Optoma Game Time GT-3000 projector review

3.5 out of 5
£349

For

Small and portable, speakers and backpack included, decent picture quality

Against

No high-def, not natively widescreen, limited sound quality, only suits Nintendo Wii

Optoma has come up with one of the most affordable projectors yet for bigscreen gaming – and it’s no bigger than a couple of portable DVD players. At just £349, the GT-3000 is part of the GameTime range, the GT-3000 being Optoma’s most basic model.

It’s no match for the step-up GT-7000 which we reviewed recently on Pocket-lint, but its lack of high-def compatibility is not surprising at this low price. As well as knocking-off £150 or so, Optoma has pared-down the GT-3000’s features. It uses the same DLP tech as its bigger brother, but it’s not HD Ready, ruling it out for PS3 or Xbox360 owners wanting to get the most out of their consoles - although both can be connected if needed.

Clad in white, rather than the piano black of the GT-7000, it’s another clue to this dinky projector’s intentions primarily as a Nintendo Wii accessory. And at 2300 ANSI lumens of brightness, the GT-3000 is clearly meant to be used in daylight as well as home cinema-like blackout conditions.

While its brightness should guarantee versatility, portability is created by the double whammy of the GT-3000’s tiny shape together with Optoma’s inclusion of a cute and very good quality backpack. There are plenty of compartments and pockets for cables and accessories – and at just 2kg the GT-3000 is easily light enough to carry around your mate’s house for a games night.

That backpack can also carry the GT-3000’s separate speakers. Identical to the GT-7000’s speakers in all but colour (the GT-3000’s speaker module is white), this unusual addition to the package is of limited quality. That said, the 2.1 set-up - which includes stereo speakers and a tiny subwoofer - deals well with basic video games’ sound effects. It accepts a single 3.5mm phono jack for audio, though a double-pronged stereo adaptor is also provided in the box.

What makes it suitable only for a Nintendo Wii - and perhaps as a portable presentation tool, too - are its video inputs. Saddled with just Composite video, S-Video and a VGA port for hooking-up a PC, the GT-300 does at least include a Scart adaptor to allow connections to a set-top box or DVD player/recorder. You can forget using the Nintendo Wii’s progressive picture quality option though - without Component video inputs the GT-3000 is only able to show lower quality interlaced resolutions.

More problematic is its native resolution, which measures a 4:3-shape 800 x 600 pixels. There is a widescreen mode included in the GT-3000’s simple (and surprisingly feature-rich) onscreen menus, but this mode doesn’t make the most of the projector’s DLP panel, meaning even less detail is visible.

With limited optical zoom, the GT-3000 is not as versatile as it could be, having to be situated at least a few metres from the screen (or, more likely, a white wall) to produce a good-sized image. It does, however, boast both vertical and horizontal keystone correction so it can be placed slightly off-centre to the screen.

Considering its basic resolution and design, the GT-3000 is most impressive when it’s used on a coffee table (there are no adjustable feet to raise its height) to produce a relatively small image, with the speakers placed alongside it, directly in front of the viewing position. That way, trailing cables are kept to a minimum and the sound will come from a logical direction.

Playing Mario Kart in 480i resolution from a Wii, the GT-3000 produced rather soft images, but with reasonable amounts of contrast. Despite its high brightness levels it’s best used in as dark a room as possible, where it produces believable colours (though we’d recommend diving into the picture menus to take the edge from the rather ripe colours straight out-of-the-box). There’s little blur to speak of, though if your eyes are prone to “rainbow effect” (some people will see distracting flashes of colour as the colour wheels spin) the GT-3000 is best avoided.

Though a little messy to set-up, the speakers do a decent job and are OK for undemanding users - such as children or a boardroom audience.

Verdict

The speakers can’t be controlled by the remote, which is another clue to our opinion of the GT-3000: a great and very practical idea, but one that lacks enough quality to properly meet its brief. We don’t care that it’s not HD Ready, but the GT-3000 should at least offer top quality standard definition pictures from a Nintendo Wii – something it fails to do.

Likely to appeal to the family man who wants a projector for work that can easily double as a children’s entertainer at weekends, this Nintendo Wii accessory just about fulfils its brief.