Optoma UHZ65UST – affordable home theater projector in the test

Price: 3 299 euros • Dimensions: 57.6 × 13 × 38.3 cm • Weight: 11 kg • Construction: 1-chip DLP, 0.47 “DMD, laser light source, RGBYRGBY color wheel • Resolution: 1 920 × 1 080 pixels, 4K pixel shift • Power consumption: approx. 150 – 300 watts • Running time laser light source: approx. 20,000 h • 3D: yes • HDR10: yes • HLG: yes • Dolby Vision: no • HDR10 +: no • Lens shift: no • speaker: yes • media player: yes • Dolby Atmos: yes, only via ARC in DD + (no DTS support) • apps eg for Amazon, Netflix and Youtube • Bluetooth • supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

For just over 3000 euros, Optoma wants to make the dream of a cinema picture with a screen diagonal of two and a half meters come true. Our test reveals why the UHZ65UST passes as a price hit, but still does not justify a blind purchase.

As is usual with ultra-short distance beamers, you should not simply place such a projector in front of a white wall or a conventional screen. Since the projection angle is extremely steep, the majority of the light output would be lost towards the ceiling. Special UST screens, on the other hand, have a barely visible groove structure that deflects the incident light forward and at the same time blocks the incident light from above. This ensures a clear increase in contrast under living room conditions and turns such a compact projector into a real XXL large-screen experience. So the price of the UHZ65UST is not enough: our 100-inch UST screen from Optoma (ALR 101) costs an additional 1,400 euros, and anyone with two left hands should have the installation carried out by specialist staff. In short: The almost 3,000 euros for Optomas UHZ65UST are only part of the necessary investments. After unpacking, the UHZ65UST is significantly cheaper compared to similar competitor models, because the quality offered is right: processing, sound quality of the integrated speakers and the interface selection are impeccable and the Optoma projector almost makes more expensive models appear to be usury. Three HDMI interfaces and the sound quality of the integrated loudspeakers (which cannot be used as a center channel) show that a convincing equipment is possible at fair prices.

In addition to key lighting, the smart metal remote control has other tricks in store: if you hold the house key down for a longer time, mouse pointer control is available at the touch of a hand. Instead of batteries, there is an internal battery that is charged via the USB interface

Cleverly combined

The built-in components are optimally tailored to the housing dimensions and the UHZ65UST also convinces when it is matched to the screen. So the distance to the picture surface is not too short, which minimizes distortion and hotspot effects. In combination with the DMD chip, the built-in lens ensures detailed imaging at 4K level and convincing illumination without any annoying discolouration. Not only that, you can fine-tune the focus using the remote control and run the risk of shifting the set-up position by a few millimeters using the controller on the device. Speaking of remote control: the smart addition lets you activate a mouse pointer control with the house key (hold down) and instead of inserting batteries, an internal battery is charged via the USB ports of the projector. A flawless image sharpness, more HDMI interfaces and a better sound than significantly more expensive projectors make the UHZ65UST stand out from the start from the multitude of UST projector offers. The differences only become clear when you take a critical look: Of course, even a manufacturer like Optoma has nothing to give away, which is why the interior is slimmed down compared to expensive DLP models. Instead of a larger DMD chip, the UHZ65UST has the same variant that drives conventional 4K DLP projectors in the 1,000-euro class. Although this hardly leads to detailed deficits in interaction with 4K sources, the finest 4K details tend to flicker more easily. The UHZ65UST is also only an intermediate step in the generation of colored light: a laser light source replaces the traditional UHP lamp, but a color wheel continues to produce the primary colors. This not only means that DLP-typical color flashes continue to occur, but also that the color wheel partially drowns out the internal fans and that picture or frequency changes sometimes result in a half-minute waiting time, including any image errors that occur as a result of the resynchronization by the color wheel. This can be a disadvantage, especially with 3D sources, because the switchover sometimes takes longer than the start of the disc and the presentation of the film studio logo. After all, the UHZ65UST is compatible with 3D sources and, according to Optoma, DLP-Link glasses are also supported (function can be activated in the 3D menu). In the test, due to the lack of suitable glasses, we were only able to reproduce a 120 Hz display (60 Hz per eye), and since the intermediate image calculation does not work in 3D mode (4K eshift also not active), the 3D excursion was a bit bumpy . Unfortunately, this description also applies to other factors, which is why we now come to the biggest disadvantage of the projector: the many small software discrepancies.

Feet: 2 rotatable (approx. 2.5 cm) and detachable, 2 fixed • Stand surface: approx. 56 × 30 cm • Power cable approx. 1.5 m • Switch on approx. 30 s • Status display: LED on top

Small hurdles

The UHZ65UST showed neither convincing presets nor comprehensible descriptions in the test, which is why the motto in the test was: Trying is about studying. It is commendable that you can specify the image brightness of the laser light unit in rough steps, but the following settings “Dynamic Black” should have been saved separately. What is meant by this is a dynamic control of the laser light source, which, however, only has a rough influence on the display quality by displaying dark image content with a lower light intensity, which in turn reduces the brightening in black. In films like “Sully”, however, this resulted in images that were too dark, which made it difficult to recognize details in such scenes. In addition, there is an annoying brightness flickering as soon as you use higher levels of Dynamic Black: The laser light source always influences the overall image brightness, even if only a few bright pixels are displayed in a scene. Turn on Dynamic Black, but it happens even more: the projector does post-contrast processing, while when the Dynamic Black function is turned off, playback at least with SDR sources seemed strangely flat. The reason was quickly found: neither the brightness nor the contrast specifications were correct in the factory settings, which made playback without Dynamic Black appear far too low in contrast. With just a few settings, you can compensate for this and achieve a convincing contrast without dynamic black. If you have the choice, you should purchase the UHZ65UST from a specialist dealer and order the appropriate image calibration for SDR and HDR sources at the same time. Unfortunately, the UHZ65UST showed further errors such as returning default settings for source and signal changes, so that we had to adjust the picture mode regularly to ensure the display we preferred.

HDMI: 3 × (4K 60 Hz HDR) • 120 Hz: yes, HD resolution (but no positive effect) • 1 440p: no • CEC: no • ARC: 1 × (HDMI 1) • VRR: no • ALLM: no • USB: 3 × • network: yes (or WLAN) • video analog: no • audio-out: digital optical, headphones

Smart projector

The UHZ65UST is based on Google’s Android platform and you can add applications or adjust the background image on the home screen, for example. However, the modern look does not hide the fact that the app support is anything but optimal. Numerous applications are installed as a smartphone or tablet app, which makes the mouse pointer control on the remote control (hold down the house key) a must. The self-explanatory mouse button symbol is only recognizable in the operating instructions, while only the house symbol is shown on the enclosed remote control. Apps like Youtube allow 4K HDR playback, but the HDR playback of the projector is faulty in this case, which is why the image fades – YouTube videos are better enjoyed in SDR via the internal player. The internal Netflix app disappoints even more: Neither HDR nor the image resolution are completely convincing here. In short: The internal apps are suitable as a temporary solution, but in the long term you should invest in a Smart TV HDMI stick to ensure the best possible 4K HDR playback. The interaction with PS4 Pro and Xbox One X is also anything but convincing: the input delay is much too high at 100 ms (game mode) and not even a game mode can be set via HDR playback (manufacturer’s specifications of 55 – 70 ms were not in the test to reach). The UHZ65UST also did not display 4K 60 Hz HDR signals from an Xbox One X in 10-bit quality; instead, the projector converted the signals to 8-bit format. 4K HDR films with a refresh rate of 24 frames per second did not show these restrictions. Difficulties could also be identified with 50 Hz TV signals, because short stutters were evident here. 24P film signals benefit from film image smoothing (sometimes 60 Hz stuttering without film smoothing), which, however, generates artifacts even at the lowest level and does not always intervene stably. In general, the internal image processing is anything but extensive: HDR signals want to be adjusted manually and you have to do without little helpers such as filters against banding artifacts or noise patterns.

Lens centered: yes • Projection distance: 0.25 × image width (lens to screen), projector back to screen: approx. 26 cm at 100 inches • vertical offset from top edge of projector to bottom edge of screen (100 inches): approx. 27 cm • recommended Canvas size:
85 – 120 inches • Lens shift: no • Focus: remote controlled, motorized

Meets large-screen requests

At first glance, what Optoma delivers with the UHZ65UST is almost too good to be true: the projector appears to be of high quality, offers many interfaces, a comparatively convincing sound and the adjustment to a suitable UST screen like the Optoma ALR 101 presented us no problems in the test. Of course, this projector is not a real TV replacement either, but with the UHZ65UST Optoma literally extends the view of a projector installation in the living room. At the moment, the devil is still in the details: software deficiencies cloud operation under everyday conditions and the interaction with external sources does not work as elegantly as the best devices on the market do. Optomas UHZ65UST nevertheless offers a very good price-performance ratio and anyone who invests some time and effort in this product will be rewarded with a convincing equivalent.

Settings for a natural picture

  • Display mode: reference or game (HDR: detail)
  • Brightness: -4 (HDR: 0)
  • Contrast: +8 (HDR: 0)
  • Color: 0
  • Hue: 0
  • Sharpness: 5
  • Gamma: 2.4
  • Brilliant Color: as desired
  • Brightness mode: as desired
  • Dynamic Black: Off
  • Color temperature: warm or standard
  • Pure Motion: 1

Image source:

  • DSC08364: © Auerbach Verlag
  • DSC08316: © Auerbach Verlag
  • DSC08350: © Auerbach Verlag
  • DSC08352: © Auerbach Verlag
  • DSC08346: © Auerbach Verlag

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