics. What I mean by this is that while the Optoma did not deliver the deepest blacks I’ve ever seen, the contrast levels were outstanding. The sum of the picture with its rich, vivid colors and wide dynamics looked excellent in conjunction with a 100-inch 16:9 Stewart Filmscreen Phantom HALR screen.

Turning the lights on, the combination of the 3,000-lumen Optoma UHZ65 and Stewart Phantom HALR screen produced very minimal negative effects from ambient light.

Using the projector with the lights on and the lights off, I think Optoma did a good job of optimizing the light output of the projector. I’m sure they could have pushed more lumens from the UHZ’s light engine if they wanted, but I am guessing that through a pragmatic approach the company found its light output sufficient for a variety of screen materials, including ambient light rejecting (ALR) products like the Phantom HALR, as well as more traditional white and gray screens.

If Optoma added more lumens to the UHZ65’s output, I think they may have eliminated the use of ALR screens due to the possibility of developing a “sparkle effect” between its projector and those screen types.

More Reviews: Stewart Filmscreen Phantom HALR Screen Redefines Projection 

In terms of figuring out where the UHZ65 fits into the market, I think it jumps to the top of the pack in terms of value. Its DLP UHD chipset delivers nice amounts of detail, and the low cost of ownership of a laser-phosphor light engine(which also produces nice lumen levels) has to be considered against traditional bulb-based products.

Where I really saw the Optoma's value was when switching over to 4K content using my Apple TV and UltraHD Blu-ray player.

UltraHD Blu-rays offer the best possible source content, and a film like Cars 3 looked spectacular. Colors were rich and inky like old-school CRT products, and had plenty of color detail. For example, in Lightning McQueen’s red finish I could see the fiberglass texture on his fenders, as well as the seams between panel quarters on the fictional racecar. Lightning also sparkled with metal flake, and I could see specs of dirt on the raceway track.

Sports fans won’t be disappointed with the projector either. The Optoma’s processing easily keeps up with the action of NHL hockey and NFL football from my local teams the Bruins and Patriots.

Moreover, the UHZ65 also allowed me to see the increasing visual quality of each Harry Potter Ultra Blu-ray release from the franchises’ first four titles.

I wasn’t able to compare a pixel-shifting product with the Optoma DLP-based product, but I would have to say memory tells me the Optoma produces more detail and resolution than a pixel-shifting 4K projector for about the same money.

Optoma deserves a—and I am not understating this— ton of credit for developing and delivering a laser-based 4K projector with HDR compatibility at a reasonable price point. I would guess that competitors have noticed, and will ratchet up the performance stakes, and the winners of this competition will be the public.

For now, Optoma has a decided edge with its UHZ65, and while not perfect, I think Optoma pretty much nailed it with the launch of the UHZ65, which checks so many boxes in the column of “must have” when it comes to projector features and performance.

Suggested price for the Optoma UHZ65 is $4,500.

CE Pro Verdict:

Pros:

Nice footprint, the UHZ65 doesn’t take up too much space
Brightness levels allow its use in ambient light environments
Rich colors, smooth 4K images

Cons:

More HDR options would be great
Lens shift options may be somewhat limiting for some install scenarios



  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at rarcher@ehpub.com

Follow Robert on social media:
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Robert also participates in these groups:
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View Robert Archer's complete profile.



  Article Topics


Home Theater · Projectors & Screens · Products · 4K · HDR · Laser · Optoma · Review · All Topics
CE Pro Magazine

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Comments

Posted by John Nemesh on March 5, 2018

To Mike, you might want to check your info.  The Optoma doesnt overlap pixels, does display all 8.3 million individual pixels, and does have more detail than the “native” Sony.  Link to video comparison, where you can see for yourself here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeFUsR056SA

Posted by Mike McNamara on March 5, 2018

To John Nemesh: The claim by DLP and Optoma to provide 8.3 million “unique” pixels on screen is questionable at best—given that the pixels overlap each other (via pixel shifting!) by about a half pixel width in a diagonal direction. So assuming the lens quality is the same between the UHZ65 and a native 4K Sony, which it isn’t, there is no way the same detail can be provided by the Optoma with overlapping pixels and what is actually closer to an interlaced image than a progressive image. What comparisons do you refer to that claim images from the UHZ65 are sharper or more detailed than from a native 4K Sony?

Posted by John Nemesh on March 5, 2018

I would also add that this projector is NOT for everyone.  Some will prefer the flexibility in installation that other projectors offer.  Some will want a motorized zoom, focus, and shift for switching between 16x9 and 2.35:1 content.  Others will prefer a projector with better black level and contrast such as what JVC offers in their higher end projectors.  But for the customer who is looking to replace a flat panel and USE it as such, or to someone with a high amount of ambient light in the room, this product is GOLDEN!  There are others with arguably better picture quality, or more flexible installation options…but NO ONE ELSE is offering a UHD LASER projector under $5000.  No one.  As such, I have sold quite a few over the past months, and I expect that Optoma is most likely pretty pleased with the reception this model has had.

Posted by John Nemesh on March 5, 2018

Actually, 8.3 million pixels IS the standard number of pixels for UHD (“true” 4k is slightly higher) and displays the same amount of detail that the “native” UHD projectors provide.  Same detail (some comparisons show MORE detail on the UHZ65!) as the Sony “native” projectors, and DOUBLE the number of pixels on the screen than the Epson and JVC pixel shifters.

Posted by Robert Archer on February 28, 2018

I do want to thank you guys pointing these items out because it is important to on point with content like this.

Posted by Robert Archer on February 28, 2018

You guys caught my lack of attentiveness with my choice of words in this review. I did state the projector produces 8.3 million pixels, which is not as much as a native 4K product, but it means the 4K spec based on industry standards. I did know about the keystone, and mentioned basic image adjustment options, which limits its installability, I just didn’t think when I used the term lens shift and keystone adjustments while writing the story. Besides, why would you use keystone adjustments anyway, it’s not an ideal solution. The specs section also specifies compatibility with the various color gamuts, and if you look at the start of the paragraph it says According to Optoma. I think videophiles needs to realize you are not going to find a reasonably priced projector that’s going to reproduce a REC 2020 color space at this point in time. Maybe a flagship Barco or Christie product, but how much more money are those products than this projector. Rather than parsing words I think the important thing with this projector is that it provides 3840 x2160 compatibility with bright images and low maintenance requirements. Over time any bulb-based product will lose brightness and image quality will suffer as a result. Videophiles should be applauding Optoma for developing this product. They cut a few features out, but the omission of those features in most cases are worth it.

Posted by cinemapete on February 28, 2018

Contrary to what the author stated…“It offers basic lens shift, focus and keystone options”, the UHZ65 does not have any keystone adjustments and that has been born out by other technical reviews.  Lens shift and focus are totally manual - there is no motorized lens shift/focus on the UHZ65 - something even less costly 4K compatible projectors have.  For a more technical review and assessment of the UHZ65 take a look at the projectorcentral dot com website for their Jan 17th review of it and their Jan 24th shoot-out comparison of the UHZ65 with the JVC RS440U (a lamp-based projector).

Posted by Mike McNamara on February 28, 2018

I do not believe the projector is capable of “reproducing the Rec.2020 and DCI-P3 Color Gamuts” as stated by the author. It only supports them—which means it can receive content mastered in those WCG spaces, but can only reproduce slightly more than the much smaller Rec.709 color gamut—at least according to ProjectorReviews.com which actually tested the color gamuts.

Posted by John Nemesh on February 27, 2018

Nice review!  I bought this projector for myself, sight unseen, when it was first released, and haven’t regretted the purchase in the slightest!  I agree that it “jumps to the top of the pack” for value as well.  It has an outstanding image, overall, and the only drawbacks, as you stated, are the lack of horizontal lens shift and limited vertical shift.  You HAVE to plan for this projector and make sure it’s positioned EXACTLY where it needs to be!  That being said, it’s a one time limitation.  Once it’s properly installed, the projector will deliver where it counts.  Note that this projector IS a “pixel shifter”.  However, unlike the Epson or JVC models, which pixel shift a 1080p chip to deliver double 1080p resolution, this chip has a native resolution of 2716x1528 (source: http://www.ti.com/product/DLP660TE ), which doubled, gives you over 8.3 million discrete pixels on screen.  DOUBLE the number that the JVCs and Epsons deliver.  I also agree that this projector is well suited for high ambient light situations, as my purchase is replacing my 65” Samsung UN65KS8000 in my living room.  I have a Screen Innovations “Slate” 1.2 gain screen, and I am able to watch even in the middle of the day, with plenty of ambient light in the room.  It’s laser light engine means that I can power on the projector almost instantly (cold start to image on screen in under 15 seconds), and I don’t have to worry about lamp life.  At a 20,000 hr rating, I can watch 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for SEVEN YEARS!  I promised myself that I would buy the first 4k/UHD projector with a laser light engine that retails under $5000…This just happened about 2-3 years faster than I expected!  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Posted by John Nemesh on February 27, 2018

Nice review!  I bought this projector for myself, sight unseen, when it was first released, and haven’t regretted the purchase in the slightest!  I agree that it “jumps to the top of the pack” for value as well.  It has an outstanding image, overall, and the only drawbacks, as you stated, are the lack of horizontal lens shift and limited vertical shift.  You HAVE to plan for this projector and make sure it’s positioned EXACTLY where it needs to be!  That being said, it’s a one time limitation.  Once it’s properly installed, the projector will deliver where it counts.  Note that this projector IS a “pixel shifter”.  However, unlike the Epson or JVC models, which pixel shift a 1080p chip to deliver double 1080p resolution, this chip has a native resolution of 2716x1528 (source: http://www.ti.com/product/DLP660TE ), which doubled, gives you over 8.3 million discrete pixels on screen.  DOUBLE the number that the JVCs and Epsons deliver.  I also agree that this projector is well suited for high ambient light situations, as my purchase is replacing my 65” Samsung UN65KS8000 in my living room.  I have a Screen Innovations “Slate” 1.2 gain screen, and I am able to watch even in the middle of the day, with plenty of ambient light in the room.  It’s laser light engine means that I can power on the projector almost instantly (cold start to image on screen in under 15 seconds), and I don’t have to worry about lamp life.  At a 20,000 hr rating, I can watch 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for SEVEN YEARS!  I promised myself that I would buy the first 4k/UHD projector with a laser light engine that retails under $5000…This just happened about 2-3 years faster than I expected!  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Posted by Mike McNamara on February 28, 2018

I do not believe the projector is capable of “reproducing the Rec.2020 and DCI-P3 Color Gamuts” as stated by the author. It only supports them—which means it can receive content mastered in those WCG spaces, but can only reproduce slightly more than the much smaller Rec.709 color gamut—at least according to ProjectorReviews.com which actually tested the color gamuts.

Posted by cinemapete on February 28, 2018

Contrary to what the author stated…“It offers basic lens shift, focus and keystone options”, the UHZ65 does not have any keystone adjustments and that has been born out by other technical reviews.  Lens shift and focus are totally manual - there is no motorized lens shift/focus on the UHZ65 - something even less costly 4K compatible projectors have.  For a more technical review and assessment of the UHZ65 take a look at the projectorcentral dot com website for their Jan 17th review of it and their Jan 24th shoot-out comparison of the UHZ65 with the JVC RS440U (a lamp-based projector).

Posted by Robert Archer on February 28, 2018

You guys caught my lack of attentiveness with my choice of words in this review. I did state the projector produces 8.3 million pixels, which is not as much as a native 4K product, but it means the 4K spec based on industry standards. I did know about the keystone, and mentioned basic image adjustment options, which limits its installability, I just didn’t think when I used the term lens shift and keystone adjustments while writing the story. Besides, why would you use keystone adjustments anyway, it’s not an ideal solution. The specs section also specifies compatibility with the various color gamuts, and if you look at the start of the paragraph it says According to Optoma. I think videophiles needs to realize you are not going to find a reasonably priced projector that’s going to reproduce a REC 2020 color space at this point in time. Maybe a flagship Barco or Christie product, but how much more money are those products than this projector. Rather than parsing words I think the important thing with this projector is that it provides 3840 x2160 compatibility with bright images and low maintenance requirements. Over time any bulb-based product will lose brightness and image quality will suffer as a result. Videophiles should be applauding Optoma for developing this product. They cut a few features out, but the omission of those features in most cases are worth it.

Posted by Robert Archer on February 28, 2018

I do want to thank you guys pointing these items out because it is important to on point with content like this.

Posted by John Nemesh on March 5, 2018

Actually, 8.3 million pixels IS the standard number of pixels for UHD (“true” 4k is slightly higher) and displays the same amount of detail that the “native” UHD projectors provide.  Same detail (some comparisons show MORE detail on the UHZ65!) as the Sony “native” projectors, and DOUBLE the number of pixels on the screen than the Epson and JVC pixel shifters.

Posted by John Nemesh on March 5, 2018

I would also add that this projector is NOT for everyone.  Some will prefer the flexibility in installation that other projectors offer.  Some will want a motorized zoom, focus, and shift for switching between 16x9 and 2.35:1 content.  Others will prefer a projector with better black level and contrast such as what JVC offers in their higher end projectors.  But for the customer who is looking to replace a flat panel and USE it as such, or to someone with a high amount of ambient light in the room, this product is GOLDEN!  There are others with arguably better picture quality, or more flexible installation options…but NO ONE ELSE is offering a UHD LASER projector under $5000.  No one.  As such, I have sold quite a few over the past months, and I expect that Optoma is most likely pretty pleased with the reception this model has had.

Posted by Mike McNamara on March 5, 2018

To John Nemesh: The claim by DLP and Optoma to provide 8.3 million “unique” pixels on screen is questionable at best—given that the pixels overlap each other (via pixel shifting!) by about a half pixel width in a diagonal direction. So assuming the lens quality is the same between the UHZ65 and a native 4K Sony, which it isn’t, there is no way the same detail can be provided by the Optoma with overlapping pixels and what is actually closer to an interlaced image than a progressive image. What comparisons do you refer to that claim images from the UHZ65 are sharper or more detailed than from a native 4K Sony?

Posted by John Nemesh on March 5, 2018

To Mike, you might want to check your info.  The Optoma doesnt overlap pixels, does display all 8.3 million individual pixels, and does have more detail than the “native” Sony.  Link to video comparison, where you can see for yourself here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeFUsR056SA