The Optoma HD28HDR gives away its claim to fame right in its pithy name: HDR. Unlike most economical projectors, it works together with high dynamic range video. With higher-end TVs HDR makes a major difference in image quality, but with projectors it’s a different story: Projectors lack the HDR-friendly hardware like OLED and full-array local dimming that may make HDR sources on TVs shine. This Optoma is pretty bright but its HDR compatibility doesn’t make it massively much better than the non-HDR competition. Get the best black friday deals on your favorite products.

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Basic specs
Native resolution: 1,920×1,080
HDR-compatible: Yes
4K-compatible: Yes
3D-compatible: Yes
Lumens spec: 3,600
Zoom: Manual (1.1)
Lens shift: No
Lamp life (Normal mode): 6,000 hours
The HD28HDR can accept and display 4K sources but unlike the higher-end Optoma UHD60, it isn’t a genuine 4K projector. Among the HD28HDR’s HDMI inputs is HDMI 2.0 and will accept a 3,840×2,160 60Hz (4K) signal, however the most that’s ever displayed on screen is 1,920×1,080 (1080p). When you send this projector 4K, it’s discovered on screen as such, but you’re still only seeing HD.

Read more: TV resolution confusion: 1080p, 2K, UHD, 4K, 8K, and what each of them mean

Why allow 4K input but only display 1080p on-screen, you may ask? Technically you might have 1080p and even 720p resolution signals with HDR, but most streaming services and devices lump 4K and HDR together. The HD28HDR offers a cheaper way to get high dynamic range because it doesn’t have to use a 4K DLP chip.

If you are still into 3D, that’s here too, though no glasses are on the market on Optoma’s site. You will have to get some good third-party models from Amazon.

Optoma claims 3,600 lumens of brightness, and I measured around 1,500. It’s normal for a projector to measure less than its claimed numbers. For projectors of the price, this is a good result and creates an extremely bright image, albeit slightly dimmer compared to the Epson HC2150 and BenQ HT2050A.

As is normal with DLP projectors in this cost range, there is absolutely no lens shift. The BenQ is probably the few sub-$1,000 DLP projectors that does, as the Epson, an LCD projector, does aswell. The Optoma’s zoom range is quite limited, even by affordable projector standards. Both of these things mean the HD28HDR has limited placement options in comparison to projectors with a more substantial zoom range and/or lens shift, just like the BenQ and Epson.

Lamp life, in the standard mode, is a claimed 6,000 hours. In Eco mode this jumps up to an extraordinary 10,000 hours, though at a price of 30% of the brightness. Turning on the Dynamic Black feature expands this completely to 15,000 hours, or around a decade at 4 hours a day. In this mode the lamp brightness decreases with dark scenes. The fan speed varies with it, though this is not as noticeable much like the HD28HDR’s cheaper brother, the HD146X ($549 at Amazon).

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Connectivity and convenience
HDMI inputs: 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x HDMI 1.4
PC input: No
USB port: 1 (1.5A power)
Audio input and output: 3.5mm audio tracks out
Digital audio tracks output: No
LAN port: No
12v trigger: No
RS-232 remote port: No
MHL: No
Remote: Backlit
There are two HDMI inputs on the HD28HDR. One is HDMI 1.4, which covers you for just about any standard HD sources, or older 4K sources up to 30 Hz, you intend to connect. The other is HDMI 2.0 and will handle 4K sources. In an average home entertainment setup, where all of the sources tell you a receiver, there is no have to run two HDMI cables. HDMI 2.0 is backward compatible, which means that your HD sources will continue to work fine upon this input.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
The only other connection, apart from the 3.5mm audio tracks output, is USB. This perseverence a streaming stick such as a Roku or Amazon Fire ($50 at Amazon). There is absolutely no internal speaker, however.

The remote’s backlight is brighter than some projectors I’ve reviewed. Having a design shared across multiple Optoma projectors, there are input buttons here that are not on the HD28HDR itself.

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Picture quality comparisons
Overall the Optoma HD28HDR is slightly much better than the cheaper HD146X, because of its prowess with HDR, but I didn’t like its picture around the BenQ’s. The Epson, meanwhile scored the same in image quality as the HD28HDR but also for different reasons.

As usual, I linked these projectors to a Monoprice 1×4 distribution amplifier that gave each one the same source, and compared everything on a 102-inch 1.0-gain screen.

The Epson is an effective projector, specifically for viewers who dislike DLP’s rainbow effect. Its performance lags somewhat behind the BenQ, therefore i finished up looking at it significantly less than others. The face-off gets narrowed down by one.

That leaves us three DLP-based units. Externally the HD146X appears like a virtual twin to the HD28HDR. The casing is glossy black rather than glossy white, but is evidently the same design otherwise. Inside is a different story, however, resulting in different performance. The BenQ is constantly our benchmark, since it includes a great contrast ratio for the purchase price and fairly accurate colors.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
When viewing standard HD video, aka not HDR, I saw hardly any difference between your HD28HDR and the HD146X. I believe a lot of people, viewing the images created by both on a single screen, would assume these were the same projector. Perhaps with a few settings moved one tick in a single direction or another. As the 28HDR has a slightly higher contrast ratio, it isn’t particularly noticeable. Their color accuracy, such as for example it is, is comparable as well.

The BenQ does look much better than both Optomas, though not as much as the numbers suggest. Its contrast ratio is practically 3 times greater than the HD28HDR, which adds a lttle bit more depth to the image. It looks just a little less washed out. Having said that, it isn’t as big a notable difference as you’d expect. More noticeable will be the BenQ’s richer, more accurate colors, especially green. The HD28HDR includes a fairly muted green, and it’s really particularly noticeable when side-by-side with something with an increase of accurate colors. On the BenQ, The Incredible Hulk looks a lttle bit more incredible, if you will.

Considering that the BenQ is merely slightly more costly, while also being quieter, with an improved zoom and the as lens shift, it appears such as a slam dunk winner over the HD28HDR. However…

The HDR wild card
The above setup put all of the projectors on a single level playing field, showing the actual same content on all. To check HDR I linked another streaming adhere to the 28HDR and left others linked to the same SDR source. This setup i want to play the HDR version of a movie on the 28HDR and the SDR version on the other projectors. It took some fiddling, but I could get the sync between the several feeds close enough that it wasn’t annoying.

At this point I have to have a step back and make clear something about HDR. You can read more about any of it in What’s HDR for TVs, and just why should you care? and just why you mustn’t expect great HDR from a projector, however the short version is, budget projectors, even those as bright as the HD28HDR, are unable to reproduce HDR like modern TVs can. They have neither the light output, the dynamic range, nor the colors for wide color gamut content. So they must remap the HDR signal in ways so that it looks acceptable, without completely ignoring the excess HDR info.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
A projector that is in a position to read and readjust HDR content could, theoretically, look much better than a projector that can’t. It will not look as effective as a TV which has actual HDR-friendly performance but feeding it “better” content could yet lead to a far more compelling image. I believe you can view where I am going with this.

Without other changes apart from an HDR version of the signal, the HD28HDR looks noticeably much better than the HD146X, and eventually ends up giving the BenQ a run because of its money. How is this possible? Well, the dissimilarities remain subtle, but again, viewing them side-by-side reveals them.

The brightness, dynamic range, and colors of the projector haven’t changed, it’s the way the content will be able to better use that same performance. Think about it such as a professional driver on offer a racetrack in your vehicle. You’ll have a blast clocking in an enjoyable experience, but regardless of how you did, Lewis Hamilton can get an improved amount of time in the same car.

With Thor: Ragnarok, such dissimilarities are simple to choose, given the lavish sets and broad fantastical colors. There is greater detail in bright objects, like clouds. Exactly what is a flat white on, say, the BenQ, has detail/texture plus some color on the HD28HDR. Brighter colors are more saturated. As the black bars above and below the screen reveal that the BenQ includes a lower black level, and by extension, an improved contrast ratio, the image itself looks a lot more similar than you’d expect. As the issue with a weak green remains, other colors, especially brighter ones, look better and richer on the HD28HDR.

Conclusion: HDR-ish
This is an account of two projectors, trapped inside same small case. Fed standard SDR content, the HD28HDR’s fairly average contrast ratio and colors are fine, nonetheless they don’t make it stick out. Fed HDR content, it’s a different story. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in the event that you will. As the HD28HDR can’t do practically as much with HDR content as a far more capable projector, it isn’t doing nothing, as they say. It’s doing the very best using what it has — and looking better for this. Punching above its weight and looking quite good.

That said… the difference continues to be fairly slight. With HDR content, I’d put the HD28HDR very slightly above the BenQ HT2050A, though they have completely different strengths and weaknesses. With SDR content, that’s, almost all what you will be watching, the BenQ looks better. Not really a large amount, but enough. The BenQ, using its greater zoom range and lens shift, may also fit better in a lot more homes compared to the HD28HDR. So I’d lean that method for most people, however the HD28HDR is a good alternative, particularly if you watch predominantly HDR content.

Optoma HD146X High Performance Projector for Movies & Gaming | Bright 3600 Lumens | DLP Single Chip Design | Enhanced Gaming Mode 16ms Response Time

$549.00
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Features

  • CINEMATIC PICTURE QUALITY: Enjoy crisp, high-definition images with a native 1080p (1920×1080) resolution and an RYGCWB color wheel for home cinema color calibration.
  • PERFECT IMAGE ALIGNMENT: With the latest technology from Texas Instruments, the DLP DMD single-chip design ensures perfect image alignment combined with high-brightness for an incredible picture
  • LIGHTS-ON VIEWING: Enjoy an incredible 3, 600 of brightness in any room in your home; leave the lights on or keep it dim for a cinematic experience
  • FAST RESPONSE TIME: Enhanced Gaming Mode enables lightning-fast response time; Game Display Mode boosts shadows and dark scenes for greater visibility of impending obstacles
  • HDMI-CEC FOR SIMPLE ON/OFF: HDMI-CEC technology enables control of the projector and connected devices using a single remote, all via the HDMI connection with the projectors HDMI-Link feature

Optoma HD28HDR 1080p Home Theater Projector for Gaming and Movies | Support for 4K Input | HDR Compatible | 120Hz refresh rate | Enhanced Gaming Mode, 8.4ms Response Time | High-Bright 3600 lumens

$649.00
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Features

  • NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGY: Enjoy clear detailed 1080p (1920×1080) images (with 4K input) and 50,000:1 contrast ratio renders sharp and detailed images from high definition content without downscaling or compression
  • HDR COMPATIBLE: HDR10 technology (with 4K input) enables brigher whites and deeper black levels for an enhanced viewing experience
  • HIGH BRIGHT & COLORFUL IMAGE: Enjoy an incredible 4,000 lumens of brightness for lights-on viewing; a 6-segment color wheel (RYGCWB) produces accurate color with sRGB & REC.709 color profile
  • FAST RESPONSE TIME: Enhanced Gaming Mode enables lightning-fast response time of 16ms with a 120Hz refresh rate; Game Display Mode boosts shadows and dark scenes for greater visibility of impending obstacles
  • MORE IMAGE DEPTH: Dynamic Black technology provides more depth to the image by smoothing lamp output to create high contrast; bright scenes appear clear while dark scenes remain detailed

Optoma UHD50X True 4K UHD Projector for Movies & Gaming | 240Hz Refresh Rate | Lowest Input Lag on 4K Projector | Enhanced Gaming Mode 16ms Response Time | HDR10 & HLG Compatibility | 3400 lumens

$1,599.00  in stock
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Features

  • TRUE 4K ULTRA HD: Experience high-quality home cinema feel with 4K Ultra HD with 8.3 million distinct addressable on-screen pixels
  • LAG-FREE GAMING: Introducing the world's first ultra-fast 240Hz gaming projector enabling blur-free visuals and unparalleled smoothness––combined with Enhanced Gaming Mode to produce a 16ms response time, or 26ms at 4K UHD for the lowest input lag on a 4K projector
  • HDR & HLG COMPATIBLE: Enjoy brigher whites and deeper black levels for an enhanced viewing experience of images and videos, enabled by HDR10 & HLG technologies
  • DYNAMIC BLACK: Dynamic Black technology provides more depth to the image by smoothing lamp output to create a high contrast ratio (500,000:1); bright scenes appear clear while dark scenes remain detailed
  • FLEXIBLE INSTALLATION: Whether ceiling mounted or placed on a table, get the picture just right with 1.3X zoom, 5-15% vertical lens shift and ±40° keystone correction

Optoma UHD30 True 4K UHD Gaming Projector | 16ms Response Time with Enhanced Gaming Mode | Lowest Input Lag on 4K Projector | 240Hz Refresh Rate | HDR10 & HLG

$1,299.00  in stock
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Features

  • TRUE 4K ULTRA HD: Experience high-quality home cinema feel with 4K Ultra HD with 8.3 million distinct addressable on-screen pixels
  • LAG-FREE GAMING: Introducing the ultra-fast 240Hz gaming projector enabling blur-free visuals and unparalelled smoothness––combined with Enhanced Gaming Mode to produce a 16ms response time, or 26ms at 4K UHD for the lowest input lag on a 4K projector
  • HDR & HLG COMPATIBLE: Enjoy brighter whites and deeper black levels for an enhanced viewing experience of images and videos, enabled by HDR10 & HLG technologies
  • CRISP, COLORFUL PICTURE: UltraDetail technology ensures enhanced image sharpness with a higher frame rate to deliver a crystal clear picture; RGBWRGBW 8 segment color wheel increases the color ratio for richer, vivid and cinematic image
  • DYNAMIC BLACK: Dynamic Black technology provides more depth to the image by smoothing lamp output to create a high contrast ratio (500,000:1); bright scenes appear clear while dark scenes remain detailed

Optoma GT1080HDR Short Throw Gaming Projector | Enhanced Gaming Mode for 1080P 120Hz Gaming at 8.4ms | 4K UHD Support | Play HDR for 4K and 1080P | High 3800 lumens for Day & Night Gaming, White

$785.92
$605.00  in stock
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Features

  • HDR COMPATIBLE: HDR10 technology (with 4K input) enable brighter whites and deeper black levels; a 6-segment color wheel (RYGCWB) produces accurate color with sRGB & REC. 709 color profile
  • Fast response time: enhanced gaming mode enables Lightning-fast response time of 8. 4ms with a 120Hz refresh rate
  • Short throw lens: experience a large 120" Image projected from 4 feet away, allowing placement closer to the screen – ideal for smaller spaces and easier installation
  • Bright, razor-sharp images: 3, 800 Lumens, 50, 000: 1 contrast ratio, and full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) Enable a detailed, clear image
  • Long lamp life: Enjoy up to 15, 000 hours of lamp life enabling an average of 4 hours of viewing time every day 10+ years. Projection distance - 1. 3’ – 11. 3’

Optoma CinemaX P2 Smart 4K UHD Laser Projector for Home Theater 3000 Lumens Superior Image with Laser & 6-Segment Color Wheel

$3,299.00  in stock
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Features

  • 4K UHD + HDR10: Enjoy a high-quality, cinematic home theater experience with 4K Ultra HD, HDR10 technology and an incredible 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 6-SEGMENT COLOR WHEEL: Experience richer colors and enhanced brightness with the six-segment color wheel; The RGBRGB color wheel brings accurate cinematic color to your home, reproducing movies, TV and games the way the director envisioned it
  • BRIGHT, RELIABLE LASER: Laser technology delivers outstanding brightness up to 30,000 hours of light source life that maintains stunning image quality throughout its lifespan; 3,000 lumens of brightness enable lights-on viewing in a variety of rooms, any time of day
  • ULTRA-SHORT THROW: The CinemaX P2’s space-saving, ultra-short throw design provides convenient placement for a huge screen experience – up to 120" image from only inches away
  • EASY IMAGE SETUP: Using Optoma’s SmartFIT app, ensure easy place and play using your smartphone; the auto geometry correction system allows hassle-free image alignment; auto focus enables simple setup

Optoma HD39HDR High Brightness HDR Home Theater Projector | 120Hz Refresh Rate | 4000 lumens | Fast 8.4ms Response time with 120Hz | Easy Setup with 1.3X Zoom | 4K Input | Quiet Operation 26dB

$999.00
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Features

  • HDR COMPATIBLE: HDR10 technology (with 4K input) enables brigher whites and deeper black levels for an enhanced viewing experience
  • FAST RESPONSE TIME: Enhanced Gaming Mode enables lightning-fast response time of 8.4ms with a 120Hz refresh rate
  • HIGH BRIGHT & COLORFUL IMAGE: Enjoy an incredible 4,000 lumens of brightness for lights-on viewing; a 6-segment color wheel (RYGCWB) produces accurate color with sRGB & REC.709 color profile
  • CLEAR, DETAILED IMAGES: 1080p (1920×1080) resolution (with 4K input) and 50,000:1 contrast ratio renders sharp and detailed images from high definition content without downscaling or compression
  • EXTENSIVE CONNECTIVITY: Connect to gaming consoles, media players and other HDMI devices such as Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Apple TV; inputs include dual HDMI (1.4a 3D support)

Optoma S334e SVGA Bright Professional Projector Lights On Viewing with 3,800 Lumens Latest DLP Technology Business Presentations Classrooms or Home 15,000 hour lamp life Speaker Built In Portable Size

$324.57  in stock
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Features

  • PICTURE QUALITY: Designed for meeting rooms, classrooms, and other small-medium sized rooms, the S334e provides vibrant and sharp, clear text and graphics enabled by its SVGA resolution (800x600) and 22,000:1 contrast ratio
  • HIGH-BRIGHTNESS: Enjoy an incredible 3,800 lumens of brightness in well lit environments
  • CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS: The S334e features an array of connectivity options including HDMI, VGA and composite
  • LONG LAMP LIFE: Enjoy up to 15,000 hours of lamp life enabling an average of 4 hours of viewing time every day for 10+ years
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Vertical keystone correction and a 1.1x zoom enable flexibile placement in any environment

Optoma EH412 1080P HDR DLP Professional Projector | Super Bright 4500 Lumens | Business Presentations, Classrooms, and Meeting Rooms | 15000 Hour Lamp Life | 4K HDR Input | Speaker Built in

$823.06  in stock
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Features

  • High brightness: enjoy an incredible 4, 500 lumens of brightness in well lit meeting rooms, conference rooms, training rooms, classrooms and more
  • 4K HDR input: enjoy vibrant colors, Brighter whites, deeper black levels and sharper images when paired with the latest 4K HDR video sources or 1080P hdr gaming contents
  • Vivid color: 50, 000: 1 contrast and the sRGB color profile enables rich accurate color, based on the primaries of rec. 709 HDTV specification when used with a PC, Mac, or any sRGB compatible source
  • Easy image set-up: a 1. 3x zoom enables flexible placement in any environment, at throw ratio 1. 2-1. 47: 1. Vertical keystone correction +/- 40 degrees allows the EH412 to be off-center without having to elevate it to project the image onto the screen, resulting in an easy, more flexible image set-up;
  • Extensive connectivity options: The EH412 features an array of connectivity options including 2x HDMI, VGA in & out, audio-in & out, RS232, and USB-A

Optoma UHD60 True 4K UHD Projector, Bright 3000 Lumens, Entertainment and Movies, Rec.2020 with DCI-P3 for Wide Color Gamut, HDMI 2.0 and HDR10, WHITE

$1,999.00
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Features

  • TRUE 4K ULTRA HD: Experience premium, high-quality home cinema feel with 8.3 million distinct addressable on-screen pixels, enabled by the Texas Instruments 4K UHD DLP chipset
  • 4X THE PIXELS OF 1080p: See more detail with 4 times the pixels of your 1080p HDTV; higher resolution creates a razor sharp picture for the ultimate 4K home theater experience
  • ULTRA-BRIGHT: With 3,000 lumens, the UHD60 is bright enough in any room in the house, whether in a well-lit living room or a dimly lit home theater space
  • HDR COMPATIBLE: HDR10 technology with DCI-P3 wide color gamut support displays everything in the REC.2020 colors; also providing brighter whites, deeper blacks, and greater color depth
  • LONG LAMP LIFE: Enjoy up to 15,000 hours of lamp life enabling an average of 4 hours of viewing time every day 10+ years