While televisions have come a long way even in the last decade, nothing beats the projector in creating a one-of-a-kind at-home viewing experience. This is doubly so when it comes to creating that perfect gaming experience. Any PC or console gamer knows that screen size matters, especially when you play multiplayer games. After all, Super Smash Bros sure does look different on 100+ inches when compared to a standard 70-inch TV, even in HD. So, if you absolutely need the most immersive gaming experience possible, you’re likely in the market for a gaming projector.
The Optoma GT1080HDR is designed for that purpose. But does it have everything you need to build your best gaming get-up? Let’s take a look and find out.
Who is the Optoma GT1080HDR for?
We’ve covered several Optoma projectors on the site (some of which we’ll mention again in this article). However, it bears repeating that Optoma is a solid brand when looking at performance, reliability, and overall quality. Originally founded in Taiwan in 2002, Optoma has become a multinational corporation with a reputation that often precedes it. The brand is best known for its DLP and LED projectors, specifically those marketed for home theater use.
However, that’s not the only market Optoma has gotten a piece of. They also produce a line of projectors that are designed to create a riveting home gaming experience. Choosing a projector for gaming requires slightly different criteria than one strictly used for a home theater setup. You have to factor in the standard features like connectivity, contrast, and noise with the inevitable necessity of possible lag. After all, you can’t win if you can’t stay in the game long enough to do so.
Some, like the Optoma GT1080HDR, can do all that with the bonus of being great short-throw projectors. It can throw a huge image in a small space. Did we mention the price? If you want a projector under 1000 dollars that can pull double duty for gaming and still be great for your home theater, the Optoma GT1080HDR just might be your new favorite toy.
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Now that we’re on the topic, let’s talk about what you get for the price! This projector has a lot of great features for the price. It’s an upgrade from some of the more basic projectors without costing you thousands for the added benefits. Here are some of the highlights we think you’ll love:
- Brightness: 3,800 ANSI lumens
- Resolution: 1920×1080
- Aspect ratio: 16:9 (HD)
- Dynamic contrast: 50,000:1
- Color processing: 10-bit
- Color wheel: 6 segments
- Displayable colors: 1.07 billion
- Video modes: 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p, 480p, 480i
- 245W metal halide bulb
- Lamp life: 4,000 hours / 15,000 hours (Dynamic)
- Integrated 10.0 watt mono speaker
- Throw distance: 1.3′ – 11.3′
- Image size: 36.2″ – 307.8″
- Throw ratio: 1.47:1 – 1.62:1
- Include Digital Zoom feature
- Vertical Digital Keystone only
- Lens Shift: No
- Projector size: 4.50″ x 12.40″ x 9.50″ (HxWxD)
- Weight: 7.7 lbs
- Audible noise: 26 dB
- HD compatibility: Full HD 3D
- Enhanced gaming mode: 16ms input lag
For a short-throw projector, this one certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the available connectivity. The Optoma GT1080HDR has plenty of connectors to plug in your favorite gaming system (and your Nintendo Switch or new PS5 will appreciate the big screen hook-up), PC, or even media center with the ability for multiple connections at once. For the full list of included ports, we have:
- HDMI x 1
- HDMI 2.0 x 1
- Audio in & out: Mini Jack
- USB Type-A x 1
- RS232: DB-9pin
- VGA in & out: Dsub-15pin
Versatile mounting options
For most home theater layouts, you probably want to wall-mount your projector to save on space. That’s certainly an option with the Optoma GT1080HDR, the short-throw capabilities also make table mounting an option as well. This flexibility can matter when you have a small space to work with. This model comes with an F2.8 fixed lens with a 0.50:1 throw ratio and 0.8-2.0 digital zoom. Not bad at all.
At this price range, most of the short-throw projectors we cover on the site have 2.0-4.0 integrated watt-speakers. Not the Optoma GT1080HDR! This model is designed with 10-watt speakers that really fill a room.
Granted, you’ll still want to consider an external sound system if you want to immerse yourself in the full experience of the big screen. However, the integrated speakers will do in a pinch – or if you’re taking this projector with you for any mobile set-up. It’s a bonus not to need to lug around a second set of speakers as well.
Dedicated gaming mode
Let’s be honest. This is the reason you’re looking at this projector, right? One of the great features this Optoma model offers is a dedicated gaming mode – Game Display Mode – that cuts down on the input lag and boosts the visuals, allowing for a better gaming experience. More than that, the GT1080HDR cuts the lag from most other models, even in the same manufacturer, in half! You cannot beat this projector when it comes to smooth, seamless gameplay.
With the HDMI port, you have the option of 3D viewing. This projector features full 3D support, although you will need to purchase glasses separately for use.
Most projectors in this price range feature Full HD. This one certainly does. This makes the image crisp, sharp, and detailed which certainly enhances your viewing experience.
4K UHD support
The GT1080HDR offers full 4K input. It down converts this 3840-by-2160-pixel input to its native 1080p. This is a huge win for anyone looking at the newest generation of gaming consoles (as the PS5 and the new XBOX Series X will bring the ability for true 4k gaming home with you!) This is a feature you won’t find in more basic models, putting this one above some of the other Optoma products designed for passive media.
Pros & Cons
As we’ve said before, no projector is perfect! It’s important to take a look at the good and the not-so-good that each one offers before you make your final choice.
What are some of the best aspects of this projector? Let’s jump right into them!
Powerful in small spaces
Short-throw projectors are designed to give you big images from a short distance. In the case of the GT1080HDR, it can deliver a 100-inch screen from just one meter away. Not only that, there’s no compromise on the image quality for projector size.
On that note, let’s talk about the contrast. Optoma is known for its fantastic image quality. You’ll get a crisp, beautiful image in just about any lighting. At night, it’s incredibly bright and unbelievably clear. If you’re able to control ambient light, you’ve got yourself a visual powerhouse. Even without absolute blackness in the room, you won’t have any trouble seeing even the smallest details on your screen.
Honestly, you may need to adjust the brightness down if you’re playing in a dark room. That’s easily done and shouldn’t affect the game once you get started.
You can easily spend thousands of dollars finding the top-of-the-line projectors. The question is – do you really need to? While not as cheap as your basic 1080p budget projector, the Optoma GT1080HDR isn’t a model that will give you sticker shock, especially with the number of features it comes with.
Enhanced Gaming Mode
As mentioned above, the biggest appeal of this Optoma model is the Enhanced Gaming Mode. This mode delivers lightning-fast input response times of 8.4ms, perfect for fast-paced and competitive console or PC gaming. It cuts the delay in your gaming experience, meaning the image you’ll see on your screen is broadcasting in real-time. No more frustrating lost kills or failed timing puzzles.
Game Display Mode also provides a visual advantage by boosting shadows and dark scenes, making your gameplay a more immersive experience. It’ll keep you just as competitive as an expensive gaming monitor while still bringing versatility for all your other media needs.
Dynamic Black Technology
One feature included, also present in the Optoma HD146X, is the brand’s Dynamic Black Technology. This feature gives more depth to your image by smoothly adjusting the lamp output to create a stunning high contrast ratio. Bright scenes appear crisp and clear, while dark scenes remain detailed with deep blacks and exceptional light and shade detail.
While the Optoma GT1080HDR has plenty of good things going for it, it’s not without its flaws. There are a few not-so-great things we found with this projector.
No carrying case
In this day and age, there’s really no excuse to not have a carrying case included in the box for a new projector. While it’s possible to purchase one, it’s an added expense that seems unnecessary when many others do come with a carrying case. Many people purchase these projectors because of their portability, so it goes without saying that they should have included a case.
Wireless dongle not included
You will have to purchase an additional WUSB dongle separately for wireless capability. However, Optoma does make a proprietary one that will integrate with the GT1080HDR seamlessly. Depending on your room layout, this may or may not be a problem.
No support for HLG
To be entirely honest, there aren’t a lot of things we didn’t like about this model in terms of its usability as a gaming machine. However, if we’re looking to future technology and the possibility of becoming obsolete, we have to note that it does not have support for HLG, the emerging HDR standard for broadcast television.
While the Optoma GT1080HDR is a fantastic projector designed for gaming, it isn’t the only gaming machine on the market. There are other options available that might be a better fit. Here are a few alternatives for comparison:
Although slightly more expensive than the GT1080HDR, the Optoma HD39Darbee is a good alternative for someone who needs a smaller, lighter, and more portable projector. It still has most of the same features, like full HD 3D, short-throw design, and Enhanced Gaming Mode, though the input lag is slightly higher at 16ms. The integrated Darbee Visual Presence technology is a major selling point for this projector. It’s a good (and cheaper) alternative to 4K. It is worth mentioning this projector is almost always sold out.
Epson Pro EX9220
If you want to check out something more versatile than just for gaming, then check out the Epson Pro EX9220. It has the same brightness – 3,6000 lumens – as the GT1080HDR with HDMI, MHL, and wireless connectivity. It also has the latest 3LCD technology, boosting the brightness without losing contrast. This projector is designed to be used anywhere from the classroom, boardroom, home theater, and your gaming space.
Optoma is always a solid choice for your home projector needs. The brand has built a reputation around the longevity of their models (easily lasting 5-6 years without issue) as well as the variability for any price point. When it comes to gaming, the Optoma GT1080HDR ticks off all the boxes without carrying many of the drawbacks you’ll see in comparable devices. Not only does it consistently rank at the top of best gaming projectors under $1000, but the Optoma GT1080HDR is also a noticeable step up from a basic starter projector even with the slight bump in price.