Projector Reviews

Optoma HD141X Projector Review – Summary

OPTOMA HD141X PROJECTOR REVIEW SUMMARY:  As Home Entertainment projector, Gaming, Picture Quality, Features and Warranty, The Bottom Line

An Affordable Home Entertainment Projector

Full HD resolution – 1080p – projectors just don’t come much less expensive than this Optoma HD141X.  Hey, it was less than 3 years ago that the first sub $1000 1080p home projector started shipping.

To be a good home entertainment projector presumes that most users don’t have a dedicated theater or cave, for maximum viewing performance.

The Optoma has just enough zoom lens range (minimal) to make it easy to get the image to just fill your screen (assuming you are using a screen).  Normal placement is about 9-10 feet from your screen, depending on image size.  One thing of note, no lens shift (not expected on projectors in this price range), but it does have vertical keystone correct – but lacks horizontal keystone correction.  So, placement flexibility is limited in that regard.

The built in 10 watt speaker will easily handle a typical living room, or whatever you have, but of course lacks any deep bass.  Just fine for sitcoms, but not exactly ideal for an action flick.  The good news is that there’s a stereo audio out, so you can feed sound (including from MHL devices) to your external stereo or surround sound, or headphones.  Unfortunately, Optoma came close, but blew the chance for a great feature.  You see in the menus you can turn the internal speaker on or off.  That gave me hope that the internal speaker would still work if you plugged in an external subwoofer, but no such luck.

Plug a jack in, and the speaker goes dead, even if it’s set to On.  Oh well, too bad, because you can buy a low cost powered sub-woofer for $40, if you could just add that, you’d have at least some room rattling bass.  Optoma, next year perhaps?

There’s plenty of brightness to cut through ambient light, but remember max brightness 3000  lumens which is massive, isn’t very pretty.  Still, even 1500+ lumens in Vivid mode is a lot.  It’s nice to have a projector that can tackle more than a little ambient light.

The feature set is typical of entry level.  You are missing a real dynamic iris for real black level performance improvement (not that you really care if you bought the projector for sports, or gaming).

You also don’t get CFI – smooth motion, but then that’s a feature that’s uncommon on under $1500 projectors let alone one that’s less than half that price.  Too bad, because a lot of home entertainment projectors are bought by sports fans, the folks who most appreciate that feature.

 

 

Optoma HD141X as a Gaming Projector

OK, Optoma has a separate series of gaming projectors, and their flagship is their GT1080 which we plan to review.  The GT1080 sports the same  resolution, but costs a bit more.

The first feature every serious gamer wants is minimal input lag times.  When I say serious, I’m talking about folks playing fast reaction time games be they 1st or 3rd party shooters, such as WOW or Call of Duty, or perhaps one of the many auto racing games.

To measure lag times I hook up the projector to my MacBook Pro and set my camera up so I can photograph both screens at the same time.

By running a timer that has increments of 1/1000 of a second, a photo will capture both timings.  The projector normally will have more lag, so it will have a lower number as the projector hasn’t caught up to the laptop’s display.  In the two images here, you see those two pair numbers and the difference in one is 0, and in the other, 17.  I took a more than 2 dozen images.  More than 2/3 of the time it reported 0 lag, and every other time right there at 16 or 17ms (milliseconds), except once which recorded 33ms.

That’s excellent.  We’ve seen a couple of projectors that are consistent 0ms, but most projectors clock (with all their features that slow the projectors down turned off) in around 33 or 50ms, with 50ms being “acceptable” to most hard core gamers, but better desired.  BTW if you are wondering about why numbers like 16-17, 33-34, 50-51 is that each represents one more frame.  16.67ms is the time for one frame at 60fps.

Thus consider the HD141X to be an excellent low cost choice combining gaming speeds and full 1080p resolution.

HD141X Picture

The HD141X, when it comes to picture quality has what it takes to be considered a good entry level projector.

You won’t get really great accurate color, but the two best modes do just fine for the less than critical observer.  This is a projector for the family, not a home theater enthusiast.  And, that said, it has to be considered a very good choice for the dollars spent.

Your decision relating to picture quality will come down to – are you willing to spend another $300 or $400 to get a lot more accurate picture with great skin tones.  When it comes to other things like black level performance, even spending that extra really won’t move you up to black level performance that’s significantly better.

All considered, when we talk picture quality, I’d recommend the older BenQ W1070 or the replacement HT1075, or perhaps the Epson HC2000 as better, but you are looking at, at least $200 more.

There are a few things Optoma could have done better.  The projector, I think suffers a bit from the lack of a color saturation control, with HDMI sources.  Even today, with the Penn State Michigan State football game on, when I switched from Vivid (for the brightness), to check Cinema mode, I found the picture a little over saturated.  Oh well, if they did everything right, it would be a more expensive projector.

The Bottom Line

You’ve probably already figured this out from reading the projector review.  It’s a nice projector for the bucks.  We don’t normally review very many projectors down near $500, so there might be better.  Considering the Optoma HD141X is true 1080p resolution, has respectable 3D, a good if not highly accurate picture, and typical black level and dark shadow detail performance, it’s hard to argue with the value at its $600 to $700 selling price range.

I wanted to mention the warranty again, though.  With only one year parts and labor, the HD141X creates a Clint Eastwood moment:  “Do you feel lucky?  Well do ya..?”  I favor longer warranties, since projector repairs aren’t likely inexpensive.

Thus its important to know that a fair amount of the under $1000 competition are providing two years (and with a rapid replacement program – Epson), or three years (with no replacement program – Viewsonic projectors, some projectors from BenQ…).

Still, the HD141X is a solid projector for the bucks.  It’s a projector, surprisingly considering  the rock bottom price, with not a single major flaw.  Optoma:  Nicely done!