After an experience with the flagship product of a brand, expectations are more likely to be raised going into the next one. So while the ZK750 was worth a king’s ransom (assuming he was a videophile), the new UHZ50 is more in the vein of borrowing petty cash from a cinephile. It’s not exactly “entry-level” as far as 4K DLP projectors go, but it’s also one with a laser light source as opposed to a traditional UHP lamp, adding value and longevity to the proposition.
Optoma UHZ50 review
Let’s just say that the Optoma UHZ50 won’t be winning any Red Dot design awards. It’s a utilitarian design with an offset lens, vents for cooling, focus and zoom control rings on top, all encased in a nondescript white box. It would easily be at home in a public school’s auditorium, but Optoma isn’t out to educate here, but rather entertain.
Powered by a laser light source that Optoma calls Duracore, it’s not just brighter, but also quieter and thanks to an IP6X optical engine that protects it from dust and extends longevity even further. The claimed 30,000 hours might be impossible to measure, but it’s comforting to know that it will handle your binge-watching at the rate of six hours a day for more than a lifetime.
The top panel consists of the usual zoom and focus rings while the rear panel is a busy place with multiple HDMI inputs, USB ports, 3.5mm analogue output, and even optical and RJ-45 ports. It makes a strong case for flexible installation with lens shifting, corner correction, keystone adjustment, warping and even digital zoom. This allows it to be placed in a wide variety of locations around the room without making your image look like an NFT on the wall.
HDR usually isn’t the label that guarantees a great performance in a projector and usually, it’s to be taken with a pinch of salt. But with the Optoma UHZ50, it becomes its biggest strength. Support for HDR10 and HLG is on board with the option to just leave it to Optoma’s engineers with the HDR preset mode or get your hands dirty with the User mode that provides plenty of fine-tuning over the RGB channels, kind of HDR, motion processing and BrilliantColour. Balancing the relationship between saturation and brightness, BrilliantColour is a great tool to get the right colour temperature along with the saturation you desire.
Our Great National Parks on Netflix is a great place to start being impressed with the Optoma UHZ50 with its mix of smooth and natural motion, sharply rendered image from corner to corner and colours that are vivid without appearing artificial. It makes for a fantastic viewing experience, provided you spend a little time cooking things to perfection in the image settings menu.
The basic UI makes it easy for quick changes to the tonality and get to the place you want. Thanks to the laser light source, there is no dearth of brightness, so you have to solely focus on getting the hues right with Dolby Vision content. Once you do, the UHZ50 throws up an impressively immersive image that on our 120in screen looks like one of the best we have ever seen at this price point!
On The Dropout, close-ups of Amanda Seyfried playing Elizabeth Holmes from Theranos against the stark white light during the interviews are rendered beautifully, providing the requisite brightness needed to create the starkness without losing detail in the eyes or the texture of her clothing.
It also has a rudimentary speaker if you’re too lazy to power up your hi-fi system or need to use it as an actual academic device! But more importantly, in the home-cinema context, the UHZ50 also has an eARC compatible HDMI input that lets you send the audio signal straight to a soundbar, without an AVR in between. It also has a dedicated gaming input that’s optimised for faster refresh rates, up to 240Hz@1080p or 60Hz@4K if you’re a pixel hungry, monster-slaying cinephile.
Competition is stiff at this price point, but the Optoma UHZ50 delivers everything you need from a typical home-cinema projector and throws in a couple of extras like gaming goodies, 3D compatibility a basic app store that may not be a patch on Android TV or an external streaming source, but will get you some form of entertainment if you don’t have one handy.
The biggest reason to consider it though is its fine picture which can be as large as 120in and can be easily installed in a wide variety of situations without compromising on geometry. If you like your movies in a marathon, this one cannot be ignored!
Easy to install, easy to use and easy on the eyes, the Optoma UHZ50 doesn’t put a foot wrong!
|Display tech:||DLP 4K|
|Resolution:||3840 x 2160|
|Connectivity:||HDMI x 3, Audio out, USB-A x 3, RS232, 12V trigger, S/PDIF, 3D sync, RJ45|
|Dimensions (WHD):||337 x 108 x 265mm|