Optoma W331 Projector Review – Smooth, Bright, Accurate

Optoma W331 Projector Review

There’s the simple way to build a Projector. Then there’s the way the Optoma W331 Projector 3200 Lumen WXGA Widescreen 3D DLP Projector was made. Lets just say it’s easily misunderstood. The reviews I’ve read online specifically on Optoma’s website haven’t really cast any light particularly to first time buyers about what they’re actually getting. So, i thought I’d write a definitive review explaining all the complexity’s in a way anyone can understand. My aim is to translate all the garbage into stuff that means something to most people. So without further delay. lets get right down to it.

PROS:

  • 3D
  • Practically HD
  • Easy Set-Up
  • Portable
  • Long Lamp Life
  • 3200 Lumens
  • Cost- effective

 

CONS:

  • None [ considering the price it is being sold at]

 

Overall Impression:

Size and Design:

The measurements here are 11.7 inches by 9 inches by 3.8 inches so it’s pretty small but not a super-portable. You’ll be able to fit this into a work suitcase or bag without any problems but not your pocket. It’s a typical Optoma design in that it doesn’t have the futuristic curves that some designs do, but it is functional. It has large vents, and all control buttons is easily visible on the top of the unit. Minimalist but not a bad effort. The weight is 5.2 pounds and this pretty light for the size so I have to give top marks here to the design team. This low weight increases the portability and along with that the user experience.

 

Performance

Set-Up

The whole thing comes completely calibrated to a high standard so there’s nothing much you need to do here. There’s no Keystone, and believe me that’s good. This is a DLP Projector and these are most prone to the distortions Keystone can bring with it. Instead they’ve provided manual vertical and horizontal adjustments and it all takes around 10 minutes to set-up before you’re throwing up images. Very quick.

 

Picture

You’ll all have noticed that this is a WXGA resolution Projector. That means it has a 1280×800 resolution. Far away from 1080p HD. 1280×800 is not even as good as 720p HD. This has led potential buyers to become confused when they look on Optoma’s website and see the glowing terms they talk about the picture in. They go to great lengths to describe stunning, dazzling images with superb depth as good as 1080p HD. How can this be true on a Projector with a 1280×800 resolution? Well it’s not entirely misleading. Let’s call what Optoma W331 Projector did here ‘the backdoor route to HD’.

Resolution determines the number of pixels on screen. The more there are, the more detail you’re likely to get. But 1080p HD is expensive to put into a Projector, and it’s not the only thing that decides quality of Projected images. So rather than provide straight 1080p they’ve gone with a less expensive backdoor route that involves upping the quality in other areas. For example you get REC709, which is a standard of color excellence developed by Microsoft in the 1980’s. So we’re talking about a color pallet that runs into billions of individual colors. Not only that, the color wheel inside this Projector works excellently to transmit these colors in great accuracy to the big screen. In other words, rather than give you all those pixels they’ve tried to make every pixel they have, something to behold. The 20,000-1 Contrast Ratio also helps along the picture. Contrast Ratio determines the boldness and depth of blacks and whites. At 20,000-1 you’ll be seeing hardly any distortions in dark movies and natural light won’t affect images as much as on other machines.

So what does all this amount too. Well not 1080p quality HD. But, you do get something approaching that. It’s nearly there but not quite. It’s definitely better than 720P HD so whether you’re watching movies or giving presentations i doubt many people will have a problem with the images.

 

3D

Optoma W331 Projector couldn’t have offered full 3D here because 3D is 1080p in each eye and this Projector hasn’t got 1080p. Although they did say on their webpage that this is a 3D Projector. So what’s the story about this 3D claim? Well, just like with the HD, they’ve gotten all their tech guys together and they’ve thought of a way to give you something much like 3D. Let’s call this the backdoor route to 3D. First they’ve put in HDMI 1.4a which reads all 3D formats so if you hook up your Blu-Ray player or 3D TV, it’ll read those 3D images with no problems. But you’ve still got the issue of the low pixel count 1280×800. So, they’ve put in technology that upscales the images to 1080p and upscales the frame-rate to a 3D friendly 120 Frames Per Second. Upscaling is when a device with a lower pixel count than is required for 3D, fills in the blanks itself, so what you see on screen looks like full 3D 1080p. In practise it never works out that way and this is no exception. With the upscaling you get something approaching full 3D but not quite all the way there. That said, the gap is so small between these results and 3D that most buyers who aren’t experts in Projection Technology won’t even notice the difference.

 

Lumens

There’s 3200 Lumens here. Lumens determine brightness so what you get is enough brightness to watch movies or give presentations with the curtains open on a dull to moderately bright day. On a majorly sunny you’ll still want to draw the blinds or close the curtains. Pixels with this kind of performance level open the door to watching movies in the evening time outside under the light of the moon. They also mean you don’t have to wait for all the light to drain out of the room before watching. They add to the portability because you don’t have to worry about image quality in different environments as much as with other Projectors.

Lamp Life

All Lamps on Projectors will eventually run out of life. When that happens there’s the added expense of replacing them. The average in the industry is 6000 hours but here you get 10000 hours so it’s pretty good deal.

Throw Distance

They’ve advertised this at up to 316 inches in screen size, but pay no attention to what manufacturers say about that. You never get a size that big unless you’re watching outside on a dark night or have huge rooms at your house. What you do get here is about 120 inches at 7 feet back ad this is up there with the best on the market. So it’s good for small rooms as well as moderately-sized and large rooms.

Conclusion

There’s nothing simple about this model but they got there in the end. You get almost 1080p HD quality and almost 3D. They achieved this through a string of technological manoeuvres rather than straightforward 1080p. So they saved money, and as such they can offer this up to the market at $399 rather than the $500-$600 you’d expect for a run of the mill HD 3D Projector. If you’re happy with paying a little less for a tiny bit less than HD and 3D then this could be the bargain you need. If you really want absolute 3D and HD quality then you’ll need to shop around a little more. I Iiked the throw distance because you can get a 120 inch screen in most rooms and the Lamp will save you money in the long-term. The Lumens allow you to watch in rooms that still have some light in them and modern buyers tend to like not having the draw the blinds. The set-up is easy so all in all i’d recommend this and i’m glad I wrote this review because at least now most people will know and understand what they’re getting with this. Thank you for reading.

 Optoma W331 Projector

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