Projector Reviews

Optoma HD161X Home Theater Projector Review – Hardware Tour 2

HD161X PROJECTOR – HARDWARE TOUR 2:  Remote Control, Menus, Lens Throw, Lens Shift

HD161X Remote Control

The Optoma’s remote control is similar to many other Optoma remotes that have come with their home projectors.  As is usual, this Optoma remote is backlit with blue LED light.  And therein lies my primary complaint about this remote control  The blue lighting is blinding in a darkened room.  If I am trying to play with settings, such as color (saturation), I have to hold the remote upside down so as to be able to see subtle changes (ok, even moderate changes).  Too bright!  OK, let’s get the other “bad” out of the way.  On the bottom of the remote are four small bumps that serve as feet.  I find them annoying in my hand.  I don’t know why they are needed, and I don’t recall Optoma having them on these remotes a couple of years ago.

Now with the bad news out of the way, let’s look at the layout – from the top.

Top left is power on, top right is power off.  Next come a whole pile of buttons, that let you control the projector’s picture and related.  From the top left of this group:

Pure opens the Pure menu with its Ultra Detail, Pure Motion, Pure…, next on the right is Color temperature (cleverly icon’d with a thermometer drawing (so why did they need the K?)

The next row, has Gamma, Dynamic Black, and CMS (the color management system).  After that, Brightness, HDMI link, 2D/3D.  The following row has Contrast, (Color) Mode, and 3D format.

That brings us to the navigation area:  Four arrow keys in a sort of round configuration (strangely shaped buttons), with the Enter button in the center.  Menu can be found just below on the left.
When not in the menus, the up and down arrows become Keystone correction, and the left and right are respectively:  Source and Re-sync.
We’re almost done.  Next comes sources, with separate buttons for HDMI 1 and 2, Component, VGA (analog computer) and Video (composite).
Almost done.  All that’s left are four small buttons for aspect ratio (4:3, 16:9, Letterbox, and Native.
Again, good layout.  The buttons are well organized, nicely spaced, grouped, and have different shapes, making touch and feel control pretty easy.
Unfortunately the back light brightness is a problem if you are trying to adjust the picture by eye.  It should be noted there isn’t a “backlight” button.  Press any button and the room lights up, so there’s no work around other than holding it upside down or puttint it in a bag and going by touch.  Since I can’t get Optoma to dim it down, perhaps they will consider a separate “On” button for the back light.  That would at least let people use the remote without the light on.
Click Image to Enlarge

HD161X Menus

The image player here is loaded with all of the of the menus and most sub-menus.  If you want more than that, download the manual.   Many of these images have comments added to point out key aspects.

 

 

HD161X Lens Throw Range

HD161X Lens Throw for 100″ Diagonal 16:9 Screen
Closest 10.1 feet
Furthest 15.8 feet

That’s pretty typical throw distances for a 1.5:1 zoom lens.  Most projectors whether they have 1.2:1, 1.5:1 or 2:1 zoom ratios typically place about 10 feet away with a 100″ screen at the closest.  It’s the furthest distance from the screen which tends for vary a lot, with those projectors with the most zoom range often getting out to 20 feet, and thus more likely to work on a rear shelf.

 

HD161X Lens Shift Range

For that same 100″ screen, the center of the Optoma’s lens will be 0.61 feet or about 7.25 inches, below the bottom of the screen surface.  If ceiling mounting (thus inverted) then the lens center would be 0.61 feet above the top of the screen surface.

That is with the vertical lens shift control at its center point.  But, this Optoma has variable lens shift.  With that you get more flexibility.  At the maximum the bottom of the screen would be at a 9% upward angle, and at the minimum only 5%.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 6.31.09 PM
HD161X Projector: Lens shift illustration

This is similar to some competing DLP projectors such as the BenQ W1070 and HT1075.  By comparison, many 3LCD projectors, have massive amounts of shift.  Often able with a range of 1/2 to a full screen height.  (With 1 full screen height, the entire image could be above, the lens, or all of it below, or anywhere in between.

With this type of lens shift amount, you cannot place the projector high on a rear shelf (you would need to invert as you would with a ceiling mount).