I always seem to want a bigger display. I was one of the proud owners of the original (and monstrous) Samsung Galaxy Note, I currently use a giant desktop monitor, and I'm attracted to large sized TV's. Since giant TV's are prohibitively expensive, this led me to the world of projectors. And my first projector was the subject of today's review: the Optoma GT1080Darbee.

I've had the GT1080Darbee in my home for almost a year now. If you're in the market for your first projector — or even an inexpensive upgrade — this is definitely worth a look.

Category Features
Price $743
Format Short-throw
Max resolution 1080p
Throw ratio .49
Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3; auto-detect
HDMI inputs 2
Audio outputs 1, 3.5mm
Remote control Yes, Infrared
Connectivity N/A
Operating system N/A
See at Amazon $743

What is the Optoma GT1080Darbee?

The Optoma GT1080Darbee is a short-throw projector that is aimed at gamers because of its low input lag. Even if you don't game, it's still worth a look because of its picture quality and price. It outputs at up to 1080P/60Hz, perfect for console gamers. It has a peak brightness of 3000 lumens, which let me comfortably game even on sunny days with my blinds open.

What ports are on the Optoma GT1080Darbee?

The GT1080Darbee is a bit limited when it comes to inputs, only offering two HDMI ports. You also get a 3.5mm port for audio output, as well as a 3D-sync port and USB-A to power streaming sticks. Finally, there is a mini-USB port for firmware upgrades.

What's good about the Optoma GT1080Darbee?

Because this is a short-throw projector, you don't need a ton of space between it and the screen. I was able to project a 150-inch image from just six feet away. You also don't need to worry about mounting this; just place it on the bottom shelf of a coffee table.

The low latency makes games feel just as smooth as they would on a TV or monitor, and once you get the projector calibrated (more on that in a moment), the colors are gorgeous. While the built-in speakers won't be as good as a soundbar or surround sound system, they're perfectly respectable. The 3000 lumens will mean you can comfortably game even on bright days.

What's just OK about the Optoma GT1080Darbee?

The included remote could be better. All of Optoma's remotes have separate buttons for power on and power off, instead of a unified power button. This is a minor issue if you just use the included remote, but it makes using a universal remote that much more of a pain.

The projector also gets a bit too loud for my liking. This is exacerbated by the projector being placed close to where I'm sitting, but wouldn't be as much of an issue if you mount it on the ceiling. The built-in speaker is loud enough to drown out the fan noise, but it's still something that took me back.

What's bad about the Optoma GT1080Darbee?

The main downside of the GT1080Darbee is the limited amount of ports. If you plan to use this with more than two devices, you'll need to invest in an HDMI switch, or deal with unplugging and replugging your devices.

My biggest frustration with this projector was the out-of-the-box color calibration. I understand that a little bit of color tuning is necessary to get it absolutely perfect, but the default settings led to really washed out pictures. It was bad enough that I couldn't even play some games because I couldn't see some of the in-game objects.

Should you buy the Optoma GT1080Darbee?

Yes! At about $750, this is an inexpensive introduction to the world of projectors. In addition to being inexpensive, this is a genuinely good projector: the high resolution (though not 4K) will make your games and movies pop, and you don't need a ton of space or a mount to get it set up. Playing with the calibration settings is a hassle, but through trial and error you'll be able to make the picture look amazing.

3.5 out of 5

Optoma GT1080Darbee

The Optoma GT1080Darbee is a great projector for not a lot of money. It offers a 1080P resolution at 60Hz, great for console gamers. The low input lag will make it feel just as smooth as playing on a monitor or TV. And you get full support for 3D content and outputting to better speakers.

You'll need to spend a bit of time up front to get the color calibration fixed, but it will be well worth the effort.

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