Reviewers can't say enough about what a great value the Optoma HD33 represents. Picture quality in both 2D and 3D is excellent, although more expensive projectors are capable of producing deeper blacks. RF active-shutter glasses produce a more stable 3D viewing experience than standard IR glasses.
Great performance in any dimension. Experts and users alike agree that considering its price, the Optoma HD33 comes remarkably close to duplicating a true 3D movie-theater experience. It produces remarkably little crosstalk, glare and motion blurring, although some noise is present in large patches of solid surfaces, like walls or sky. Ghosting in 3D mode is almost non-existent and 2D performance is sterling, with great color accuracy.
Expert reviews of the HD33's black levels in both 2D and 3D are somewhat mixed. Robert Silva at About.com says the detail in very dark scenes can go a little flat but Andrew Gash at Audioholics.com disagrees, writing that in Cinema mode with the standard (low-power) lamp setting, the HD33 produced "such amazingly deep blacks we were stunned."
Bill Livolsi with ProjectorCentral.com measures the HD33's brightness at 661 to 847 lumens in Cinema (standard/full-power settings, respectively). Amazon.com users say the HD33 looks best at night (or in a darkened room) -- some suggest using blackout shades during the daytime.
Although one reviewer says the HD33 does an exemplary job of suppressing the "rainbow effect" that some sensitive viewers may perceive from a DLP projector, M. David Stone of PCMag.com withholds his full recommendation because of it.
Solid 3D, but not much more. The Optoma HD33 puts most of its emphasis where it matters: Picture quality and performance. A few features, however, are particularly worthy of note. Most importantly for a 3D projector, the HD33 is compatible with RF active-shutter glasses, which don't lose their signal and have to re-sync every time you turn your head, unlike IR glasses. Optoma's RF 3D glasses are sold separately (*Est. $80) but owners don't seem to mind the price too much.
Connectivity is ample, including HDMI 1.4-capable ports. Other input options include VGA, component and composite video, and S-Video. Fan noise runs around 28 to 30 dB, or around the level of a hushed conversation.
Easy to set up. The Optoma HD33 has no lens shift capability and its limited 1.2x zoom doesn't offer much placement flexibility. Still, reviewers say setup is quick and easy as long as you're able to place the HD33 directly back from your display screen. Adjustable legs front and back help you line things up, and a relatively small +/- 5 degrees keystone correction helps you square the picture off somewhat.
Focus is manually controlled, as is Optoma's PureMotion technology, which has three settings to help reduce judder. All the input connectors are in the back, so at least you don't have to deal with a hodgepodge of wires sticking out in every which direction.
Chris Eberle with Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity is the only expert reviewer who mentions calibration, saying the HD33 provided one of the fastest installations he's ever done: "It [the grayscale] tracked so well, it literally took me five minutes to achieve the result you see in the benchmarks."
The Optoma HD33 can be calibrated separately for 2D and 3D viewing, letting you cancel out the touch of green that the 3D glasses inevitably add. When in 3D mode, it automatically adjusts brightness and contrast levels to compensate for the inevitable brightness loss of viewing through 3D glasses.
The HD33's lamp is projected to last 4,000 on the standard (low-power) mode or 3,000 hours in bright mode. It's covered by a 90-day warranty, while the rest of the projector receives a typical warranty of one year. Still, we found a few complaints from owners who say Optoma's customer service was less than helpful when the most common issue with this projector struck -- HDMI ports that quit working or never worked properly to begin with.
A sterling value in 3D. Users and experts alike are flabbergasted to find such a high-quality 3D projector available for less than $3,000. "For the money this is top notch!" writes one happy user at Amazon.com. Others praise the HD33's 2D performance as well, saying this projector offers outstanding picture quality in two dimensions as well.
Review Credibility: Excellent ProjectorCentral.com gives the Optoma HD33 its Editor's Choice award, saying that its performance well exceeds its price. Colors are excellent, and blacks are good for its class.
Review: Optoma HD33 1080p DLP 3D Home Theater Projector, Bill Livolsi, Aug. 25, 2011
2. Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
Review Credibility: Excellent This enthusiast site is well regarded for its thorough reviews, though some of the esoteric details discussed might be overkill for more casual readers. Chris Eberle's bottom line assessment comes through loud and clear: the HD33 "offers as much as projectors costing three or four times more." He adds that the 3D performance is the best he's seen to date.
Review: Optoma HD33 3D DLP Projector, Chris Eberle, Nov. 21, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good M. David Stone enthuses that the Optoma HD33 produces terrific images in 2D and 3D. He stops short of giving it his full recommendation, however, because he noticed some DLP rainbow effect. He adds that if viewers are not sensitive to the rainbow effect, "the Optoma HD33 is almost impossible to recommend too highly."
Review: Optoma HD33, M. David Stone, Oct. 12, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good Robert Silva selects the HD33 as one of the best DLP video projectors, then follows up with a full, though relatively brief, review based on hands-on testing. He calls the Optoma HD33 a great value, even if you aren't interested in 3D. He does caution that black levels and contrast, while "acceptable," might not be good enough to keep the videophile crowd satisfied. For everyone else, the projector "provides a great 2D and 3D viewing experience."
Review: Optoma HD33 3D DLP Video Projector - Product Review, Robert Silva, Not Dated
Review Credibility: Very Good This review of the Optoma HD33 is breezy and light-hearted, but still contains good detail about how testing was conducted and what testers were looking for. It and the accompanying video presents information in a way non-videophiles can easily understand, but is still useful for those with more extensive backgrounds. It receives a rating of "Gotta Have It!"
Review: Optoma HD33 3D Projector Video Review, Andrew Gash and Clint DeBoer, June 1, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The Optoma HD33 earns an 8 rating ("Excellent, with room to kvetch") from Wired for value, comfortable albeit extra cost 3D glasses and excellent picture quality. Gripes are mostly minor -- including black levels that could be deeper but rarely are light enough to detract from what's on the screen.
Review: Occupy Wall Space with Optoma's Budget 3-D projector, Rick Broida, Nov. 3, 2011
Review Credibility: Good Roughly 100 user reviewers rate the Optoma HD33 on Amazon.com and leave brief comments about its performance. Overall, the projector earns an impressive 4.5-star score. We saw just a couple of complaints about rainbow effect, and a healthier handful of concerns about projectors that worked only briefly or not at all. One of the most common issues seems to be that the HDMI ports quit working.
Review: Optoma HD33, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2013