Optoma TX700 Projector Review - General Performance
In this section we look at a variety of issues, not related to image quality:
Let's get started.
Optoma TX-700 Menus
The TX-700 menus are really well laid out. Hitting the menu button from the control panel, or the remote brings up the "main menu" which at the top has 6 tabs for the primary menus. It comes up showing the Image-1 menu below the tabs. Using the down arrow key you enter the Image1 menu.
Optoma combines small graphical icons along with text, and all considered, it's very easy to find what you are looking for. I took this image with a PC source, and in that mode, the Color controls do not come up. You'll need a video source for that.
The Image-II menu, is less likely to be used. Most of the functions on it are set automatically, however there is a degamma control, and also the aspect ratio control.
There is also an Audio menu , and the usual choice of languages. (Sorry, no images of these two menus.)
The next menu shown is the Mangement menu, which allows selection of type of projection: Front table, Front ceiling, rear screen table, rear screen ceiling.
You can also choose from 5 different positions for the menus to appear on the screen. There is a high altitude mode for those over 4000 feet or so, which increase fan performance, security settings, and digital zoom. Lastly, there is a Reset.
The last menu shown here, is the Lamp Setting menu.
Basic stuff, how many hours on the lamp, lamp reset, and and choice of full power or "eco" mode. There is also the option of having the projector automatically turn off, if there is no signal, or a static signal for a long period of time. Shown, it is set to turn off the projector after 15 minutes.
Overall, the menus are easy to navigate, without many different layers of menus to work through. They are easy to figure out, and use!
The Optoma TX700 has a very nice remote. It has a reasonable working range. It fits well into your hand, with it's sculpted design, and has well spaced buttons, some in angled patterns that also make it easy to find what you are looking for by "touch".
At the top you will find the power button on the left. Opposite that is a video mute which blacks out the screen. Way down at the bottom are the buttons for manual source selection, although, you can have the projector automatically search for a source when powered up. You'll need the source selection buttons to navigate between two or more sources, if you have more than one hooked up.
Back up near the top, there is a Freeze frame button and an Auto sync (re-sync is how the button is labeled) Moving down the left are the volume up and down, and a Reset button. In the middle top, are controls for keystone adjustment.
Moving back to the right, below the Freeze, are two Display buttons, one offers choices of aspect ratios, and the other, the Display Mode, let's you toggle between the presets, such as PC, Movie, sRGB, etc.
Next down on the right is the all important Menu button, and below it, the 4 arrow keypad with a large enter button in the center.
That's about it. The remote is lightweight, and is not backlit, although a projector this bright really doesn't need a backlit remote, it's always nice to have.
Overall, it is a very good remote, missing only one key thing, which is remote mousing capabilities for presentations. Seems, though, like less and less projectors are offering remote mousing on the remotes, quite possibly because better, RF (instead of infra-red) presentation remotes are so inexpensive today, and better suited.
We're just repeating here, what we covered in the Physical Overview on the first page of this projector review: The TX-700 has a 1.1:1 zoom - a very minimal range, more designed for placing the projector in the ideal place and just using the zoom to fine tune and fill the screen exactly, than to allow a lot of placement flexibility. Of course, you have to consider this is a very small, under 4.5 pound projector, and zoom lenses found on projectors in this class almost never exceed 1.2:1, and some projectors lack zooms at all. Placement is as follows - to fill a 100" diagonal screen the projector can be placed anywhere from 12.9 to 14.2 feet back. If you have a smaller, or larger screen, you can do the math, proportionately, to figure out your distances.
The Optoma leaks a very small amount of light out of its front grill. The amount, however is below any significant level, that would be visible under normal use.
Audible Noise Levels
Optoma claims 28 dbl noise level which should make it very quiet. I'm not clear on whether that is in full, or low power mode, but I suspect low power - since I don't measure noise levels. However, in full power mode, the projector still is reasonably quiet, you won't find your self having to raise your voice to talk over it, even in a small room. Very acceptable, which is good, because smaller projectors have more trouble baffling the noise to keep them quiet.
Optoma rates the lamp at 2000 hours in full power mode, and 3000 hours in "eco" mode. This is typical for small projectors. There are a few projectors with much longer claimed lives, such as some of the Mitsubishi's which claim up to 5000 hours in low power mode, but, I should point out that, price wise, those are rather premium priced projectors compared to the Optoma TX-700.
The carry case provided with the TX700 has room for the projector and cables, and not much else, but that works great, giving you an extremely small case to carry or hang from your shoulder.
The projector powers up very quickly, but lacks the "unplugged cool-down" found in some other projectors, such as the Panasonic LB60 we are reviewing at the same time. Let me explain - a number of projectors today, can be unplugged as soon as you are done presenting, handy for you "on the run" types. However, they can do this because they have a large capacitor acting as a battery to continue to run the fan when unplugged. (Typically for a minute or two). People interested in that feature be aware: You can't unplug a hot projector and stuff it back into it's carry case. It must be able to ventilate until the fan shuts down. This detracts somewhat from the overall benefit of immediately unplugging it, but such is life.
The speaker is powered by a 2 watt amplifier. You get about what you would expect: Bigger sound than from your laptop, but this is for basic sound capability, and not faithful reproduction of classical music. As expected, it's a bit tinny, but I would venture to say that it's probably a bit better than the average under 5 pound projector, and much bigger/better sound than that found on those few under 3 pound models.
Ok, time to move on. Warranty is next.