Posted on December 16, 2013
OPTOMA HD131xe HOME THEATER PROJECTOR: OVERVIEW
The HD131Xe is a cross-over projector marketed for home entertainment, home theater, and gaming. It’s suitable for doing business presentations, too. Very bright, built-in 10W audio.
More information, including calibration info, projection screen recommendations, and more about how this Optoma projector stacks up to the competition, will be added over the first week following this publication.
The Optoma HD131Xe projector looks to me like a lot of bang for the bucks. First, let’s define the projector. This is what I would call a nicely affordable home entertainment projector. It is a reasonably bright, and very affordable DLP projector. Optoma, for those of you not familiar, is likely the largest seller of DLP based home projectors. I should note that they have an extensive line-up including some projectors specifically targeting gamers, and some lower resolution projectors. This one though looks to be the all around home entertainment projector, with full 1080p resolution, for the price.
The Optoma HD131Xe is typically found online, and is considered a $799 “street price” projector, although prices do vary a bit online.
We also reviewed (not long ago) Optoma’s HD25-LV, a slightly brighter projector with what should be slightly better black level performance as well, that sells more in the neighborhood of $1300.
In this review we’ll take a close look at the features, and the picture quality. Our performance pages will discuss brightness, noise, and more.
The price point makes this Optoma projector one of the least expensive 1080p projectors out there. Even better news, it’s light enough, has respectable sound, so ultimately it’s a perfectly good business projector as well! I guess there’s still time for that year end tax write-off for you business folks out there, who have need of a projector for work.
That of course is the big question!
This projector is is for all of those folks who can really appreciate having a large image, but aren’t fanatical about some of the finer points of image quality. One could almost say “the typical consumer” except that the typical consumer tends to stick with under 70″ LCDTVs.
The cost, of course, of the Optoma HD131XE, paired with a decent screen, is well below any really large LCDTV. Why spend $2500 (or even more) for 70″ TV, when you can do 90″ or 120″ for a projector and screen, and spend half that amount?
On the other hand, I don’t consider this a great choice as a first projector, for someone who knows they are going to be a real hard core enthusiast. That is, if you are the kind that demands great color, and other high performance aspects, this one’s probably not for you. Typically this projector is for the people who have owned several LCDTVs and really never adjust or mess with the controls. They have a reasonably good looking picture and are satisfied! Well, the HD131Xe does put up a respectable picture, although color accuracy leaves a good bit to be desired, as will be discussed in the Image Quality pages. Think of it this way, the HD131Xe projector his is probably a good starting projector for most people, in this price range, just not all.
The Optoma HD131Xe, being an entry level 1080p projector for the home (that can easily double as a business projector with a very good value proposition), as you would expect, is not exactly loaded with lots advanced image features, but we’ll explore some of these highlights on the Special Features page which is next.
Excellent, in depth review Art!
Only one correction, under “Highlights” it says “3D capable, requires glasses, emitter”
The 131Xe can be used with “DLP Link” 3D glasses (i have $20 Sainsonics and $30 3D TV Corp ones and both work great) that requires no RF emitter. The projector flashes a white signal at 144 hz that synchs the glasses’ shutters. If one chooses (jury is still out whether RF glasses offer any improvement over DLP Link) an RF emitter can be plugged in but these glasses are a little more expensive and of course you have to buy the emitter as well.
3D is a feature that I didn’t think I’d use or appreciate all that much, but after watching Dredd, Avatar, and IMAX Under the sea I’m on the hunt for more 3D material. It’s VERY impressive. cheers and thanks for such a detailed review! Kurt
Hi Kurt, You are correct emitter and RF not required for 3D. Still, when there’s a choice of DLP Link or RF, I have found RF is generally slightly brighter, more dynamic. Not to mention other advantages, of course. And there should be 3rd party RF glasses out there as well, so other than the emitter, the pricing should be close.
Hi Art, I am looking at this projector as a replacement for my Mitsubishi HC3000U. I have a Da-lite High Power 2.4 Gain screen and was wondering if you think it will be too bright with that screen? One of the deciding factors of me getting the Mitsubishi so many years ago was your review of it.Keep up the great work. Been a fan for a long time!
Hi Scott, Let’s start with a budget. The HD131’s a respectable projector for the bucks, but tell me your budget range and I’ll give you some feedback. Only thing is I’m in the middle of a 4 city 8 day trip, might take me a couple of days, or even three to get back to you.
But for example, personally, I definitely prefer the BenQ W1070 over the HD131, and it’s probably less than $200 more. It’s not as bright, but, as you suspect, you won’t need it. In a darkened room, a calibrated W1070, for example, would have no problem doing movie theater brightness on a 150″ diagonal screen. -art
Hey Art Thanks for the quick reply. I originally wanted to get the W1070 but was concerned with the placement flexibility. I need to be able to fit a 106 inch image from 13.7feet away from the screen and from the reviews it seems that the HD131xe would fit better. Unfortunately my budget is less than $1000 that is why both of those projectors caught my eye. Either option will be a big upgrade spec wise from my HC3000U. I also do a lot of gaming so the lower input lag for gaming that was mentioned for both the W1070 and the HD131xe are a big plus for me. Thanks for any help/feedback.
I am trying to decide if this is the right projector for me or if I should be looking at the Epson 2030 or BenQ w1070? My screen will be 130″, 9′ ceiling, seating 16′ away, completely light controlled room.
I’ll let you compare the placement aspects, but assuming all three will mount well (if you are mounting at all, here’s my take.
Both the Optoma and BenQ are faster for gaming, but the 2030 is very respectable. For overall picture if you are into movies, my first choice is the BenQ, second the Epson, and far behind, the Optoma. For sports viewing, (and also for sitcoms, even Discovery HD type programming, I would go first with the Epson.
For overall warranty and support/piece of mind, the Epson is drastically better than the other two, with twice the warranty (2 years) and a rapid replacement program for both, vs. no programs for the other two. -art
I am looking for a hd 3d projector with usb port and it would be better if that is MHL compatible. I found Epson EH TW5200 but I have read it has poor black level.My budget is about 1000 euro. Please advice me. Thank you.
I am looking for my first projector. My main interest is in viewing movies and broadcast television occasionally. My room setup would position the projector 30 feet away from the screen with an image size up to a maximum of 120″ -144″. Price range under $1000. Would you suggest something suitable for my application? Thanks for you help.
It’s may be late to ask this but can you please tell me if it is better to go with w1070 or Optoma HD25 LV? my most important criteria is video gaming, movies and biggest screen size possible in 5 to 6 meter depth room….you can also recommend a different model if you want but within the price range please.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and reply…
Looking for a cheaper (under 500) option that is still ideal for gaming…Poor college student so really looking for low price tag
I purchased an Epson 2030. The unit has a restrictive zoom. I need a (ceiling) projector that will work 14′ from my 84″ built in screen. I like the 3 chip concept but they tell me at Epson I have to spend $2,000 more (5030UB) to get a 3 chip unit that will zoom down that far. Please give me some advice as this seems a little much for a zoom feature. Especially since the 720P I replaced it with has a wider zoom range.
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