It’s not typically we see a home cinema projector – that the majority old style and clunky of units – with three unique features.
And yet, that's exactly what you'll discover on the Optoma UHL55 HDR projector.
The first notable function is built-in voice control for each Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Spectacular, however not sudden. The second is a compact one-box chassis with built-in speakers that – get this – allows the UHL55 double as a standalone Bluetooth speaker and stream music to it straight from your telephone. Thirdly, this 4K projector can play 4K movies straight from a USB memory stick or flash drive.
All of this – plus entry to Android TV apps like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Ted TV, CBC News, BBC Information, NBA, a Firefox browser – leaves the WiFi and Bluetooth-endowed UHL55 wanting like an thrilling new take (LG CineBeam apart, maybe) on the normal idea of a house cinema projector. But is it?
On the listing of negatives you'll find worth ($1,599/£1,299), restricted voice help (limited to the US, UK and Germany at launch) and low brightness (1,500 ANSI lumens). None of meaning the Optoma UHL55 is destined for mediocrity - we truly quite prefer it, in reality - however it does imply that its attraction is restricted.
Design and setup
Measuring 220 x 220 x 135mm and weighing 3.8kg, the UHL55 is designed to be extremely moveable. You'll be able to simply carry in underneath one and climb the stairs/stroll to the automotive with out breaking right into a sweat ... although it might have been good if it got here with a fake leather cover, or comparable, to help forestall knocks and scratches. Nevertheless, no less than there’s a sliding lens cowl to keep the glass protected.
The lens cowl doubles because the on/off change, so unveiling its lens also brings the UHL55 to life. Regardless of its small, moveable measurement, the UHL55 isn’t as versatile as it might be when it comes to where it can sit in a front room: This isn’t a short-throw projector, though to make use of the auto-focus function – and get a decent-sized image of 80-inches and above – means putting the UHL55 about 2m from the display or wall.
Nevertheless, even when the auto-focus function works, it’s not fairly spot-on. Regardless of, as a result of guide focus is straightforward enough ... Or it will be if the dinky Bluetooth distant control was more responsive. As an alternative, virtually every different button-press lagged during our check, which was irritating.
Fortunately, Alexa involves the rescue.
Getting set-up is just a little long-winded, though no more so than any Alexa gear is; you first need to create an account with Optoma, then get a serial number, swap it with the projector, download the talent, and so forth... Regardless of the complexity of the directions, nevertheless, it all labored properly upon first set up and was lightning-quick.
When it comes to connectivity, the UHL55 more than covers the fundamentals: There are two HDMI 2.zero slots to hook-up a games console, set-top field or Blu-ray player, while audio outputs comprise optical audio (to path to a sounder or AV amplifier) and a regular 3.5mm audio jack. It might have its own speakers on the entrance, but the UHL55 also has Bluetooth to receive audio streams from a smartphone.
In follow that basically helps with the straightforward occasional cinema the UHL55 is clearly aimed toward creating. Activated by long-pressing the on/off change on the distant, the UHL55 appears immediately as a Bluetooth supply.
What it lacks in outright quantity (a house party-creator this is not) it makes up for in rounded sound quality, which has simply sufficient bass to make the UHL55 perform one other helpful activity whereas sitting otherwise unused on a front room bookshelf.
Nevertheless, the UHL55 may also decode Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks to ship to a separate surround sound speaker system over an optical audio cable.
Despite its not thoughtless picture skills, it’s the voice management function that the UHL55 will stay or die by. The good news is that in our check with an Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation), the UHL55 excelled. After deciding to call the UHL55 ‘front room’ (there’s an extended listing of decisions), we advised our resident Echo Dot to “improve the quantity on front room”, “change to HDMI2 on front room”, and to “fast ahead on front room” with none hitches.
The latter works when inside the Media Participant, which performs again 4K MP4 movies from a USB stick. In our check it flawlessly picked-up some MP4 information rendered in 3840x2160 pixels and played them with no hitch. From each USB and a related 4K Blu-ray participant, the UHL55 showed deliciously detailed photographs containing well-saturated shade, and although its pictures are greatest seen in a blackout, it could easily stand up to ambient mild. That’s an enormous plus, although don’t anticipate cutting-edge black levels.
We’re less satisfied by Optoma’s frame-interpolation know-how, referred to as PureMotion. It’s designed to clean out movement blur on fast-moving scenes, and take away picture judder from 24p pans. It principally works properly, though not everyone will recognize the video-like effect it subs-in.
Nevertheless, the UHL55 is strictly a 4K machine. Turn to a HD supply – in this case a broadcast of F1 motor racing from Austin, Texas on the 4HD channel by way of a Virgin Media V6 field – and image quality collapses. The automobiles look a touch blurry in some sequences, but the individuals within the crowds in backgrounds lack any type of definition or detail. PureMotion makes no difference.
It’s great that inbuilt audio system have gotten normal on projectors of all types, and the UHL55’s 8W stereo audio system pack just enough power and punch. Nevertheless, that choice to link a smartphone to the UHL55 by way of Bluetooth speaker is a master-stroke.
The UHL55 has a variety of distinctive features, however it does come at a high worth and lacks versatility relating to video sources. 4K impresses, so does Alexa voice control, and we love the option to stream to its audio system from a telephone by way of Bluetooth. It won't be one of the best projector to ever cross the edge of our front room, however add the UHL55’s recent compact design, respectable built-in audio and a content-savvy consumer interface, and general we’re impressed if not quite head-over-heels for it.
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