A 3D gamers dream, Optoma has revealed an inexpensive 108 inch 3D projector fo gamers everywhere.
Playing as a life-sized Nathan Drake as he scours the globe for ancient artifacts or standing tall as Marcus Fenix as he charges into battle against Locust are just two of the ways a projector can put your gaming experience into a better perspective. The Optoma 750, marketed squarely at gamers as the GameTime projector, is just one projector that accomplishes this 108-inch quality image feat, and it does it while adding 3D to the specs.
But what’s better than having a 3D DLP 720p projector in your living room? The $800 price tag. Yes, entry-level HD projectors – even 3D ones like the Optoma 750 – are now that affordable. It almost seems backwards to have a projector shoot out a giant image that’s nearly twice the size and more than half the price of 55-inch LEDs. It can project anywhere 32.2 inches to a whopping 322.4 inches – I found 108 inches to be a happy medium and a size that fit my wall. The caveats are that no consumer-level projector is as bright as an LED and you will need to turn the lights off in your designated gaming room. Beyond those two cons, all of the smaller issues I found were outweighed by the three big benefits of owning this 3D projector.
The Third Dimension For A Third Of What You Thought You’d Pay
The compact Optoma 750 has enough power to produce a more-than-adequate 3D projection if you’re playing a 3D-supported video game or watching a 3D Blu-ray movie. In both cases, I tested these strengths on a PS3, a natural choice for 3D media enthusiasts, although Xbox 360 and a 3D graphics card-equipped PC rig work just fine, too.
It didn’t take long to set up the Optoma 750 for 3D when I wanted to play Uncharted 3 on PS3, and then watch Tron: Legacy on Blu-ray. It comes with a 3D emitter dongle that plugs into the back of the unit and, thankfully, this hanging protrusion can be tucked underneath (or, if you’re using a mount, rest above) the projector. You’ll probably forget about 3D emitter from this point forward, which is good because this all-important dongle wirelessly sends the 3D signal from the projector to the 3D glasses. Losing it would leave you in the 2D dark.
The Optoma 750 comes with one pair of 3D glasses and they’re probably the nerdiest specs you’ll ever put on. Besides a note of caution on your fashion sense, the nearly identical Optoma 750e model doesn’t come with any glasses. Luckily, Optoma’s brand of 3D glasses can be found online for $70 each – they’re sadly not universal.
The good news is that they last long enough to get you through more than one 3D movie and several hours of gaming. They can also be charged via a Micro USB port on the glasses and this projector bundle comes with both a cable and USB wall charger. The bad news is that there’s no helpful battery life indicator besides an ambiguous blinking red light, so you never really know how much time you have left.
Uncharted 3 is one of the best 3D games because it has already stunning-looking landscapes, from the Cartagena, Colombia to the endless deserts of Yemen. Cartagena in particular looks great because the draw distance during that chapter’s rooftop chase sequence was built for 3D. The much larger projection of the Optoma 750 doesn’t necessarily amplify the 3D experience when compared to a smaller set like the PlayStation 3D display. However, Optoma’s tech is able to keep up with that of Sony.
Actually Enjoying Motion Thanks to Life-Sized Avatars
Motion games, whether using Kinect on Xbox 360 or PlayStation Move on PS3, have had trouble establishing their gamer cred outside of the casual family circle. Part of the problem is that you’re moving around in your living room, as a pint-sized on-screen avatar shadows your every move. This isn’t how motion gaming was supposed to be played.
I found that the Optoma 750, and projectors in general, makes these motion games more fun. Dance Central 3 had a life-sized dancing avatar mirror my every move. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 has me assume the role of the in-your-living room golfer as he drove the ball downfield. Kinect Adventures had a realistically-sized version of me hopping around in a raft while traversing a river in an effort to collect coins in one game, then using my body to bounce a ball and break blocks in another Breakout-like game. Pretty soon, in my mind, the opaque avatar disappeared and my body represented what was happens on-screen.
Your No. 1 Solution for Split-Screen Gameplay
Split-screen multiplayer has been phased out in a lot of games in favor of competitive and co-op online multiplayer. But I’m still fond of playing with a buddy on the couch and, thankfully it’s still possible in some of our favorites: Left 4 Dead 2, CoD MW3, Minecraft, Split/Second, Starhawk, Borderlands and its upcoming sequel Borderlands 2. This mode is a lot of fun… sometimes. You see, back in the day, when the average gamer had a 24-inch standard definition TV, it was often split into four teeny-tiny boxes in multiplayer. That 12-inch width and height lead to a lot of squinting and firing your gun at first pixel movement.
Split-screen gameplay on a projector like the Optoma 750, however, takes that 12-inches and more than quadruples it. All of a sudden, all four players have their own personal 52” TV. In addition to playing current-generation HD multiplayer games, you’ll want to go back and enjoy some of the classics in this much larger format. Start playing Mario Kart 64, GoldenEye 007 and Halo on a projector and you won’t be able to play them any other way.
Optoma 750 Ports On The Back
Luckily, the Optoma 750 projector has more than enough video inputs for these classic titles. In addition to two HDMI ports, the rear of the unit contains one set of Component In ports (you may know them as yellow, red and white), a VGA port and an S-Video port. The latter is the highest resolution cable type for N64 (Component wasn’t introduced until the GameCube) and S-Video is rarely found on modern projectors and even today’s “all-inclusive” surround sound receivers.
Other nice touches to the Optoma 750 are the 3,000 to 4,000 hours of lamp life, a remote for tweaking projector settings and turning it on and off, and a backpack the unit comes packed in. At 12.76″ x 3.82″ x 9.21″, this projector fits snuggling into the backpack and it’s ideal for taking to multiplayer parties — after people find out you own a projector, they’ll be asking for you to bring it over, so expect the invites to come pouring in.
Not Quite Over The Rainbow
The Optoma 750 cons (outside the previously mentioned 3,000 ANSI Lumens of brightness that can’t match today’s LEDs) are the rainbow effect issue and short-throw nature of this single-chip projector. The rainbow effect is a well-documented problem with DLP projectors in which shifting your eyes about the screen will cause a thin layer of rainbow colors bleed from white graphics and text. The snow levels in Uncharted 2 was where the really noticed the problem. It’s only for a millisecond and is confined to when looking away and then back again at the screen very quickly. At $800, this isn’t that big of a deal.
The short-throw range of the Optoma 750 may be the bigger of the two issues, depending of course on your living room setup. “Short throw” essentially means that there’s no zoom lens, a common feature of common on more expensive projectors, so the size of the projection depends solely on where the unit is placed in your room. On the upside, it does produce a much larger image at a closer range than a normal zoom lens-included projector. But if you’re trying to match a specific projector screen size with a mounted projector unit and studs in the ceiling, it can turn into a very tricky situation. A more expensive adjustable mounting kit or a handy roommate may be required.
108-inches for $800 = $7.40 Per Inch
The Optoma 750 is marketed to gamers and rightfully so. This HD projector allows you to play games and movies on your wall, which is probably twice the size of your current TV setup. At $800, it can take your game to the next level, so long as your room isn’t basking in sunlight during the daytime and the short-throw lens isn’t going to be a logistical issue. The result is a more immersive gameplay experience that makes split-screen practical again and gives your favorite video game characters a Super Mushroom so that they’re as tall as you are.
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