Optoma HD7100 Projector Review

Optoma HD7100 Physical Tour

Starting from the front, the HD7100 projector has a large zoom lens with a 1.25:1 zoom ratio, mounted off center. There is also an Infra-red sensor, and a large vent (on the left) if you are facing the HD7100 projector. The vent blows warm air out on an angle to the side, away from the lens where the hot air could cause some visual distortion. The zoom is fairly short throw, so this is a projector many will ceiling mount or place on a table top. You’ll need a room that’s not very deep, and a fairly large screen, if you are thinking about rear shelf mounting this projector. To fill a 100″ screen, the furthest back the front of the projector can be, is 12.5 feet. Which means that your rear wall would probably be no more than 14.5 – 15 feet back from the screen (if you are using a 100″ diagonal screen). I suspect that shelf mounting in the rear, will work for perhaps 50% – 60% of owners.

Two drop down front feet are located at the far left and right front of the projector. Each has a single button (mounted to the side) to drop/lock the feet).

Moving to the top of the Optoma HD7100, up behind the lens are two recessed slides one for adjusting the zoom and the other for the focus.

Looking at the HD7100 from the back, to the left of the recessed area for focus and zoom, is a wheel that adjusts vertical lens shift. The HD7100 allows you to place the projector – the center of its lens actually) slightly below the bottom of the screen surface to any position up to slightly above the top of the screen surface. Here’s a basic spec for the “outer range”, you can use it and figure out your own placement.

If you have a 100″ diagonal screen, the center of lens can be as low as 4.1″ below the bottom, or above the top of the screen surface. (If you screen is 10% larger – say 110″ diagonal, then you would have 4.1″ * 110% = about 4.5″ instead.

But, back to the controls. There is also horizontal lens shift which simplifies left/right mounting (especially in light of an off center mounted lens).

Behind all the lens related controls, is the main control panel shown here. It is well laid out, with the standard four arrow keys and a center Enter function, closest to the lens controls.

Straight back is the power off/on, first is a small indicator light that alerts you to a high temperature issue. Then comes a large button that lights up bright blue when the projector is off, and blinks when powering up/down. Optoma apparently learned well from the H78DC3 and H79, both of which also had bright blue power indicator lights that stayed on, when the projector was on. (In all fairness the light was on the side, but many people covered itwith tape, because it was bright). So this time, once the projector is projecting an image, the light stays off until you power down. A good move on Optoma’s part!

Again, looking from the rear, the other 4 buttons, from the right

  • Menu button: opens up the main menu, (and the last selected submenu)
  • Input: Let’s you manually change your source
    On the other side of the power button:
  • ECO: Which toggles you between Bright Mode and Low Power Mode
  • Exit: Backs you up in the menu structure and ultimately turns off the menus

Finally, we get to the rear of the HD7100, where all the inputs are

From the rear, from left to right

  • Composite video and S-video (your two lowest performance video inputs)
  • Component 1 (3 RCA jacks) for highest quality analog video
  • Component 2 (same, and it’s nice to have 2)
  • Standard HD15 for a normal analog computer signal
  • DVI-D connector for digital signals from A/V receivers, DVD players satellite and cable receivers that are so equipped. Digital is the preferred choice, for best image quality.

The HD7100 had two digital inputs and one less component input, as today’s AV receivers tend to have only 2 digital inputs and one output, if any at all. It really is time to standardize on digital instead of component for best quality, and I would urge everyone to run digital cabling especially if you are going through walls. You won’t want to open those walls to do it again in a couple of years.

That concludes our look at the layout of the HD7100. We will cover the remote control later, in the General Performance section (and also the menu layout).

Time to discuss the HD7100 projector’s image quality. Click to proceed.

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