It's been a full eleven -- yes, eleven -- business days and I finally have this little bugger in my hands. The delay appears to have been with Optoma themselves as they took almost all of the time waiting to ship my order. UPS was fantastic and delivered as promised. Aborro, you'll get yours soon!
But the aggravation built up from all the waiting was washed away as soon as I came home from work to three boxes. One looked like a laptop case (HD6800, of course), the second a box long enough for a samurai sword (ah, the screen) and the third was a little box labelled 'EP719' (EP719? Isn't that one of their business projectors?!)
That's the box I opened first.
Disappointingly, 'EP719' was not a fortunate mistake and I didn't get a free business projector as an apology for all the waiting. Instead, it held another box with a fresh BERING flush mount and a 5m DVI to DVI cable, as promised.
I destroyed the rest of the boxes with utmost care, revealing the contents:
Ta-Da! The HD6800/72 is so cute I had to hug the little bugger. Several times. The plastic squeaked sincerely, returning my affection.
The standard front 3/4 view. Preferred by photographers of all ages. Works on people, too.
To show you just how small and cute the Optoma is, here it is next to my boxy 1015TX. It looks like a tank by comparison. I felt like I was feeling the little PJ to the big bully.
Darling, time to accessorize! The box had identical items to the HD72. Even the manual is exactly the same. It shows an HD72i on the cover with the Faroudja label. There is no doubt that they are identical projectors, with the exception that the HD68 gets bulbs that are on the lower end of the tolerance for brightness, though even this is unlikely. Why go through the trouble?
So far so good. Everything appears new (not refurb) and accounted for.
Time for the GrayWolf II. Having read most posts on the GrayWolf thread, I've been more than a little hesitant about this screen. People have been getting the incorrect screens (GrayWolf I instead), dents on the case and for one, even dirt and rust all over the product. The QC has been more than sub-par and people were wondering whether Optoma was repackaging refurbs and used items as new. Shameful.
But first impressions are good. The case looks fine (though with multiple minor scratches) but the paint is fresh and there is no obvious sign of dirt or rust. I even got the right version! GWII! Rejoice!
I hug the screen lovingly, even harder than I hugged the 6800. It does not squeak back.
I was just about to break open the champagne when I turned it over and saw this:
My case is bowed! NOOOO!!!! Booooo!!! I take the bottle of champage and swiftly pour it down the toilet.
Shame on Optoma. Add me to the GWII Bum Unit Club.
Bum units make me sad. But I like saying 'bum unit'.
I want to call Optoma and say to the person who answers, "Hi, I just bought a your GrayWolf II screen and I think I got a bum unit."
This distracts me temporarily untill I decide to hook the DVD player and place the projector on the coffee table, shooting at the screen. Ignition!
First impressions are not good. I put the zoom to max (only 10ft~ away), adjust the focus and throw on Episode II Star Wars. Everything looks wrong and while the image is pretty big, I feel like I am watching my uncle's crummy Toshiba DLP business projector. Motion artifacts. WTF, mate? The picture is so... narrow. I don't remember 2.35:1 being THIS wide.
Then I remember that I had unplugged the DVD player and it must have lost its settings! 5 minutes of fixing later and BOOM, the little Optoma is REALLY in business! I was in 4x3 mode! What a ******! I also fiddle with the user menu settings like the degamma (to film), BrilliantColour (to 4), colour temperature (to 1) and whatever else I remembered from the countless reviews that doubled as bedtime reading over the past 2 weeks.
I have some ambient light but with the exception of the gray blacks, everything looks bright and punchy. The colours look pretty decent, even shooting at my off-white wall. Even with enough ambient light to walk around the room without stepping on other people, the little PJ put out a very watchable picture. Satisfying, even.
This is a good place to talk about my background. The only HDTV I've owned has been a Pansonic 47" PT47WX42 set, so I'm used to the CRT Colour Saturation, contrast and deep deep blacks.
But I got DLP lust pretty quickly. The last time I saw a DLP Front Projector was at the local specialty store, 1.5 years ago where they had the Infocus SP5700 on display in a light-controlled room showing the Fast and the Furious. The picture was surprisingly bright, contrastly and had a very liquid film-like quality. This was NOTHING like the DLP RPTVs I had seen at Best Buy.
I was floored and wanted one, bad. Sadly, they were something like $5k and that was $3k more than I had to spend. Don't forget, the SP5700 was just a 576p!!!
Fast forward 1.5 years later and here I am with an even better machine for less than $1.7k (subtracting the screen, mount, cable and soon-to-be-refunded August rebate). What progress!
Anyway, the screen still isn't up because I'm deciding how high to place it. I tried having the picture nice and high (eye level with near bottom of screen) and it was surprisingly strain-free. Then I lowered it to eye level with the 1/3 from the bottom of the screen (as recommended by most people) and while it was slightly more pleasant, it didn't look as nice with my 7.5 ft walls. This is a 92" image.
It just felt bigger higher up because it filled the wall more evenly. And I didn't have to tilt my head up, only my eyes. I also have more space for the center channel in case I want to mount it higher (I used to have the CC above my RPTV). But on the other hand I know that the lower screen would be less fatiguing to watch over long periods. What do you guys think?
Finally, I got my first taste of Rainbow Effect. I had an image on pause and darted down the look at the remote. Parts of the screen (the whites) flashed with rainbows! All I had to do was move my eyes across the image real fast. I still see very little of it during real material but I can definitely see it if I tried. It was worse sitting up close and worse during high-contrast scenes (as reported). I guess it's just something you have to live with. It's no so bad that it's distracting and I'm pretty certain your brian learns to filter it out. The eyes and brain have amazing information filtering ability. Just try playing Geometry Wars on Xbox 360 to 1million points! That'll teach you to filter out bright lights.
Anyway, Im gonna go play with the new PJ some more and hook up some speakers. I can't believe I watched almost all of SW II with no sound. I'm turning into a professional lip-reader.
More to come...