Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

Posted on 20th March, 2024

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

Steve May sets his sights on this high-achieving yet reasonably affordable new 4k HDR laser projector…


UHZ55 Laser Projector

£1,999 RRP

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

This compact 4K laser home entertainment projector has a mouth-watering specification. An update of 2022's UHZ50, the UHZ55 boasts a bright 3,000 ANSI lumens output and 2,500,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, courtesy of Optoma's commercially honed DuraCore laser light source. This light cannon is good for at least 30,000 hours, which effectively means maintenance-free use over its lifetime. No expensive lamp replacements are required, then.

Those with a penchant for console gaming will be grateful for a high refresh rate of 240Hz at 1080p, which brings a welcome level of smoothness to gaming. Optoma quotes input lag at 17ms (1080/60), which isn't too shabby for a projector. HDMI 1 supports this low latency.


When it comes to design, the UHZ55 is all business. Optoma continues to resist the lure of avant-garde form factors pursued by the likes of XGIMI and Samsung, instead favouring a familiar cabinet and offset lens chassis. This is safe territory for the brand, but one that serves it well. The unit is tidy enough to be moved in and out of storage when movie nights call and is compact enough for an unobtrusive ceiling installation. It weighs just 5kg, measures 337x265x119mm, and the build quality is extremely good. The supplied remote is a perilously slim CR2032 coin-operated job. There are on-body controls to navigate the menu system, should you need them.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

Connectivity can be considered good, with three HDMI inputs, of which HDMI One supports eARC. There's also a trio of USB-A 2.0 ports (one for powering streaming sticks), an analogue stereo 3.5mm minijack output, a digital audio output, an RJ-45 LAN connector, and a 3D emitter cable port. Control options include a 12V trigger for syncing the projector with a motorised screen and RS232. The UHZ55 also works with DLP's 3D Sync platform, but glasses and associated hardware are optional extras.

Wi-Fi is not built-in, although there's a wireless dongle included in the box. This is provided more for corporate users of the UHZ55 rather than those drafting it into a media room. When connected to a network, the projector places a WPS pin on the screen, which stays there until the Wi-Fi dongle is switched off. The idea is that you download the Optoma Creative Control app, which then invites you to 'join a room' using the WPS pin. You can then share media and screen mirror with your fellow workers.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

There's a decent selection of tools to help with system setup. These include lens shifting, horizontal and vertical keystone correction, four-corner correction, and 3x3 warping. Zoom and focus are manually operated, using a familiar ring and level arrangement.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

Tilt-adjustment feet are available if your coffee table is on the wonk. The throw ratio is 1.21~1.59. The UHZ55 will deliver its optimum performance when partnered with a dedicated projection screen, but realising that many of us will simply take advantage of a convenient wall, Optoma offers a variable Wall Colour balance setting which lets you compensate when your target isn't pure white. Six options are provided – blackboard, light yellow, light green, light blue, pink and grey – to compensate for a correct colour gamut. Unusually, this projector is also WiSA HT certified. This means it can work with any WiSA-enabled wireless speakers you have in the vicinity.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

Usability is reasonable, although you get the feeling that the UHZ55 is reluctant to let go of all the corporate trappings. The plain home screen includes date and time, icons for Optoma Connect, Creative Cast (screen mirroring) and a File Manager, as well as those three HDMI inputs, plus buttons for Source, Settings, and apps. There's a small selection of streaming apps available for download, including Prime Video, Netflix, Crunchyroll and Spotify, via the Optoma Marketplace cupboard. Still, users might be better served plugging in a wireless streaming media stick, be it Fire TV or Roku.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

The projector has variable Brightness modes. For the bulk of this audition, I used Dynamic Black, which automatically adjusts the picture for optimum contrast. It's very effective. There's also an Eco mode, which dims the projector laser diode and lowers power consumption. There's also variable Power and Luminance. Personally, I would keep the projector on full brightness. HDR support covers HDR10 and HLG. There's no Dolby Vision, although that really shouldn't come as much of a surprise as it's not in Optoma's playbook.


This projector exploits its 3,000 lumens reasonably well when it comes to HDR content, lifting highlights without too much impact on shadow detail. Admittedly, it's not the same kind of HDR experience you would get from even a moderately priced HDR TV, but it does have wow appeal. Unfortunately, whenever you watch anything that's in HDR, the UHZ55 revs up its engine, increasing operational noise by a noticeable degree. The whir is at least constant. You'll certainly want to mask its grumble with a decent sound system.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

On the plus side, the projector is bright enough to use in a room with moderate levels of ambient light. This makes it a great choice if you want to supersize your sports during daylight hours or break out the joypads when a full room blackout isn't feasible. Obviously, though, to see the projector at its best, you'll want to dim the lights. This is when the UHZ55 really begins to shine.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

Single-chip DLP projectors are known for blisteringly sharp images, but they can also be subject to rainbow flashing in areas of high contrast. With the UHZ55, I was occasionally aware of this trait, most commonly seeing it on subtitles, where white would more often than not be in stark contrast to the background. All the same, the artefact was subtle and I suspect some viewers may not even detect it at all.

While the UHZ55 is compatible with UHD sources and casts a 3,840x2,160 pixel image, it's not truly native 4k. Instead, it uses a clever mirror-flipping technique to ramp up perceived resolution. Does this matter? Not really. Onscreen, you'd be hard-pressed to identify that you weren't watching native UHD; such is the clarity presented. A truly native 4k projector, like one of Sony's SXRD models, would dwarf the UHZ55 in size and more than double the cost. Time and again I was struck by the detail that the UHZ55 reveals.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

Taylor Swift The Eras Tour (Disney+) appears to make full use of its original 4k stream. The star's sequinned outfit is exquisitely delineated, with every sparkle defined. The concert movie also has terrific colour pop, thanks to Optoma's wide colour gamut laser light source. It's enough to turn anyone into a Swifty!

Standard picture presets comprise Cinema, HDR Sim(ulation) for SDR sources, Game, Reference, Bright and User adjustable. Cinema would be my standard recommendation out of this selection, as it provides a good balance between contrast and colour vibrancy. When fed HDR content, all these presets are trumped by a standard HDR mode. The good news is that the image remains extremely filmic, with no sense of the dread soap opera effect. Motion smoothing comes in the form of PureMotion MEMC; however, this is only available on HDMI 3. There are also 'secret' ISF modes, which can be unlocked if you have the projector ISF calibrated.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

Black-level performance is convincingly solid, letterbox movie bars are rendered dark grey, and there's enough shadow detail to enhance image depth. The UHZ55 may not go Dark Knight dark, but compared to rival projectors, it's good enough. It's also exceptionally adept at portraying believable skin tones and subtle detail. A run-through of Army of Thieves (Netflix) provides plenty of opportunities for the projector to show off its ability with big close-ups, lush costume textures, and detailed architecture.

Optoma UHZ55 4K Projector Review

As for the built-in audio system, at best it can be described as functional. While its 2x 10W squawkers might suffice for casual use, they're not anything I'd choose to listen to when watching a movie or gaming. They sound thin and strident, so there's a Mute button on the remote control for good reason. In an ideal world, you'd partner the UHZ55 with a home cinema receiver, allowing the amp to handle audio from your source while routing video to the projector. Digital output formats from eARC and digital optical audio cover PCM and bitstream (Dolby Digital +/DTS HD). Whatever route you choose, an external audio solution is a must.


Optoma's new UHZ55 impresses in almost every department. It casts gloriously sharp, punchy images from HD and UHD sources and offers excellent colour fidelity with good dynamics. The sound system is perfunctory, so you should plan to listen via external audio from the get-go. The overall design, while not particularly striking, is eminently practical. The model works both for pop-up use and is compact enough for a more permanent home theatre installation. Overall value can be considered good. There are some niggles, but it still warrants two big thumbs up.

Visit Optoma for more information


    Steve May's avatar

    Steve May

    Steve is a home entertainment technology specialist. Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve is also the editor of the lifestyle website The Luxe Review and has an unconditional love of glam rock.

    Posted in:Home Theatre Applause Awards 2024 Visual Projectors
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