Optoma are well known for the projectors, we’ve had a few through here before. The HD29Darbee, however, has been tuned for gamers as well as home cinema fans.
Gaming projectors apparently have more in common with buses than I originally thought. We’ve gone months without seeing one and then, all of a sudden, two arrive with weeks of each other.
At the beginning of the month we had the rather natty BenQ W1210ST picture-slinger. Today we are taking a look at the Optoma HD29Darbee.
Optoma HD29Darbee design
It’s not sleek, sporty or full of flair. To be honest, you probably don’t want that kind of distraction either. However, I am a sucker for some bits of style. Unfortunately, what Optoma presents here is a glossy white projector similar in aesthetics to anything you’ll find in a meeting room.
The HD29Darbee measures 298 x 230 x 96.5mm (WxDxH), which is nice and compact.
The second HDMI port supports the same technology, but adds MHL 1.2 capability. MHL, or Mobile High-speed Link, enables mobile devices to connect to an HDMI port.
The advantage of MHL 1.2 over the older version is that you can use an active adapter. Active adapters can connect to any phone or tablet on the market. If they don’t support MHL naturally, the active adapter will add this functionality to your device.
Optoma also gives you a 3.5mm audio line out, a 12V supply to run a motorised projector screen, and a 3D-sync port for active 3D glasses.
Up front is a 3200 lumen bulb that dishes out a 30,000:1 contrast ratio, and 1080p resolution.
On the top of the projector are the controls and a zoom lever whilst focusing is done using the lens ring.
Finally, the projector also comes bundled with a natty little remote.
Everything here is where it should be and is fit for purpose. Kind of like a mid-range German saloon car.
Optoma HD29Darbee performance
This projector has been designed to be portable. To this end it weighs a mere At 2.38kg and comes with its own carry bag.
You will have no doubt noticed the large vents on either side of the HD29Darbee. These appear to allow for a larger, and slower moving fan than some other projectors. The result of this is remarkably quiet operation, even when gaming.
At a guesstimate, I reckon I was using the projector to throw an image of around 100-inches. This is worked out by the projector being around 9-10 feet away from the wall (screen).
I was really impressed by the brightness of this projector.
Even with the curtains open and the lights on (I review in the evening and it’s most definitely autumn right now) the image is clear, sharp and vibrant.
However, close the curtains and flick off the lights and the colours really pop.
The HD29Darbee actually has a 1000 lumens ‘eco’ mode but that’s not quite bright enough for my taste.
Lamp life comes in at around 5000 hours at full brightness. But, unless you intend on doing all your gaming and box set watching in a well-lit room, you should easily get more than that.
Straight out of the box, the depth and vibrancy of the video produced was impressive. Whether that’s because whoever had it before me had done all the tweaking or it was down to the HD29Darbee’s REC.709 HDTV colour gamut, I don’t know. What I do know is that I left it at the default settings for the majority of the time and was perfectly happy with that.
The days of expecting Full HD at 1080p projected at 100-inches to be nasty and pixelated seems to be behind us now. Thanks to the Darbee image processing magic the picture is stunning.
Whether I was playing a Blu-Ray from the Oppo UDP-203, Netflix from my tablet or a film from Amazon over my Fire Stick. The HD29 presented an image that had the wow-factor.
Additionally, even when gaming this thing was no slouch.
It’s not as snappy as the recently reviewed BenQ but, when testing it out with a bit of Doom and CS:GO I still found it very playable.
As is usual with portable projector speakers, you will be better off adding external ones. The 10w unit does a decent enough job for when you haven’t got access to additional speakers, but things soon start to get muddy.
But, let’s face it, if you are installing a projector, chances are that you have speakers too.
Optoma HD29Darbee review conclusion
Optoma have again managed to produce a projector that is impressive for the price. We are talking under 600 notes here!
I really like the colour depth and detail and the ease of set up. It also proved its worth for casual gaming, however I would suggest you looked at the GT1080Darbee if gaming is your main thing.
All-in-all, you get great bang for your buck with the HD29.