Optoma ZX210ST Short Throw LED/Laser DLP Projector Review

Optoma ZX210ST Appearance

The Optoma ZX210ST comes with a rather standard white case.  The ZX210ST has its lens offset to the right side of the projector when facing it.  The convex lens sticks out from the front of the projector because the ZX210ST does not project straight ahead, but rather upward diagonally from the projector, thus allowing it to be placed close to the screen.  Unlike last year’s TW610ST, which had a substantial lens cap tethered to the projector to protect the protruding lens, the ZX210ST comes with a less beefy cap, which is not tethered to the projector.  This is less desirable and hopefully. Optoma will use the more substantial cap and tether on its production models.  To the right of the lens is an IR receiving eye.  As the ZX210ST is completely dependent on placement to align its image with a screen, there are height adjustable screw feet in each of the four corners for adjusting the height and leveling the projector.

 

On top of the projector, right behind the lens, is a tabbed ring for focusing the image.  Directly behind the focus ring, toward the rear of the projector, is a control panel including indicators for lamp status and temperature (if overheating).  There are buttons for Power (with indicator light), Keystone correction (which also serve as menu navigation Up/Down buttons), Menu and Enter.  The Left/Right menu navigation buttons also function as Source and Re-sync respectively.  A second IR receiving eye is also part of the panel.

On the right side (facing the front of the projector), is a built-in speaker followed by an air intake vent toward the rear.  On the left side of the projector are more vents and a second speaker.

Moving to the rear panel, there are a number of available connections.  Starting at the top left, there is a LAN jack for a network connection.  Below that is the power cord jack.  Moving across the top from left to right, there is an RS232 control jack, followed by composite video and S-video inputs, with an SD card slot and an RJ45 network connection right below them.  Next up are a VGA input (that can also serve as a component video input) and a VGA monitor output.  They are followed by a USB jack that allows for the use of a wireless network dongle, as well as for projection from a USB thumb drive.  Next we have a USB Type B port for firmware updates and interactive functions and a mini-USB input for USB projections.  The final jacks are for stereo audio input and output.  There is a large vent on the right side of the panel.  Along the bottom of the panel are a Kensington lock and a power cable connector.

Optoma ZX210ST Setup

The Optoma ZX210ST fires up quickly and is ready to use in a matter of seconds.  We often bemoan the fact that short throw projectors usually take so much time to set up, primarily because the projector has to be positioned at both the correct height and distance from the screen (as there is no ability to manually zoom or shift the lens).

While that is true for the ZX210ST, its individual height adjustment at all four corners makes the task quite a bit easier.  Also, with a typical ceiling mount, the projector is more easily positioned and can be mounted very close to the screen, so setup time would not be an issue.  If a quicker setup is desired, the use of keystone adjustment is necessary.  We found the ZX210ST’s keystone correction (both manual and auto) works quite well and in most instances, does not cause noticeable distortion.

Menus

The Optoma ZX210ST fires up quickly and is ready to use in a matter of seconds.  We often bemoan the fact that short throw projectors usually take so much time to set up, primarily because the projector has to be positioned at both the correct height and distance from the screen (as there is no ability to manually zoom or shift the lens).

While that is true for the ZX210ST, its individual height adjustment at all four corners makes the task quite a bit easier.  Also, with a typical ceiling mount, the projector is more easily positioned and can be mounted very close to the screen, so setup time would not be an issue.  If a quicker setup is desired, the use of keystone adjustment is necessary.  We found the ZX210ST’s keystone correction (both manual and auto) works quite well and in most instances, does not cause noticeable distortion.

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Image Advanced Menu

Once it’s in position, the user can select the desired display mode from the main menu and make the usual adjustments (contrast, brightness, color and tint) to the picture. As we also noted last year with the Optoma TX542, the ZX210ST offers grayscale calibration adjustments for red, green and blue. While this is not something that most users will be able to use properly (as it requires special calibration tools), these controls may come in handy to tone down the excessive green cast in Bright mode.

Image Color Menu

There are also adjustments available for the projector’s secondary (cyan, magenta and yellow) colors, though these affect the projector’s full grayscale range from white to black. There are even four gamma modes to choose from. Brilliant color can also be adjusted in a range from 0 to 10. However, we would recommend that brilliant color is left at its default setting of 10, as lower levels reduce the lumen output greatly without any noticeable improvement in picture quality. Overall, the Optoma ZX210ST has an impressive array of controls, certainly more than enough to satisfy even the most discriminating presenter.

Image Presentation Menu

Remote Control

The ZX210ST’s remote control is a small, charcoal gray remote.  Buttons are similarly colored with white text.  Buttons are appropriately grouped and cover all the important functions without accessing them through the menu.

When the projector is connected via USB, the remote can also act as a wireless mouse (switched over to that function by a button on the remote).  In a welcome change from previous Optoma remotes that had separate buttons for menu navigation and mouse functions, the ZX210ST’s remote combines these functions to avoid confusion.

In addition to the mouse navigational and left/right click buttons, there are buttons for brightness, contrast, 3D, image re-sync and freeze, AV mute, individual input switching, digital zoom and keystone correction.  There are also buttons to control the volume of the projector’s built-in speakers.

As is the standard with multimedia projectors, the buttons are not backlit or even glow-in-the-dark, as backlighting can often be distracting.

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