Optoma UHD51A Review
The Optoma UHD51A is an affordable UHD projector, the company’s first UHD projector that offers a native UHD resolution of 4K and a resolution of 3840 x 2160 at 60 Hz. It’s also the smallest projector in its price range and comes in a simple, yet stylish and ergonomic design that can fit on a table or stand and will blend in with any décor.
It’s available with a number of connections, including VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort, along with a USB port. It also offers both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity.
This review looks at the features and functionality of the Optoma UHD51A projector. It also looks at how it performs in comparison to other projectors in its price range, and how it compares to other UHD projectors on the market.
Optoma UHD51A: Design and features
Considering the world of projectors, the UHD51A is a nice projector – insofar as their designs are exciting. The top side of the device is black with silver trim, and it uses a mixture of smooth and textured materials, with vents for heat management on its outside. The top of the projector is lined with a selection of control buttons, while the back features two HDMI HDCP v2.2 ports, VGA and RS232 ports, Ethernet, digital audio out, and a USB port for connecting to the projector’s built-in media player.
It may frustrate you to find that there is no form of keystone correction. Despite the fact that purists know that this only messes with the overall proportion of the image (at least when using digital correction), it proved incredibly difficult to make tiny adjustments to the positioning of the picture to make it appear as it should. It is also worth noting that the cable provided is quite short, which further exacerbates this problem. You can, however, raise the image above the angle at which the projector sits by using the vertical lens shift.
In the box, you’ll find a USB Wi-Fi adapter and remote control for Alexa support. Despite its small size and logical layout, the remote lacks a backlight, which can be frustrating when watching in a darkened room.
Optoma UHD51A: Performance
Optoma’s UHD51A achieves its 4K target using pixel shifting, delivering 8.3 million pixels from its DLP system. With its short throw lens, you can project an image up to 100 inches at a distance of as little as 9 feet from the projected surface using HDR10.
With that image, you get a picture that’s richer and brighter than you’d expect at this price tag, giving the impression of brightness that exceeds the 2400 lumens claimed on the box. Despite its best performance in a dark room, even casual home cinema enthusiasts can appreciate the UHD51A’s scale and detail in a daytime viewing environment.
The BBC’s Planet Earth 2 series on 4K Blu-ray was the perfect test case for the UHD51A due to its wide variety of scenes and textures. It revealed pin-sharp details, sparkling light sources, and inky blacks (when projected in darkness) in the nature documentary, which featured lush jungles and azure seas.
The PureMotion setup with the UHD51A impresses, adding just enough smoothing to movement for it to be immersive rather than distracting. The 1080p upscaling works well too, with a range of useful picture settings (such as HDR simulators, cinema, and game modes) that let you adjust the projector’s performance depending on the use case and ambient light. When its fans kick in to keep the lamp cool, the projector can get a little noisy, but not so loud as to interfere with your listening experience.
A pair of Active DLP Link glasses are required for 3D viewing, but Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams shows that it’s worth it if you’re a fan, with a great sense of depth and little crosstalk.
On the sound front, the 5-watt stereo speakers onboard are enough to watch a quick bit of TV. However, if you’re projecting a picture larger than 100 inches, you’re not going to get the best experience from your blockbuster marathon, so you’ll need some additional sound system.
Optoma UHD51A: Alexa features
An important feature of the UHD51A is its Alexa support. However, while the projector does not have a microphone for listening, nor a voice assistant of its own, it can be set up to work with Amazon’s artificial intelligence, giving you hands-free control if you have an Echo or other Alexa device.
While the projector is easy to set up, it proved difficult to pair it with the Echo Dot and get it online.
Nevertheless, when the two are working together, you can see some nice touches here. You can switch input sources, increase the volume, and more with voice commands when setting up the projector as part of a group routine.
How does this feature compare to other similarly-spec’d Optoma projectors? Although that’s debatable, there is a small joy in being able to change settings without fiddling with a controller.
For and Against
|Good value||Alexa features add little|
|A rare 3D option||No digital keystone|
|Rich, sharp image||Alexa set up issues|
While the Alexa features are fun but a little tedious, everything else about the Optoma UHD51A performs well. At this price, you will find it hard to find a projector that delivers this level of picture quality and features more confidently.
In terms of 4K projecting quality, the Optoma UHD51A is an excellent value if you’re on a tight budget. It is possible to enjoy the home cinema high life even if you have a smaller living space and a modest budget.