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Optoma HD131XE Projector - Image Quality

Posted on December 16, 2013 by Art Feierman

Out of the Box Picture Quality

Most of the modes are pretty watchable, however, none are really very accurate.  There's a tendency to too much red in faces, although that tends not to show up on very pale faces, such as Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games.  On some of the Bond images, faces have more of a slight green yellow, than red.  I can't quite get a handle on the whys, but let's say that it didnt calibrate well, so different things happen in different brightness ranges.  In most  modes blue skies take on a blue-green color, not looking really believable, but some of the modes are better than others.  Overall, none of the preset modes looks better than the others on all content.  This is going to be a "use which ever one looks best to you.  Greens can be on the strong side.

In this image, Charlie Rose's skin tones look a little off.

Click Image to Enlarge

Skin Tones

Skin tones sometimes look good, sometimes do not, at least from my experience.  That's true not only of Mike's calibration efforts, placed in User, but also the default modes.  Unless someone else has better luck calibrating this projector (without "hacking" into the service menu, which should void the warranty, that is).

The key thing here, is that if you do want great, on the money color accuracy, this probably isn't your first choice in the under $1000 range.  I'd tend to lean toward the BenQ W1070, or one of the Epsons, but each has strengths, for example, the BenQ will calibrate better but not match the black levels of this Optoma.  Ditto for the Epson.

The initial feedback from several owners is that they are generally pleased.   And the folks on the forums are trying all kinds of settings to improve the picture.  We have Mike's recommendations here, plus different settings listed as a comment on our short "First Look" review about this HD131Xe, that I posted a few days before this full length review.

Black Levels

Black Level Images

From Iron Man 2

Very respectable black level performance translates to a dynamic looking scene

Better Blacks

The Optoma (left) with intentional ambient light, does better blacks than the Epson HC2030

From Spiderman

A very dark scene, the HD131Xe handles this shot well

Optoma vs. Epson HC2030 - Black Levels

This is a repeated image, that demonstrates that this Optoma beats the Epson 2030 at blacks but not dark shadow detail

Black Levels and Dark Shadow Detail Image

Here's a closer look at this very dark night scene from The Hunger Games.  Even the brightest parts of their faces are still relatively dim, and only look bright here because this image is intentionally, significantly overexposed so that you can make out the letterbox, and the darkest details.

All considered black levels is the one area where the HD131Xe really excels compared to the competition, which includes assorted projectors from Acer, Epson, Viewsonic, Vivitek and others.  The comparison with the Epson above, gives you an idea of the extra pop dark scenes have when black levels are better, but often, better blacks also come with not quite as good dark shadow detail

On this image look for the darkest shadow detail in the dark almost circular area just left of center and going from the bottom of the screen to the angled log above.  You can also back and look at the comparison between this Optoma and the Epson on the side by side image above.


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