Op­toma UHZ65

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

Good level of de­tail; strong con­trast; laser ben­e­fits

FOR

In the tech world, lasers are used to read Blu-ray and CD discs and trans­fer data through op­ti­cal ca­bles. And they’re start­ing to make an im­pact in pro­jec­tors.

While tra­di­tional lamps typ­i­cally last around 5000 hours, laser mod­els can of­fer five or six times that life. They also don’t have a bulb that needs to warm up or cool down, and so they’re able to power on and off in­stantly.

Low-power per­for­mance

And, per­haps most im­por­tantly, they’re com­par­a­tively ef­fi­cient per­form­ers. While lamp pro­jec­tors pro­duce light, most of which is fil­tered out to leave the red, green and blue por­tions needed to pro­duce the full range of colours, laser pro­jec­tors cre­ate colours with red, blue and green lasers. That means not only less power con­sump­tion, but also that they are ca­pa­ble of higher bright­ness lev­els that won’t de­te­ri­o­rate over time.

As the tech be­comes more wide­spread, there’s greater choice at lower prices. One of these is Op­toma’s UHZ65 – the laser ver­sion of the com­pany’s UHD65 (£3000) and a cur­rent What Hi-fi? Award-win­ner in its price cat­e­gory.

Daz­zling dis­play

First we cal­i­brate the pic­ture to the screen, which, thanks to a ver­ti­cal lens shift and 1.6x zoom un­der the hood, takes hardly any time.

We fire up the UHZ65 and, play­ing Baby Driver Ul­tra HD Blu-ray through a Cam­bridge CXUHD 4K Blu-ray player and Denon AVR‹X6400H AV re­ceiver, are met with an im­me­di­ately like­able 4K HDR pic­ture that is a stick­ler for de­tail and a daz­zler with colours.

The Op­toma does jus­tice to Edgar Wright’s ex­hil­a­rat­ing homage to ’90s heist movies, also tack­ling the dif­fi­cult task of be­ing grounded when it comes to skin tones and mun­dane cityscapes. It nails the bal­ance be­tween punch and pre­ci­sion to such a de­gree we’re in­clined to play ev­ery Wes An­der­son movie on it. 54 Not much to look at; Sony ri­val of­fers greater in­sight

AGAINST

The Sony VPL‹VW260ES pro­jec­tor gives the Op­toma a slightly higher bench­mark to strive for when it comes to ab­so­lute in­sight, and for a sim­i­lar price. It opens the win­dow into Wright’s fan-fic­tional world a lit­tle wider, of­fer­ing sub­tler, more re­fined colour re­pro­duc­tion and more as­tute lines.

The Op­toma’s pleas­ing con­trast is on a par with its Sony neme­sis, though. While you shouldn’t ex­pect a pro­jec­tor to de­liver the same plung­ing depth of blacks as an OLED TV, the Op­toma is far from a washout. Flames blaze with in­ten­sity as they rise into the black bars, and there’s min­i­mal bloom­ing in scenes with head­lights beam­ing in dingy un­der­ground garages, high­light­ing the Op­toma’s im­pres­sive con­trast.

Ab­sorb­ing watch

Depth per­cep­tion is dis­tin­guished as the cam­era pans the At­lanta sky­line, and Op­toma’s Pure­mo­tion set­ting proves in­valu­able not only dur­ing the car get­aways but also in cam­era track­ing and sub­tler on-screen move­ment. On level 1 or 2 (our pref­er­ence), it gets rid of blur and irons out jud­der in a way that ap­pears nat­u­ral and un­ob­tru­sive.

Those qual­i­ties com­bined make for an ab­sorb­ing watch that’s easy on the eye. The per­for­mance re­mains high when fed Full HD ma­te­rial. We play Neon De­mon on Blu-ray, and while the pic­ture nat­u­rally loses the sharp­ness gifted by 4K, and the ex­tra pop and colour sub­tlety by HDR, good de­tail and ton­ally even colour re­pro­duc­tion are ex­posed.

Fur­ther credit to the Op­toma’s up­scaler: even DVD play­back, while rel­a­tively soft and noisy, is watch­able.

Ugly duck­ling

Of all home en­ter­tain­ment kit, pro­jec­tors may have the least amount of pres­sure to look good, and that’s just as well for the Op­toma. It lacks dis­tin­guish­ing fea­tures to the point where its rear con­nec­tions panel is the only wor­thy talk­ing point.

There are two HDMI in­puts, one of which is 2.0- and HDCP 2.2-cer­ti­fied to ac­cept 4K from an AV re­ceiver or 4K source. There’s eth­er­net, VGA and 3.5mm ana­logue in­puts, a 3.5mm out­put and two USB sock­ets: one for ser­vice and one to power a me­dia streamer, such as Google Chrome­cast or Ama­zon Fire TV.

It isn’t beau­ti­ful, but the per­for­mance it’s ca­pa­ble of is. Once again, Op­toma con­fi­dently of­fers big-screen thrills.

“It nails the bal­ance be­tween punch and pre­ci­sion to such a de­gree that we’re in­clined to play ev­ery Wes An­der­son movie on it”

It’s def­i­nitely not much to look at, but the Op­toma’s pic­ture is pleas­ing

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