Optoma is one of the favorite brands for gaming projectors because they are willing to push the limits for the features that pioneer a good gaming experience. This is especially important since the latest generations of gaming consoles including PS5 and Xbox Series X are have been launched towards the end of 2020. Gamers are likely to be looking to upgrade their projectors to get the best out of their newly acquired consoles.
Until recently, gaming on a projector meant you had to live with high input lag >50ms which is very unpleasant. Recently, projector manufacturers tended to reduce this number to 16ms to 8ms and now 4.2ms with Optoma UHD38.
Optoma UHD38 is a 4K UHD, HDR gaming projector. Although it has features such as HDR support to provide an immersive UHD experience for your home cinema, its features are geared towards gaming. It currently boasts the lowest input lag for any projector in the market.
The UHD38 is a massive improvement from its predecessor, the UHD30. So if you’re a competitive gamer looking to add high-quality, super-sized images to your gaming experience the UHD38 is the projector for you. It is also well equipped to fulfill the needs of a high-end home cinema. Let’s look into the features and find out how incredible this projector is.
- 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: Ultra-fast 240Hz gaming for blur-free visuals and unparalleled smoothness––combined with Enhanced Gaming Mode to produce a 4.2ms response time at 1080p, 16ms 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
Features of Optoma UHD38
4.2ms input lag at 240Hz refresh rate
In the enhanced gaming mode, the UHD38 has the lowest input lag for a projector at 4.2ms. This is approximately 4 frames. The 4.2ms input lag can only be attained at 1080p and an impressive 240Hz refresh rate. This is a groundbreaking feature as previous gaming projectors offered 16 and 18ms. So if you’re a competitive gamer or you just like high-paced games, this feature is for you.
It provides an overall faster response time than the previous models which had 16ms input lag. It virtually takes no time to respond to your controller. The only way to see this is using super slow motion.
At 240Hz you’ll be able to experience visuals without any blur and unmatched smoothness. Generally, the input lag is extremely low for such high-end visuals – the lowest for a 4K projector. Technological advancements are still catching up with the 4K resolution and soon, but at the moment this is the solution that gets the best out of resolution and input lag.
4K Ultra High Definition resolution
This projector boasts an impressive 4K UHD display resolution which enables you to enjoy an exquisite picture quality. Having a 3840x2160p resolution means that this projector has over 8 million pixels. The image won’t lose clarity when the size increases.
This is the foundation for a good home cinema experience. You can also choose to have a 4K resolution for your games when you’re playing slow-paced games because at 4K resolution, the input lag increases to 16ms. This is still quite low. The UHD38 can allow you to enjoy a low input lag at 4K resolution, which was previously not possible.
Previously, you had to invest in extra hardware to have two 4K devices plugged into your projector. The UHD38 comes with two HDMI 2.0 ports that allow you to have a 4K streaming stick in one port and a gaming console connected to the other.
What makes Optoma’s 4K projectors special is that they use the Texas Instrument DLP chip. It is a 1080p chip that uses its ultrafast switching capability to shift its pixels and quadruple its display resolution so fast that it just looks like one picture. This chip has also been leveraged to display ultra-high refresh rates (240Hz) in its native 1080p resolution.
The result is a projector that gives the best for a home cinema at 4K resolution and gaming at 1080p resolution and 240Hz refresh rate and 4.2ms input lag.
This is to say that the UHD38 is not natively a 4K projector, but uses pixel shifting to generate a 4K display.
Compatibility with gaming consoles
Whether you prefer PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo, it doesn’t matter. Optoma UHD38 is compatible with next-gen gaming consoles. It has an HDMI 2.0 for 4K content and HDMI 1.4 for non-4K content. You just need an HDMI cable and you can connect your gaming console to it and enjoy the visuals. With this projector, you don’t have to worry about abandoning your current console for a new one.
4000 ANSI lumens of brightness
The UHD38 has a powerful lamp that emits 4000 ANSI lumens of light in the bright mode. It combines a lot of brightness along with vivid colors to give you a well-rounded viewing experience at any time of the day. This is ideal for gaming and watching TV shows, movies, and sports even in a room with ambient light. You’re guaranteed minimal washout when the light in the room increases, provided no direct sunlight is hitting your screen.
Long lamp life
The UH38’s extreme brightness does not seem to hamper the lamp life. It has a 240W metal halide lamp. In the dynamic mode, the lamp can last for up to 15000 hours and 4000 hours in the normal mode. In the Eco mode, it lasts about 10000 hours. Since you would probably be switching between these modes, the projector’s lamp will most likely last for a value in-between. It should be able to last more than a year on average.
It is advisable to take measures to extend your lamp’s life.
Amazing cinematic color performance
This projector was built for gaming as well as watching TV shows, sports, and movies on the big screen. It delivers colors suitable for any environment. It can reproduce the Rec. 709 color gamut. It also has an 8-segment color wheel and 10-bit to produce very vibrant and saturated colors.
Just like other projectors, the cinema mode delivers the best color performance, which comes at the expense of brightness. But, unlike other bright projectors, the UHD38 does not fall victim to rainbow color distortion. In the other color modes, it still performs well enough.
The UHD38 has an incredibly high contrast ratio of 1000000:1 to ensure a sharper image is projected. However, the black levels are surprisingly average. It has an efficient color management system that lets you adjust the colors to your preference.
HDR10 and HLG support
This projector supports high dynamic range images. It supports both HDR10 for 4K UHD Blu-Ray and HLG for streaming. It is important to have HLG support in this era of streaming services such as Prime Video and Netflix. Because of this, you will be able to enjoy darker blacks and brighter whites while still maintaining a high degree of detail in these areas.
Screen size and throw ratio
The screen size ranges from 30” to 300”; a very large screen size, but there’s a catch. This projector has a long-throw lens (1.5:~1.66:1), which means that the size of the image you can project will be limited by the size of your room. To project a 100-inch image, you will need to place your projector 13ft away. The pro about this large image size lies in the 4K resolution. As the image size gets larger (beyond 100”), the clarity of the image will still be maintained.
Flexibility in installation
This projector was designed to be installed anywhere. It is compact and lightweight. It has the following dimensions 12.4 x 4.6 x 10.6″ and weighs about 8.6lb. Lifting it with both hands shouldn’t be a problem. We understand that you might not want a fixed gaming station; sometimes you could go take your projector to a friend’s house and connect the console to play. With the UH38, you can effortlessly do this.
When you’re installing your projector on a surface or mounting it on a ceiling, chances are that you will place it at an angle that results in an image that is distorted at the top and bottom or on the sides. Optoma UHD38 has both a vertical and horizontal keystone correction that allows you to adjust the distortion at the top and bottom and also at the sides.
The trapezoid effect on the image will be minimized and you can individually adjust each corner of the image to generate an evenly squared image. It also offers a 1.1x optical zoom which is not a lot but enough to make installation easier.
The UHD38 also has a unique feature limited to high-end projectors called wall color adjustment. This feature lets you select the color of your wall from these options:
- light yellow,
- light green,
- light blue,
- pink, and
It will then select the most accurate color gamut to deliver that is well antagonistic with this background.
All of the above features give you a lot of flexibility on where and how you would install your projector.
Audio for gaming
It has 2 10W built-in speakers capable of producing enough sound for games. This is convenient for smaller rooms. If you intend to use it for a larger room or as a home cinema projector, we suggest that you connect it to an external sound system.
Price and warranty
For a projector that offers 4K resolution, 240Hz refresh rate, and up to 4.2ms input lag, the UHD38 is incredibly cheap. It retails at around $1600 on Amazon. Most projectors with these kinds of features (leaving out the 4.2ms input lag) are usually sold above $1500. This is one of the things that make it hard to ignore this projector.
The total warranty for UHD38 can add up to 4 years, but it is not as straightforward. The standard warranty is 2 years. This is the time given for you to return the projector to the manufacturer provided it malfunctions. Some suppliers offer an additional 2-year warranty. This warranty permits you to bravely purchase it as ample time is provided for customer service.
Now that you have seen the features of this projector, let’s compare the pros and cons to see if you really should buy this projector.
Pros of Optoma UHD38
Optoma UHD38 currently boasts the lowest input lag for a projector in the market. To top it up, it has found a perfect balance between the response time and refresh rate. Even at 4K resolution, you can still enjoy low input lag at 16ms. It is impossible to notice a delay in response to your controller in real time. Even when you use super slow motion, the difference is still barely noticeable.
This projector wasn’t made for gamers alone. It is equipped with cinematic colors to deliver crisp and clear images for your TV shows, movies, and sports. It is also able to reproduce the Rec. 709 color gamut. It has dual HDMI 2.0 ports which you to connect your 4K streaming stick for your home cinema and your gaming console.
Average black levels
Despite having dynamic black technology and a 1000000:1 contrast ratio, this projector has average black levels. This means that there is less detail on the darker parts of your image.
You would need a larger room to project larger screen sizes. To project a 100” image you would need at least 13ft.
If these cons have changed your mind about UHD38, are there other options for you to consider?
If you’re not satisfied with what Optoma UHD38 has to offer, here are some alternatives to consider:
Optoma HZ39HDR offers a cheaper solution with the same level of brightness. However, it lacks the pixel-shifting technology contained in UHD38 which results in the 4K display. It also offers a lower dynamic contrast ratio. The only thing it has over the UHD38 is that it is cheaper. The UHD50X is less bright than the UHD38. It also offers a lower contrast ratio and a higher input lag. It would not be ideal for gamers. Surprisingly it is more expensive.
Optoma UHD38 is a one-of-a-kind projector. Its versatility allows people of all groups to enjoy it. It strikes a good balance between the needs for a home cinema and those for gaming. All of these features are availed at a reasonable price. So if you’re in the market for a versatile projector for your games and movies, TV shows, and sports, you should seriously consider going for the UHD38.