Projector Reviews

Optoma HD131Xe Projector – Image Quality 2

OPTOMA HD131XE PICTURE QUALITY:  PAGE 2

Dark Shadow Detail

The HD131Xe is about average at dark shadow detail after adjusting the Brightness setting correctly.  It does pretty well for a projector with good black levels.  Understand, that the darker “black” is, the darker that the darkest above black shadow details will be, and therefore harder to spot.  All in all, not bad, but several of the other low cost projectors will do better.

Think of it as a trade-off between dark scenes with more pop, vs. ones with a little more detail.

For your consideration here are a few images good for checking out if a projector does well in the dark detail area.  Most of these are found in other, recent, competing projector reviews.

The second image in the set, however, is the Bond night train scene.  We already showed this for black level comparison with the Epson, now look in the dark areas of the woods on the right, and the shrubs behind the railroad tracks in the lower right, to see which reveals more.

 

Overall Color and Picture Quality

Black levels may be really great for the price, and shadow detail good, but Mike was unable to get a good calibration.  As a result, like the preset modes, his best effort doesn’t look right much of the time.  Bright reds never seem to be bright red, no matter which mode I tried.  Most of the time they seem a little pale and leaning toward pink.   You can see this easily in the HDTV images of football, where uniforms that are supposed to be rich reds, definitely are not.

As a result, of the inaccurate colors we found – and keeping in mind that most buyers of projectors in this price range do not own calibration gear, nor really are really concerned, as with most modes in many LCDTV’s most folks are happy with decent color, and don’t demand accurate.  If that sounds like you, this is a very good projector for the bucks.  The picking apart the color accuracy is for us enthusiasts/hobbyist types   I’m sure some really hard core enthusiasts with their own calibration gear will find some combination better than what we have.  Like the Viewsonic PJD7820HD, the first low cost 1080p projector that we reviewed earlier this year, really great color just isn’t likely to happen.  These images are from Mike’s setup.  At least one of the other modes has more red, but other trade-offs, overall, more different, rather than better.  Take your pick.

In the images above, the woman’s dress is a pretty straight red with most other projectors, and the reds are rich on that colorful computer screen image.  Yet Leeloo looks pretty good.  I think the images here look a little worse than the reality. Do the superior blacks make up for the color? Each of these entry level 1080p projectors has strengths and weaknesses.

 

Room Lighting Conditions

The Optoma HD131Xe has no problem putting out over 1700 measured lumens, which is about four times the brightness on your screen, as  a typical movie would have in your local neighborhood cineplex.

That means plenty of brightness to tackle modest ambient light, even in less than ideal rooms.

The nice thing about having a bright projector is that it can handle some amount of ambient light pretty well.  It was a usual sunny day here on So. California.

I started shooting the sports and other HDTV, early afternoon the shutters over half way open for the hi-def sports viewing.

Since most of the modes on the Optoma HD131Xe are relatively similar in brightness, the key element here is that I did all the normal sports images with Brilliant Color set to 10.

Room conditions - exposure set to show the room
Room conditions – exposure set to show the room

Note that with minimal Brilliant Color (1), the projector surrenders over half of it’s total brightness.

 

hd131xe_room_ambient_light_side_1
Exposure matched to the projected image

The image above was taken with a good exposure for the room to give you an idea of the ambient light.  For this second image, the ambient light is the same, but the exposure is several f-stops darker, to show what the screen looks like, when properly exposed, but it makes the room look very dark, much darker than the reality.

For the non-sports images, the shutters were about 3/4 closed allowing in only a fraction of the light into the room.

Back of the room shutters just about wide open + light from skylight in outer room
Back of the room shutters just about wide open + light from skylight in outer room