Op­toma UHD40

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

Punchy colours; in­sight­ful de­tail; smooth mo­tion; build


If you’re look­ing for a top-class pro­jec­tor, the two tech­nolo­gies you’re go­ing to want are Ul­tra HD res­o­lu­tion and High Dy­namic Range. Just a few years ago, pro­jec­tors like that would set you back many thou­sands of pounds. But now, there are de­vices such as Op­toma’s UHD40 that can bring you those tech­nolo­gies for less.

Siz­ing up

The UHD40 cer­tainly looks the part. And weigh­ing in at 5kg, it is small enough to fit on any small ta­ble.

On the top are con­trols for zoom and fo­cus, while at the back you’ll find all the ex­pected con­nec­tions. These in­clude two HDMI ports (one hand­ily marked ‘4K’) and a USB Type A con­nec­tion so you can power stream­ing sticks.

On the au­dio side, while this speaker has a cou­ple of 5W speak­ers, there’s also a 3.5mm au­dio in­put and out­put. Built-in speak­ers should re­ally be used only if ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary, oth­er­wise the sound qual­ity won’t match that of your pic­ture.

Switch­ing be­tween in­puts is sim­ple with Op­toma’s re­mote con­trol. The but­ton lay­out is straight­for­ward and a help­ful back­light that turns on with each press. If we’re be­ing picky, we’d like it to de­tect move­ment or have a spe­cific back­light but­ton so we can see what we’re press­ing be­fore we press it, but that’s a mi­nor is­sue.

Giv­ing this pro­jec­tor its 4K ca­pa­bil­i­ties is a 12mm chip that, while not na­tively 4K, works in con­junc­tion with two mil­lion mi­cro­scopic mir­rors to put the full 8.3 mil­lion pix­els on screen.

But the UHD40’S HDR fea­ture is a lit­tle more com­plex. Most HDR con­tent is in the form of HDR10, re­quir­ing a BT.2020 colour space; how­ever, the UHD40 isn’t ca­pa­ble of re­cre­at­ing the en­tire colour space, so is un­able fully to show o– the full range of HDR colours avail­able (the same is also true for ri­vals, how­ever). Switch­ing be­tween SDR and HDR modes is done au­to­mat­i­cally. Should the


be bet­ter Black de­tail could pro­jec­tor de­tect that the con­tent is HDR it will im­me­di­ately change.

All this gets trans­lated onto your screen us­ing the UHD40’S 2400-lu­mens lamp, which Op­toma says has a life­span of 4000 hours on its max­i­mum set­tings. The com­pany also claims that the UHD40 has con­trast ra­tio of 500,000:1 – a fig­ure that, on pa­per, looks pretty good.

We ad­just the bright­ness and con­trast for the UHD40, op­ti­mis­ing it for our test­ing rooms, and bump up the sharp­ness by a cou­ple of in­cre­ments. Us­ing a Denon AVRšX6400H AV re­ceiver and Cam­bridge CXUHD for our source, we be­gin by play­ing Blue Planet II on Ul­tra HD Blu-ray.

Deep, rich image

From the mo­ment the Blue Planet II logo ap­pears on screen, we’re met with a pos­i­tively punchy image. The deep, rich blues of the ocean stand out well against the dark black back­ground, and the way the sun curves around the planet of­fers a range of yel­low light flares.

As the cam­era pans above the Great Barrier Reef, the sprin­kling of green­ery – trees and shrubs and earth – on the side of the moun­tains are di­verse and del­i­cate. As we dive un­der the wa­ter to ex­am­ine life on the reef, watch­ing a cut­tle­fish change the pig­ments on its skin, the streaks of blue-white light along its body walk that fine line of be­ing both nat­u­ral yet im­pres­sive. Rather than al­low­ing the bright colours wipe out the lesser hues, the UHD40 still shows the lit­tle scratches and ridges on the cut­tle­fish’s face. The UHD40 doesn’t skimp on the de­tail ei­ther. As a crab scut­tles across the sandy ocean floor, this pro­jec­tor in­sight­fully ren­ders tiny grains and rocks to give you a truly de­tailed image.

Our one crit­i­cism here is that some other pro­jec­tors han­dle black de­tails a lit­tle bet­ter – but it’s a mi­nor point and the UHD40 still man­ages well, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing its low price.

Mov­ing to a Blu-ray of Pacific Rim, the UHD40 per­forms well. Colours are nat­u­ral and move­ment is smooth. The up­scaler isn’t quite as so­phis­ti­cated as others we’ve come across, but you have to look closely to spot that.

The Op­toma UHD40 is a pro­jec­tor that brings top-tier tech­nol­ogy to a lower price bracket – and im­ple­ments it very well in­deed. It’s no un­der­state­ment to say that ri­val man­u­fac­tur­ers are go­ing to have a hard time trump­ing this per­for­mance. Out­stand­ing.

“As we dive un­der the wa­ter to ex­am­ine life on the reef, the streaks of blue-white light along a cut­tle­fish’s body are both nat­u­ral and im­pres­sive”

It’s an ob­ject les­son in bal­anc­ing ad­vanced tech and per­for­mance with af­ford­abil­ity

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