At first glance, Optoma’s DLP-based HD33 struck us as the Charlie Brown of this batch. While it was the first 3D video projector in this price range to reach the market, it delivers only 1,800 ANSI lumens of brightness, its zoom lens is limited to 1.2x, and you must buy the 3D glasses separately. Like the Epson, the HD33 doesn’t have a lens-shift feature, but it is the least-expensive model we looked at, and its image quality is at least as good as the other two.
The HD33 comes with an RF emitter for synchronizing 3D glasses, but the emitter is a stand-alone device that must be plugged into a VESA 3D port at the back of the projector. Optoma helpfully provides a bit of two-way tape so you can glue it to the projector housing, but it’s a tacky (no pun intended) solution at best. The glasses Optoma sent for this review (not included in the price of the projector) were considerably dorkier looking and less comfortable to wear than the glasses Acer and Epson provided. Optoma’s glasses are also unique in that they use a rechargeable battery, but that comes with a downside: You recharge them using a Micro USB cable and an AC adapter, which is also not included (although you could plug them into your PC). Alternatively, you can use any manufacturer’s DLP Link 3D-compatible glasses. You can expect to pay about $100 per pair for active 3D glasses of any type.
Optoma’s HD33 performs well and is aggressively priced, but you’ll need to provide your own 3D glasses.
The HD33’s low lumen rating means it’s not a good choice for rooms where you can’t control ambient light. In rooms where you can, however, that rating doesn’t impact its 3D performance as much as you would think. That’s because the HD33 delivers better contrast in 3D than either the Epson or the Acer. The HD33 produced great color, strong black levels, and very good shadow detail in both 2D and 3D modes. But add $100 to its price tag for one pair of glasses, and its price/performance ratio falls just a little short of both the Acer and Epson models.
Great color, good contrast and strong black level; small and lightweight.