In most ways, the Optoma TW610ST ($1,000 street) is a typical DLP-based, WXGA (1280 by 800) projector. But it also offers something a little different to set it apart, namely: a short throw lens that lets it throw a large image from close to the screen. A short throw isn’t unique to Optoma, by any means, but it’s uncommon enough to earn special attention.
Short throw projectors like the TW610ST or the Editors’ Choice Optoma GT720 ($800 street, 4 stars) cost more than equivalent projectors with standard lenses, but if you need one they’re well worth the price. They can give you a large image in a small room, and they make it much easier to avoid shadows from people getting between the projector and the screen. Optoma says the Optoma TW610ST can throw an 80-inch diagonal (68 inches wide) 16:10 image at less than three feet. I measured it at 68 inches wide from exactly three feet.
Optoma TW610ST View SlideshowSee all (5) slides
The Basics: Connections and Setup
At 6.9 pounds, the Optoma TW610ST is light enough to carry with you occasionally, but heavy enough so you probably won’t want to make a habit of it. It’s more likely to end up permanently in one room, or on a cart going from room to room.
Setup is standard for a short-throw projector with manual focus and no zoom. The back panel offers a full set of connectors, including an HDMI 1.3 port for a computer or video source, two VGA inputs for computers or component video, one pass-through monitor port, and both an S-Video and a composite video port, which are both paired with a single set of phono plugs for stereo audio. Also included are three miniplug connectors for a microphone and for stereo audio input and output.
Optoma TW610ST Specifications
- Engine Type
Brightness and Image Quality
Optoma rates the Optoma TW610ST at 3,100 lumens, which is increasingly the norm for this class of projectors. The Casio Green Slim XJ-A250 ($1399.99, 4 stars) that I recently reviewed, for example, is rated at 3,000 lumens. What matters more is that in real world use, the projector can stand up to typical office lighting, with any reasonable size image. In my tests, it was easily bright enough to use at 68 inches wide even with daylight streaming through the windows.
The TW610ST did particularly well for data image quality on our suite of DisplayMate tests. Colors were bright and vibrant, and black on white text was crisp even at the smallest sizes we test with. The few flaws I saw were decidedly minor. White on black text, for example, was unreadable at the smallest sizes, but you’re much more likely to be using black on white, and the smallest sizes we test with are smaller than you’re likely to use in any case.
As with most data projectors, video images weren’t in the same league as data images. The TW610ST handled shadow details in dark scenes better than most data projectors, but I saw some minor posterization (color changing suddenly where it should change gradually) in scenes that tend to bring out the problem.
One issue for both data and video is that the projector includes an electronic equivalent of an auto-iris. The basic idea—for either a real auto iris or the electronic version—is that it lets the projector automatically adjust to make dark images darker and bright images brighter. As is common with auto iris features, however, the TW610ST shows a noticeable lag between the image showing on screen and the feature reacting. The faux auto iris is on by default, but if you find it annoying, it’s easy enough to turn off.
A still more important issue was the rainbow effect, with bright areas breaking up into little red-green-blue rainbows. This is always a potential problem for any DLP projector, with some more prone than others to showing it. With data screens, I saw very few rainbows, but they showed up often enough with video so that anyone who’s sensitive to the effect will likely find it annoying for extended viewing. This by itself is enough reason to limit the projector to short video clips.
The Optoma TW610ST audio quality is better than average for this class of projector, and the two 5-watt stereo speakers put out enough volume to fill at least a small conference room. One other feature worth mention is 3D support using DLP-Link glasses. As more 3D material becomes available, this could become a highly useful feature, particularly in educational contexts. As with all DLP-link projectors, however, there’s some question about how practical it can be for classroom-size audiences, with glasses still selling for $70 or more each.
Ultimately, the TW610ST touches all the right bases. The data image quality is superb, the video quality is good enough for the short video clips you’re likely to use a data projector for, and being 3D ready helps guard against obsolescence even if you never wind up using it. If you need a bright, short-throw WXGA data projector for a conference room or classroom, with or without the occasional need to use it as a portable, the TW610ST is a prime candidate. It’s also a clear pick for Editors’ Choice.