This is my second projector, the first being the Optoma HD20. My comparisons therefore are only in relation to that venerable sub-$1000 projector. I am projecting on to a "96 Stewart screen at...
Impeccable 3D, RF glasses,Dark Chip3, upgraded menus over previous models, much longer lamp life, internal speakers, and usb port.
No lens shift or trigger output, must be precisely mounted, factory settings not optimal, lamp cost, no glasses included.
This is my second projector, the first being the Optoma HD20. My comparisons therefore are only in relation to that venerable sub-$1000 projector. I am projecting on to a "96 Stewart screen at 1.5X in a room controlled Man Cave built in the basement of my home. Viewing distance is 9 feet with the projector mounted 3 feet above seating distance. To answer the first obvious question, yes the HD25 is a drop in replacement for the HD20. The clam-shell style housing is exactly the same, including mounting holes for ceiling mounts. With the throw distance to screen ratios identical and the exact offsets, this is a breeze for the upgrade path from the HD20.
On firing up the projector for the first time, I was stunned at the improved black level and eye popping image of Kung Fu Panda 2 leaping off the screen. One of the things I loved about the HD20 was it's ability to at times seem a bit 3D. The HD25 one ups that even in 2D mode, lifting images seemingly off the screen. Colors were vibrant, and in fact a bit too much on my 1.5X screen. I used an ND2 filter always on the HD20 but hadn't yet on the HD25. (That's in the works as I re-engineer a filter I can remove easily for 3D viewing) One thing was obvious.. This was going to need some calibration to bring the best out of this, just as the HD20 did. The factory settings have the Dynamic Black enabled and Brilliant Color up a bit. The fan was running at high speed about the same as shutdown speed, with that high pitched volume. As soon as the Dynamic Black was turned off, fan noise dropped it to barely audible 3 feet away. Factory settings did have it in Eco mode, where it will stay. Moving on to non animated programming, flesh tones out of the box were on the cool side. Skin tones were pale and unnatural. That had to be rectified but being totally unable to properly measure output, I rely on others sharing their settings and going from there. Using these settings from a different forum member, I was able to achieve a very good natural flesh tone and tone down the colors.
Brightness 0, Contrast -7, Sharpness 1, Color 0, Tint 0, Gamma Standard, Brilliant Color 1, Temp Warm, ColorsHue/Saturation/Brightness) Red 0/0/-1, Green 9/-1/-4 Blue 0/0/-22, White 1/-5/-11, Cyan -18/-7/-6 Magenta 26/0/-2, Yellow -11/-5/0
These settings also looked great in 3D mode. Of course the picture was darker switching to the RF glasses. I found it plenty bright enough, but if I had a larger image to project or a dimmer screen, I would consider the next one up the line with significantly greater lumen output reportedly with the 25-LV (Both the 25 and 25-LV use the same lamp, but rated power consumption is significantly higher with the HD25-LV). 3D picture is absolutely stunning! I have no criticisms of the post calibrated image. It was as bright as the HD20 with the ND2 filter I was accustomed to, in my un-professional opinion, with day time scenes reflecting the intended noon time or afternoon shots. Animated pixar type films looked vibrant. The depth of the 3D is perfect, with no artifacts or ghosting whatsoever using the RF glasses and emitter (Optoma).
The menus have been updated to a much more accessible format, making color changes a breeze. Remote is exactly the same except the codes for power on/off have changed. If you're using a Harmony remote, you'll need to program the HD25 in which are in the data banks at Logitech. The USB port is for software updates but at this time, there's no user loading software or update files. Here's to hoping something gets released or leaked. Out of warranty updates are around $100 for the HD20. Another consideration is bulb replacement. Lamp replacement cost is around $350-400. The reported 8000 hour rated bulb takes some of the sting out of that if accurate. I haven't looked at it to see if replacing just the bulb is an option. RF glasses also aren't cheap. Best price I've found was $70 each and $30 for the emitter. I didn't debate going the more expensive route vs DLP Link based on popular feedback. Speakers are fine but really.. I'm never going to use them in my home theater. If you occasionally go mobile though, they will be great for that. Another negative is lack of the 12v trigger. Upgraders utilizing that on the HD20 will need to find another source. Fortunately, I had an unused trigger port on my AVR.
Bottom line? You can't go wrong with this projector unless you need the higher lumen output. This is another feather in the Optoma cap and a brilliant move keeping the same housing and lens setup as the HD20 making this an easy upgrade. Even if you're not enthusiastic about 3D technology, the 2D alone is worth the cost of upgrade considering the decent resale value of the HD20 now.