You've seen us gushing almost uncontrollably about Sony's value-packed effort. Sadly, we can't do quite the same for this box from Optoma, despite its obvious power. And it's all because of a sheer visual comparison; there's nothing about the EP772's specs that really lets it down.
The build quality, for a start, is fine. It's a sturdy feeling unit, but light enough at 3.3kg to sling around your neck at a moment's notice. Finished all over in white plastic with an integrated lens cap, the EP772 is practically built and structured. We did notice slight heat issues, though; when beaming the 3,000 lumen lamp for more than a few minutes, there's some definite radiation up to a couple of feet from the unit.
Compared with the breezy Sony - even though that offers 1,000 lumens less - Optoma's offering appears to have been forged from parts of the sun. This will set you back more money, too, but you do get a few extra features. DVI input with HDCP support is perhaps the most important, making this device compatible with any HD hardware chain, although there's a suspicious lack of any HDMI port, something we've not seen a shortage of in other HD projectors in the past.
The resolution is enough to offer 720p and 1080i, but this particular model just falls short of the 1080p promised land, and only appears to be 1080i compatible after a bit of interlaced trickery. Add to this an extremely high contrast ratio, though, and you've got something special, right?
Well, sort of. This is one of those times where a reviewer's opinion gets to seep past that ever-present barrier of objectivity. We simply preferred the picture of the Sony to that of the Optoma, by quite a large margin. Getting pixel-perfect focus with the EP772 is extremely tricky, a combination of the closer-focused lens and the swathe of extra pixels it offers.
The colours aren't quite as rich, the picture not quite as sharp. Basically, it doesn't look as nice. But not by much. If you're desperate to have the future now, that won't matter. You'll mount this, you'll focus it precisely, you'll install your screen, and you'll use the built-in colour controls to get the picture just the way you want it. And all will be well; but you'll know you could have done that little bit better.