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When we talk about what a projector needs to have to make it onto our list of the best projectors, the Optoma HD28DSE is the best-case scenario across the board. With amazing image clarity, beautiful color reproduction, and enough lumens to melt a hole through your screen, it’s hard to see any way this projector could slip up.
But are those qualities alone enough to elevate the projector to true greatness? Read on in our Optoma HD28DSE review to find out!
It may just be a top home theater projector.
Price: $749 on Amazon
Available: Sept 1, 2015
Summary: The Optoma HD28DSE is a surprisingly bright projector that uses DARBEE image processing technology to give you one of the best bangs for your buck in the DLP market.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The HD28SDE offers the best picture quality for the price.
What We Liked
What We Didn’t
While the technology that drives projectors like the Optoma HD28DSE has come a long way in recent years, the design of the units themselves has remained pretty stagnant. Modern-day projectors are the epitome of “function over form,” even though many of them take the front and center position in our living rooms for all your guests to see.
The Optoma HD28DSE looks like a dozen other projectors that have come before it, and probably quite a few that will come after, too. In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that the HD28DSE and Optoma’s other mid-range projector, the HD141X, share the exact same design save for a quick reskin from black to white.
The Optoma HD28DSE uses DMD DLP technology to create its images at a maximum display resolution of 1920 x 1080 at a contrast ratio of 30,000:1, with the ability to show an image as large as 394″ across from corner to corner.
The HD28DSE is equipped with a relatively small number of ports, including two HDMI 1.4/MHL, 1 audio output, one 12V out, 1 USB-power out, one mini-USB in, and 3D-sync out.
Just like the design, the interface and settings on the HD28DSE are nearly indistinguishable from other projectors made by Optoma, like the Optoma HD27 3D DLP projector and Optoma HD142X 3D DLP projector. You have your brightness, contrast, color temperature, etc., as well as a few standouts like the option to lock the keypad or put a parental control PIN in action if you want to keep the kids of the house from messing with the projector while you’re not in the room.
The HD28DSE also has one of my favorite features I’ve found on a projector yet: four-corner keystoning. This makes fitting the image to the exact size of your screen far easier than the two-axis setup that most other projectors have, allowing you to carefully angle the image depending on where your projector is mounted (if it’s mounted at all).
The Optoma HD28DSE falls into the category of cheaper, surprisingly bright projectors that can create a full, lush image that’s perfectly visible at any time of the day or night. If you need a projector that can still perform even with a lot of ambient light flooding in from surrounding windows, the 3,000 ANSI lumens on the HD28DSE have got you covered.
At a distance of 10ft in near-darkness, we recorded a lux rating of 1,823 lux in the middle of the image, and a variable rate of 1,150 – 1,350 lux around the corners. This fluctuation is likely due to the way we had the image keystoned, and will be more consistent if you aren’t mounting your projector at an odd or extreme angle.
Read More: Best 4K Projector for 2022
As per usual, we put the HD28DSE through its paces on 4K videos streamed from YouTube and Netflix (even though it maxes out at 1080p), as well as various games on a PC and Xbox One.
Thanks to its use of the DARBEEVision Visual Presence technology, which you can read about in our Optoma HD29Darbee 1080p projector review, the Optoma HD28DSE maintained stellar picture quality throughout all the tests we ran. Movies and film stock shots looked rich with color, and the blacks weren’t muddled out by fast-moving action or surrounding images. The clarity of the images was also stellar, with no bleeding edges or washed-out details when things got a bit more hectic on screen.
Optoma has a pedigree of performing in gaming scenarios better than most other projectors out there, and what we achieved on the HD28DSE was no different. With “Gaming mode” switched on, there was almost no visible lag time between when we entered a command on the controller and when it would pop up on the screen. Plus, thanks to the aforementioned DARBEE Brilliant Color system, all the details of our characters and the levels we ran through on Fallout 4 and Halo 5: Guardians were positively pleasurable to look at.
Using the 3D Blu-Ray player on our Xbox One, we ran some test footage of Guardians of the Galaxy, which on a pair of RF glasses looked great at most viewing angles. Things got a little wonky when you moved to the furthest reaches of the room, but other than that, we found that whether we were sitting close or far away (from a dead-on angle), the 3D effect looked just as good as the 2D picture quality with few drops in performance.
Noise and Heat
The HD28DSE continues in the same tradition as other Optoma projectors, providing a bright, luminous picture without all the annoying fan noise you might find on a lesser projector. With around a 6dB footprint, the only complaint we have in this department is on the heat of the unit, which was pretty unbearable if you were sitting on the same side as the fan exhaust (the right), but almost non-noticeable if you were on the left. If you’re mounting the unit to the ceiling, this shouldn’t be a problem, but be careful putting it on your coffee table if you don’t want one-half of the room sweating up a storm during the summer months.
Even with a 10W-rated speaker onboard, the sound coming out of the HD28DSE left us wanting more. There was little-to-no bass to be found, and even though it was loud enough to fill up a room, the reliance on treble and mids was so jarring that it was actually a little painful when the dial was cranked up as far as it could go.
At only $749, the Optoma HD28DSE falls right in the happy medium of what you should expect to pay for a projector, but still manages to maintain a level of picture quality that you’d get out of a unit twice the cost. With the help of the DARBEE Visual Presence system, colors, contrast, and black levels were all top-of-the-line, and gaming performance was similarly exceptional.
Optoma has proven time and time again that it knows exactly what its customers look for when they buy a new projector, and the HD28DSE hits every note with near perfection.
Read More: Best Home Theater Projector