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Optoma HD29Darbee gaming projector, amazing price – review

Optoma HD29Darbee portable projector

£599.99
8.3

Build quality

8.0/10

Design

8.0/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Performance

8.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Great price
  • Fantastic colour and depth
  • Easy to set-up
  • Quite quiet
  • Colour accuracy

Cons

  • Looks basic (but who cares)

hd29darbeeOptoma 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

HD29darbee and remoteThis is not the strongest point to start for the HD29 I will have to admit.

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.

hd29darbee rear ports[amazon_link asins=’B074DYV8P3′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’gadgnews-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=”]Around the rear of the device you’re given two HDMI ports. The first input, located on the outermost side of the projector, supports HDCP and pass through audio. This means that it will work with any 1080p video source. Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles, and PC’s will all work fine on this port.
 
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.

Check out our review of the BenQ W1210ST gaming projector

 
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.
 
hd29darbee top controlsOn 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.

hd29darbee right angleYou 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.

Screen size

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).

hd29darbee shield tablet and controllerIf I had the room, I am sure that I could get an even larger usable viewing area that still would be great.

Brightness

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.

hd29darbee onThose 3200 lumens can actually feel too bright in a darkened room for movie watching. 2000, or even 1500 lumens should suffice.

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.

Colour

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.

optoma hd29darbee left angleHowever, there are 10 colour presets to choose from. The Sharpness setting, for instance, increases contrast, making even the finest details come to life.

In use

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.

hD29 darbee doomIn Enhanced Gaming Mode you get a 16ms refresh rate.

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.

hd29 darbee csgoAlso, the colour and brightness uniformity was pretty spot on. Optoma states 80%, but it looks better than that.

hd29 doom up closeEven when getting close to the image, it remains sharp.

Audio

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.

Price and availability

You can grab yourself an Optoma HD29Darbee from Very for £599.99. The same goes for Amazon UK too.

Optoma HD29Darbee gaming projector, amazing price – review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 4 min
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