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Optoma HD131Xe Projector - Summary

Posted on December 16, 2013 by Art Feierman
OPTOMA HD131XE:  SUMMARY

HD131Xe Projector: Summary - Picture Quality

Overall picture quality, as I've said throughout this review, is a bit of a mixed bag.  Good shadow detail, and extremely good black level performance for the money, are the real strengths of the Optoma HD131Xe home entertainment projector.

The downsides also number two:  There's too much image noise, especially in close ups of faces, and color accuracy really could be better.  It would be nice to see bright rich reds, but the HD131Xe never quite does that, in any mode.  Mind you there's a lot of control of the image, and almost an infinite number of combinations, so someone with the time and patience to really tweak this projector (and who has some calibration gear), may well come up with visibly better color than I experienced.

Overall, most folk won't have a problem, any more than most people have no complaints about their LCDTVs even when not set up well.  Enthusiasts, though, tough call.  If you've got the gear, and the patience, this is a good low cost projector to start with, but if you lack the gear, or the patience, you just might want to go with a projector that needs less "taming."

 

Projector Brightness

Although this Optoma did not come particularly close to their 2500 lumen claim (remember we don't measure for maximum brightness, but maximum watchable brightness), the almost 1800 lumens still makes it one of the brightest home projectors around.

With Brilliant Color set to 10, there's plenty of brightness for tackling ambient light

With Brilliant Color set to 10, there's plenty of brightness for tackling ambient light, as this picture shows

So far, most of the bright new projectors out there tend to measure between about 1500 to 2200 lumens, the way we do things.  That makes this a nicely inexpensive light canon.

Brightness is more dependent on the Brilliant Color setting than which mode you select.  In fact, if you look at the less bright modes on the chart on the performance page, you would find that they have lower Brilliant Color settings, than those who measure highest (Bright, with BC at 10).

Brilliant Color not only adds brightness, but also a certain amount of pop to the image.  By that, I'm saying the image looks particularly dynamic.

Room conditions - exposure set to show how the room looks - sunny day

Room conditions - exposure set to show how the room looks - sunny day

That's a very good thing when fighting ambient light, but if you are looking for the most natural looking picture, and skin tones, that won't be with Brilliant Color at 10.  For comparison, Cinema looks better/more natural, and its Brilliant Color setting defaults to 5, which means that mode is good for only 1123 lumens, our about 1/3 less than modes with Brilliant Color at 10.

In other words, when you don't need all the brightness of the "brightest" modes, just dial down the Brilliant Color, giving up significant brightness, but improving the naturalness of the picture.

Gaming with the HD131Xe Projector

I see no picture issues relating to gaming, dark corners aren't too dark that might hide some enemy soldier in Call Of Duty, etc.   Color accuracy, of course, just isn't that important for gaming, pretty much a non-factor.

That makes lag times the most important aspect to determine how good this 1080p Optoma projector is for serious gaming.

Let's say that this Optoma should make an excellent gaming projector.  I should note, as well, that the 17 millisecond lag time measured, is the same as we found when reviewing the lower res, sub $700 GT760, one of Optoma's projectors specifically targeted gamers.

hd131xe_lag_time

Lag times are minimal. Without seeing if anything could be turned off to further improve lag times, the HD131Xe starts with an impressively good 17ms.

Our measurements showed a lag time of just 17 milliseconds, which, is less than one frame if your source is 60fps.

Improving on this speed really doesn't further improve playing, according to our old gaming bloggers.

In the general opinion of those guys, and feedback from readers, we long ago concluded that anything better than 35 ms, is fine for the vast majority of serious gamers.  Marginal - good enough for most gamers, but a few will complain, is a lag time of 50ms.  Anything noticeably slower than 50 ms, will garner complaints from too high a percentage of hard core gamers, to recommend.

 

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